Archive for May, 2009

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More On Promotions in iQuote

May 28, 2009

Bundles are one of a few pricing tactics deployed into Channel. The objective for iQuote is always to arrive at the best possible price factoring in a variety of pricing tactics. So in addition to Bundles we are working on other ‘Savings’ achieved through the discounting of options that are attached to a System Unit (so like a Flexible Bundle). In the future we’ll also build in the ability to highlight any Rebates that an End User is entitled to claim.

When multiple discounts are in place, many of which are conditional on purchasing a specific combination of products, it is not only the time spent optimising the discount: it is also the paranoia that you’ve missed something that your competitor hasn’t.

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ROI Calculators…a sign of the times…

May 27, 2009

2147859885_0823b12cd3Outside of our iQuote Service we have noticed an increase in demand for Online Return on Investment (ROI) Calculators. There is a great deal of scrutiny on IT expenditure and greater emphasis on demonstrating potential for ROI.

channelcentral.net offers this service on a hosted basis and Online Calculators look so much more professional than spreadsheet versions.

It’s not just the appearance. Our ROI Calculators capture user details, every calculation that is made and delivers that back to the owner so that they can measure their own ROI on the marketing activity itself. Online hosting rather than spreadsheet delivery also allows for the Calculator to be surrounded by sales messages or be a call to action from a broader campaign. Much more powerful.

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Customer Part Numbers

May 27, 2009

Clearly not the most exciting topic however one that is important to the Product Managers and Business Managers in Channel. Most businesses run their own part numbers in parallel to Manufacturer Part Numbers. Reasons for this vary: quote comparison, standardisation benefits (as different Manufacturers use different part number formats) or just a pre-requisite of the ERP System.

When iQuote was devised and created we standardised on Manufacturer Part Number as it was the only common denominator. We knew that Customer Part Number would become a requirement so we catered for it in the database, but not in the core application. This piece of forward thinking has afforded us the opportunity to accommodate Customer Part Number – a future release will publish both Manufacturer and Customer Part Numbers in the Quotation and Export.

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I feel the need…

May 27, 2009

iStock_000001846512_mbikeThis week one of the most satisfying releases of iQuote came about with no change in the functionality. Over the past 4 weeks the amount of new content and capability had resulted in a reduction in performance – something that we had previously been immensely proud of.

Well iQuote is back to its best giving users that ‘light application’ feel with sub 1 second response times even to complex requests such as loading Bundles. With dozens of users becoming hundreds of users it is important that the application and database remain fully optimised. We are committed to that and have plenty of headroom to cope with further expansion.

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iQuote Now Handles Promotional Bundles

May 26, 2009

Promotional Bundles are a widely used pricing tactic. Many ERP and eCommerce systems struggle to cope with Bundles and with good reason – they are difficult to manage. So Bundles are often left to the craft of the sales person.

One of the critical success factors for iQuote is that it should always arrive at the best price for a user AND steer you in the direction of any promotions that are available. Bundles have an odd dynamic in that often by adding an option you not only increase the saving in value terms – you may even lower the total price.

So we are very proud to announce that iQuote is now capable of handling Bundles. Once a system unit is selected all qualifying Bundles are shown together with the available saving. If a Bundle is selected the Bundle parts are added to the Quote Basket and the saving is shown. Once exported the saving is shown as a line item.

If the user breaks the Bundle by removing one of the options iQuote will soon have a function to re-validate the Bundle. Also if an old quote is reopened iQuote will check to see if the Bundle reference is still available, if not it will remove the Saving. That is comprehensive Bundle management.

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HP ProLiant G6 Servers Live on iQuote

May 26, 2009

PR_G6-pix_best_sellers54x42In May 2009 HP launched the 6th Generation of its ProLiant servers into their Top Value Program(me). Happily for iQuote users it is now possible to create valid quotations across 4 UK ProLiant G6 models. Furthermore as the G6 ProLiant range expands as it replaces older servers iQuote users will be able to quote them to users.

This is an example of how the iQuote Service works. Instead of the Channel (Distributors, Resellers and Retailers) having to manage the product lifecycle it is done centrally by channelcentral.net Ltd. We constantly review new product introductions and retirements, taking inventory levels into account, to ensure that the best product mix is offered.

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Why iQuote is not a Configurator

May 26, 2009

3 articles about how sophisticated iQuote’s Quantity Validation is and how we are planning further improvement may be at odds with this article. However, iQuote is not a Configurator it is a Sales Quotation Service that features configuration capability. It also:

  • Shows available inventory from its host. It even shows delivery due dates on out of stock items.
  • Displays the user’s purchase price.
  • Allows margin to be applied.
  • Handles reward or loyalty points to enable incentive.
  • Provides the user with any available promotional bundles or rebates available (shown as Savings).
  • Has a Management Portal to allow commercial analysis of quotations created.

The service has been designed from the ground up to work in a Sales environment not purely a tool for Techies.