- Online ordering for both distributors and end customers – end customer orders are routed automatically to distributors
- Real-time inventory
- Extensive distributor tools
- Cross-brand display of all products
- Solutions-based product navigation (using filters)
- Lots of embedded multimedia (check out instructions on using filters for embedded media here)
Announcement and success story coming shortly to the eBlox site.
When I teach classes on e-commerce and web sites here in Austin, one topic that constantly elicits either yawns or fearful, wide-eyed stares is the subject of databases. Everyone uses databases in one way or another — they power your accounting software, they run Google and a million other web sites, they might even be running on your smartphone — but the mention of databases tends to make people’s eyes gloss over. Databases are dry, uninspiring tools to store information. In and of themselves, they offer little in the way of excitement. Hook them up with the right software, however, and they work magic.
Databases derive much of their power from structure. When you impose a structure on data you can organize it, search it and report on it. Add relationships to the mix, and you’ve got real juice. A list of all your customers is a good thing, but tie every customer to their invoices, orders, quotes and phone calls, you’ve suddenly got a complete system for managing your business. Companies charge quite a bit of money for these kinds of systems, and if you’ve got the scratch, they can have a huge impact on the way you run your business.
A quick show of hands: How many of you have a current (that is, within the last few days), complete backup of your laptop or PC at hand in case something goes terribly wrong? I thought so. Like to live on the edge, eh? Of those of you that are backed up and ready for an emergency, how many store a backup offsite? Really? If your office burns down tomorrow, that set of tapes or external hard drive isn’t going to do you much good, is it?
Don’t worry – you’re not alone. Last year, a survey conducted by backup/anti-virus software maker Symantec found that only 57% of users had any kind of backup of their valuable data. That means almost half of you are out of luck when a crash or disaster occurs. Hopefully, your company’s important financial and customer data is stored on a server or backed up offsite, so that may not be much of a worry. But how many of you have vital customer information – like quotes, contact info and so on – stored on your laptop? What would you do if it suddenly disappeared?