The systems you use are vital to the success of your Store2Door offer.
To ensure you have complete control over your customer’s accounts it is essential that you have a robust accounting system in place for the different types of customers you service and their individual requirements.
You will need to be able to record holiday stop /starts, be able to add and delete titles as their requirements change and to allow for one-off purchases.
From the outset however, it is important to ensure that your customer understands your operating processes and the rules that you apply to provide them an effective service. This will ensure that they adhere to simply things like informing you of temporary cancellations due to holidays but importantly how and when payment from them is expected.
Remember that customers should give you sufficient notice to allow you to communicate any changes to both your staff and your supplying wholesaler is required to ensure they are invoiced correctly billing. It is also advisable to keep a diary of holiday stop/starts and unusual irregular requests, this will help as a prompt to update your system and verbally remind the delivery staff of customer changes.
If you are starting up a delivery service, the Store2Door team recommend starting out with a simple paper based solution before investing in more expensive systems. This will help to keep your initial outlay to a minimum and allow you to assess the fuller potential of your venture.
A simple accounts start-up spreadsheet can be downloaded below:
Slightly more involved but again at a budget is an Acorn accounts system. This system offers a complete paperwork solution with receipts ordered as a start up pack with additional sheets available on request as you need them. Acorn can be contacted on 01254388755
By far the most commonly used and well established paper based system is the Huggler accounts system. Huggler are based in the Channel Islands and have been supplying the HND industry for many years. Huggler books can be ordered directly by calling 01534735581
Whilst paper based solutions do offer a very robust operating solution, they do take an inordinate amount of time to keep in order and there is no easy or quick way of highlighting items like late payers, the monies you are outstanding at any one time or even the number of live accounts you have or perhaps those you have on suspension for whatever reason. You will also need to prepare invoices and follow up letters to chase payments when all of this is already available at the push of a few buttons on an electronic system.
As your business grows you may feel the time taken to keep on top of the account management side becomes more time consuming and you would therefore be starting to look at an electronic solution.
There are a number of software solutions that could provide an answer. Some are standalone HND systems which may be suitable for rounds – people that do not have stores or for those whose business incorporates a large percentage of profit through HND rather than in-store. These systems tend to be cheaper than full blown EPOS (Electronic Point of Sale) systems and can often be used through your own computer system.
At the top end of the price bracket there are systems that are fully integrated through your EPOS system. These are ideal for those who have a strong retail offer or are perhaps affiliated to a symbol group that you may be part of.
In addition both Menzies Distribution and Smiths News offer (subject to terms and conditions) loans at 0% interest for up to the amount required for an EPOS system from one of their preferred suppliers. This is a low cost way of obtaining the necessary equipment to properly manage the accounting side of your Store2Door business and will ultimately free up time for you to concentrate on developing your business further.
However like all large purchases, you are advised to consult with other retailers to see what has worked for them before you commit. The Store2Door team are also available to offer advice. Remember, ensure you know what you require the software to do as you don’t want to be paying for a specification that you simply will never use.
Some of the identifiable tasks you may wish your system to be able to facilitate are:
- Manage your home delivery routes to improve efficiency of delivery staff
- Control the stock levels you need from News wholesalers and predict future supply requirements
- Produce automatic returns reports and process electronic packing notes
- Automatic control of your product pricing through internet links with wholesalers
- View customer’s outstanding balance and set individual credit limits
- Make alterations easily and view customer holiday plans
- Manage vouchers, periodical shop saves and collections
- Print targeted reminder letters
- E-mail invoices and reminder letters
- Provide itemised invoices for businesses
- Print daily round sheets
- Identify clearly your charges and profits for both the publication you delivery and any associated delivery charges
- Controlled web access by customers to their accounts for alterations and to make payments
- Consolidation of multiple drops for a single customer (often businesses rather than homes) into one account
- Allocation of payment against invoice
- Produce labels for each drop at a customer
Remember this list is only a guide to enable you to decide what level of functionality you require and as such is in no way exhaustive.
Home Delivery software
There are a number of suppliers of Home Delivery software on the market, the main ones being:
Reposs – https://www.reposs.com/
News Slave – https://nclimited.co.uk/
All EPOS providers will offer some form of maintenance support that is in place to resolve issues should you come across any. Some merely offer software support whilst others are more comprehensive and cover hardware also. The latter would be most beneficial if you have a full EPOS system. It is entirely your choice if you agree to pay the additional sums required for this cover but similar to other products you need to evaluate the risk. You may pay for some time and never require it BUT there may come a time you need it when something has gone wrong impacting on the ability for you to operate your business.
For more information on how Store2Door can help you, call the team on 0800 917 8884 (free from UK landline phones) or email email@example.com. Alternatively, register online for the Store2Door Accreditation Scheme.