Excerpt from ATM Marketplace. To read the original article, go to: http://www.atmmarketplace.com/news/tranax-takes-atm-shopping-online/


Bryan Stewart, president of ATM Express, remembers a conversation he had with Tranax Technologies president Hansup Kwon shortly after his Baltimore-based ISO had ordered its office PCs and peripherals online via the Dell Computer site.

“I told him he needed to make it so we could get our ATMs the same way,” Stewart recalled.

Even though Stewart meant it as a joke, Kwon took him seriously.

Hard numbers support the warm and fuzzy comments from distributors. The system is so popular that about 80 percent of Tranax’s orders are placed through the Web, Kleinman said.

For two years, Tranax distributors have been placing orders for ATMs online, then tracking their orders through every step of the process.

Stewart, whose company has about 1,000 ATMs under contract, said the Tranax ordering experience gives him a feeling of digital deja vu.

“It’s as close as you can get to Dell without actually being Dell,” he said. “We love the Web and use it every chance we get.”

After placing an order online, the distributor receives an email confirmation that the order has been received. A notification is also sent when the machine is shipped, complete with a tracking number for the freight company so the distributor can follow it through the supply chain after it leaves the Tranax manufacturing facility in Fremont, Calif.

“A lot of times when we ordered ATMs in the past, we never even knew when they shipped,” Stewart said. “The machine would come when the merchant wasn’t expecting it.”

John DiPalma, president of Arlington, Texas-based Choice Enterprises, said the tracking feature also comes in handy for locating products in transit.

DiPalma, who said he places orders with Tranax every week, estimates he orders about half of his ATMs online.

Neil Clark, sales manager for Billings, Mont.-based ATM Express (no connection to the Baltimore ISO), said the online system removes the uncertainty from the ordering process and boosts productivity on both ends.

“After you enter the information and hit ‘submit,’ you know it’s gone to the right place,” said Clark, whose company has about 4,000 machines under contract. “You don’t have to input the information, then print it out, go over to the printer, fax it and hope somebody on the other end gets it and does what they’re supposed to do with it.”

No overruns, no errors

Because the system uses drop-down menus, mistakes are minimized, said Glenn Olson, division manager of Merrimak Capital. Olson estimates that his California-based ISO orders about 90 percent of its ATMs online. Distributors are also given several opportunities to review ordering information before hitting “submit” for a final time.

The system creates a “digital trail,” which Tranax director of marketing Scott Kleinman said is an improvement over phone or fax confirmations, both of which can get lost in the sales cycle shuffle.

Hard numbers support the warm and fuzzy comments from distributors. The system is so popular that about 80 percent of Tranax’s orders are placed through the Web, Kleinman said.

“We think the ability to conduct business with us in a really efficient way is a key tool for making Tranax the preferred vendor of our distributors,” he said. “We’ve done what we can to streamline the order process and make it more accurate.”

After a distributor enters his log-in number and password, the company’s name, address and other such information automatically populates the online order form. Any volume discounts or other preferred rates are also automatically included.

Using the drop-down menus, distributors can configure the machine and check the price every step of the way – so they immediately know the cost if they decide to add another cash cassette, for example.

That feature will likely become more important with the company’s newest ATM, the MiniBank 1500, Kleinman said, as it is more customizable than other Tranax models.

With the 1500, Tranax is offering four pre-configured versions that it expects will be most popular. To encourage orders of those configurations, at least initially, Tranax will sell them at a discount – which, naturally, will be reflected when orders are placed online.

Next: Parts

Distributors can also purchase an extended parts warranty, pedestals, toppers and other accessories online. And they can arrange to have one of five leasing companies receive the bill.

While it’s possible to arrange for the return of damaged parts covered under warranty via the Web, it’s not possible to order parts – yet. Kleinman said that’s one of the improvements Tranax is considering.

In addition to accepting orders, Kleinman said the company’s site is designed to be “the primary tool for communication” with its distributors. They can download Tranax logos for use in marketing materials, obtain the newest versions of software for the Remote Management System (RMS), participate in a lead generation program and even offer suggestions and complaints, which the site promises “will be delivered straight to the desktop of Hansup Kwon.”

Tranax isn’t the only ATM manufacturer to offer a virtual hand to its distributors. At its May distributors’ conference, Triton introduced an online system called MyTritonATM.com. While it doesn’t yet offer the capability to actually place orders online, ISOs can track their orders and view their payment histories.

Later this year, Triton plans to allow its distributors to register online for classes offered through its TASC (Triton Authorized Service Contractor) program and, eventually, to offer some training online.