One Blog |October 4, 2017 | Point-of-Sale Marketing Software
NBWA 2017 — New POS Marketing, Line Cleaning and Tap Handle Survey Software from OnTrak Software
80th Annual NBWA Convention and Trade Show — October 8 - 11, at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.
For the 11th year in a row, OnTrak Software is headed to the NBWA Convention and Trade Show.
OnTrak Software develops innovative software solutions to help beer, wine and spirits distributors track, measure and manage point-of-sale (POS) marketing, line cleaning, and tap handle surveying activities.
For more than 10 years, OnTrak has successfully provided software solutions to the beverage alcohol distribution industry. Eleven of the Top 20 beer distributors, and three of the Top 10 wine and spirits distributors depend on OnTrak solutions every day.
This is no surprise to us since all of our products were developed based on business requirements given to us by beverage alcohol distributors - both existing and potential customers.
Please continue reading to see how all of our products came to market.
For OnTrak it all started with listening to the market.
Tracking and Managing Printed Point-of-Sale (POS) Marketing - SignTrak®
Early in our history we developed one product specifically for a large beer distributor in the Midwest, who had told us they were tired of funneling money into a ‘black hole’ they called POS. By POS they meant printed, custom and temporary point-of-sale marketing materials.
We developed a software product based on their requirements, and named the product SignTrak.
SignTrak manages the custom, temporary POS signage process — from sales order entry, through sign shop production and placement; including integrated approval, reporting and analysis tools.
SignTrak eliminates reworks and reduces time-to-market - by days; tracks and lowers POS costs; and helps prove and recover supplier marketing allowances.
In the last year we have launched a new order entry ‘app’ that adds off-line capabilities to SignTrak, and runs on a smartphone or tablet.
Inventory Control and Asset Management of Permanent POS - PermaTrak®
We took SignTrak to market in 2007, and had success with a handful of distributors who knew our first SignTrak customer. By 2008 the feedback was excellent. But many of our customers wanted to know if we could do for permanent POS, what we had done for their printed POS. So, we asked a large distributor in the Southwest for their requirements for such a product and then developed PermaTrak.
PermaTrak - Controls permanent POS inventory from receipt, to order, through picking and placement; creates a real-time photo catalog for the sales teams; tracks and enables the verification of placement; maintains POS costs and retail value; and assists with compliance to local and alcohol control board (ABC) rules and regulations.
In 2012, based on the requirements of a large customer in the East, we introduced a totally redesigned release of PermaTrak to further strengthen a distributor’s ability to monitor their permanent POS inventory just like their beverage inventory. With PermaTrak you can now manage all your POS inventory from coasters and glassware to very expensive signs and displays.
Earlier this year we were approached by a very large, Top 10 beer distributor and an existing PermaTrak customer from the South, with the following challenge:
“We have a big issue certifying to our state alcohol control board (ABC) that we are in compliance with their rules and regulations. What would it take to develop such capability in PermaTrak?”
We took a look at their requirements and felt that the enhancements to PermaTrak would make it a better product in the market. So, we put our developers to work and delivered an enhancement which has saved our customer from significant ABC penalties.
Let us know if you have a similar ABC challenge. If so, I know we can help.
OnTrak’s POS Marketing - Current Status
At the end of 2008 we had a few dozen companies across the USA using our SignTrak and PermaTrak products. Today, nearly 10 years later, there are over 100 distributors who are using our POS Marketing Tools to track, manage and measure their investment in printed and permanent POS.
Draught Line Cleaning - LineTrakâ„¢
In 2015, our product strategy took a big turn. Again, based on feedback from our customers we were challenged to expand beyond our initial focus on POS Marketing tools.
A very large, Top 10, beer distributor who had been using our SignTrak and PermaTrak products, and was happy with the results, told us their POS Marketing was now under control. They also said and they were very pleased with the impact that OnTrak's products were having in driving their sales revenue, while controlling their POS costs.
A key executive at this beer distributor approached me with the following thought:
“OnTrak really understands the issues of beer distributors, and you have been successful in developing solutions that track and manage POS. However, there is another area of our business that is very expensive and totally out of control — Keeping track of our line cleaning activities. In fact, we were recently levied a significant fine for not complying with local health standards.”
“We have approached a number of large software development companies to build a line cleaning application. There are two issues with all of them: 1) They don’t understand the beer business, and 2) Their cost to develop the application is well above six-figures. Can you help us?”
Again, we asked our development team to review our customers’ requirements, and then developed a new software product that runs as a mobile ‘app’ on a smartphone or tablet. We call it LineTrak, and our customer loves it. We now have many customers across the country, with tens of thousands of accounts who track and manage both their beer and wine line cleanings.
Tap Handle Surveying - New LineTrakâ„¢ Feature
Now let’s talk about the latest example of how OnTrak works to address the needs of our customers and the market.
As we went to market with LineTrak, customers brought to our attention the necessity to be able to survey their tap handle presence at the restaurants and bars they serve.
So again, we asked them what they needed, and determined that we could easily add a feature to LineTrak that allows distributors to gather market intelligence, and increase their brand representation on beer taps. We call this no-charge feature of LineTrak the Tap Handle Survey.
So here's the new LineTrak in a nutshell:
LineTrakâ„¢ - Tracks verification of draught system compliance; provides line cleaning assignments and scheduling with GPS vehicle tracking; monitors general survey question responses. LineTrak also includes Tap Handle Survey tools to help wholesalers collect and track tap handle market data about which products are flowing through active taps, and when they are replaced by another brand.
OnTrak’s Support of the NBWA
OnTrak has been a strong supporter of the NBWA as a Gold Level Member.
Different from most NBWA members, we are a software company, not a beer distributor. However, most, if not all, of our customers distribute beer, as well as wine, spirits and other beverages.
For that reason we are committed to the NBWA.
For the first few years of attending the Convention and Trade Show it was difficult to get recognized since most of the attendees at the NBWA did not come to spend time with technology providers like OnTrak.
Over the last few years as we have dramatically increased our customer base. We have proven that investing in POS Tracking technology sells more beer, while dramatically lowering and controlling POS costs.
As you might imagine, we no longer have the same issue with name recognition.
OnTrak is now recognized as The Leader in POS Marketing and Tracking software.
Imitation Is The Sincerest Form of Flattery
Recently, some route accounting software companies claim their products perform all the same functions as OnTrak's products.
Well if you think OnTrak is no more than a POS ordering system, then you might believe them. But before you go that route, please make sure you understand all the business functions to support beer distributors. Functions that we developed based on their requirements.
One-hundred percent of our customers have route accounting software systems, and they do a good job for them.
Yet beer distributors, of all sizes, still have selected OnTrak. We must be offering something different, and right for them.
Again, all of our product requirements came from beer (or wine and spirits) distributors. Whatever route accounting software they are using it must not meet their needs in the areas of POS Tracking, Line Cleaning and Tap Handle Surveying.
Why You Should Take a Few Minutes to Visit Booth 233
Most distributors come to the NBWA to meet with their existing beverage suppliers, as well as meet with the many new beverage suppliers that are coming on board each year.
By the end of 2016, there were 7,190 permitted breweries in the US. An all-time high, based on NBWA statistics. And there are nearly 30,000 beers on the market including seasonal and one-time brews.
Today’s beer distributors face new challenges in managing and promoting these new brands that have exploded on the market.
It has been repeatedly proven that the most cost-effective way to promote these new brands is with in-store, POS marketing. This fact alone has dramatically affected the distributor’s investment in supporting these brands with POS marketing campaigns.
So how do you make sure you are getting the best return on your POS investment for these newer brands?
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