FAQ

1. What is it?

e-Xact is a web-based product information service designed specifically to deliver product information from building material suppliers to Builders Merchants.  It is used instead of a hard copy catalogue to find product information e.g. list prices, product codes, technical specifications and COSHH sheets.

Standard Format data from e-Xact can be used to 'feed' a merchant's own product file - putting in the foundations for electronic trading.

e-Xact is also used as an image or document library to provide content for websites and other product catalogues.

2. How does it work?

Suppliers provide the product information, for example EAN codes, descriptions, supplier product codes, list prices, images and product guides.

The data fields and format vary from supplier to supplier, so e-Xact converts the supplier data into a standard format and uses it to populate a database.  Joining e-Xact means providing the information once, to a central source, for onward distribution to all of the supplier’s customers.

Suppliers provide updates whenever new products are launched or information changes and these are published to their merchant customers.

3. Why should I join / what are the benefits?

Many suppliers join e-Xact because they want to provide merchant branch staff with product information.  As e-Xact is available in over 3000 merchant branches, many of which do not have access to the internet, it is the ideal mechanism for disseminating information.

e-Xact provides merchants and suppliers with an easy, cost effective, prompt and accurate way to update product information.

Other benefits cited by suppliers include improved customer service, ease of trading, access to a greater customer base, the ability to add new product lines quickly and easily, fewer invoice queries, less telephone queries for specials etc. etc.

Additional benefits for suppliers are the web-based press release service, editorial in monthly enewsletters, and e-mail marketing opportunities - all of which are free of charge to subscribers.

4. But I already have a website....

This service does not replace your own web site - it complements it.

Many suppliers currently provide electronic information to merchants on CDs or via their website. However, every supplier has its own file type for passing on the product information: some use Microsoft Excel, others prefer CSV format, and others may produce PDFs. The files are likely to be in different formats, e.g. product code in column 1 on one sheet, product description on another. This means that the merchant or other user must interpret and reprocess each supplier’s file in order to import data into their system.

The e-Xact service handles the data conversion for you.  It also provides Merchants with a gateway to access multiple supplier web sites and product data files. It eliminates the need for merchants to remember multiple website addresses and passwords - they only have to learn to navigate one site rather than many individual sites.

5. What are the technical requirements?

There is some essential data that you must have to put your products on the e-Xact database, including a unique product code (preferably an EAN code, product descriptions and units of measure.

Assuming you have the essential data, you need to provide a file containing this information. We will then set up the data and provide you with a copy of the set-up file and some software which can be used to maintain the data and provide future updates.

You also need to provide some corporate information (up-to 500 words, 4 pictures, a logo, e-mail addresses and a web site link). This will be used to create Web pages that are designed for you as part of your setup.

6. What about system security and data availability?

The information contained on the e-Xact database is only available to subscribing merchants who have a secure sign on and password. All subscribers signing on are monitored. 

Sensitive information, such as merchant-specific net prices and discounts, are not available within the e-Xact Online core product.

Access to the database via the e-Xact webserver at www.e-xact.net is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year. Subscribers are supported by a helpdesk that is available during normal business hours.

7. Can I afford to join? How much does it cost?

All subscriptions are banded according to turnover and number of products on the database. Supplier packages start at £520 per annum with a one-time set-up fee payable on joining.

8. How do I join?

Fill in the contact form (click here) to request a quotation. We will contact you to complete a subscriber profile and prepare a price quote for the services that you require.