WhitepaperMenu Selling Software

Integrated or non-integrated, which way should you go?

This article is for dealerships currently evaluating menu selling software solutions. It examines some of the pros and cons of integrated (with DMS) and standalone software. Both have their weaknesses -- except perhaps, Quantech's Deal-O-Matic deal engine.

Integrated Solutions

While an integrated menu solution may seem like the way to go, longer waits and increased costs may convince you otherwise. And while less expensive standalone menu systems may seem more appropriate given current economic conditions, the time involved recreating a deal that’s already in the DMS, combined with often inaccurate payment calculations, don’t make that solution look too good either. We’re going to examine key issues related to integrated and non-integrated menu solutions that you should be aware of before making the leap into any menu selling software solution for your dealership.

The concept of Dealer Management System (DMS) integrated with menu software is simple enough; the menu software imports customer and deal information directly from the DMS; the business manager creates a menu and presents it to the customer; information on the purchased products is automatically exported to the DMS. It does sound simple, and might even work "if" the customer purchased products as they were originally presented in the menu. In reality, the original menu that's presented to a customer is only a starting point. Questions come up, needs are uncovered, and menus almost always require changes. This is the nature of what really happens.

For an integrated menu selling solution to work seamlessly and without delays, the Menu and DMS software have to be completely integrated, so when a business manager wants to make changes in the middle of a presentation he or she won’t have to wait while the software goes back to the DMS for a price or product update. This is not an insignificant problem; we've heard of waits taking two or three minutes while an integrated menu is updated from the DMS...not an "optimal" situation to say the least.

Another issue surrounding integrated menu systems is additional costs related to integrate them to the DMS. Integrators, the companies that specialize in connecting menu software developed by third parties to DMS systems like Reynolds & Reynolds and ADP Web Suite, work with both companies to ensure link stability between the products. That assurance comes with costs; for setup, as well as the ongoing monthly fees. These costs are passed on to the dealership. Our research with one integrator shows per-dealer one-time integration implementation costs of between $200 to $300, as well as monthly charges of $100. So if you're paying $1000 for setup and $250 per month for your integrated menu system, a significant portion of that is likely for integration. You decide if the benefit of a few less keystrokes is worth the added expense.

Standalone Solutions

So what about standalone software? We know from experience that double entry is a task loathed by most business managers - the negative experience is compounded when the menu calculation fails to balance with the DMS payment calculation.

Take a moment to think about what’s behind a deal; there are taxes specific to the products you sell; bank registration fees, specific to each lender; other fees, like license and documentation; levies for batteries and tires; and other fees specific to your jurisdiction. Stated simply, to calculate a payment, deals require significant entry with many precise settings using complex mathematics and rounding. All of these calculations are done in the background (mostly) inside your DMS. For your standalone menu software to balance with your DMS, the settings and mathematical equations in both programs must mirror each other. Usually it doesn’t.

Next Steps

Our advice to business managers that are interested in integrated menu selling software is to ask the vendor to demonstrate in real-time how the integration works. Ask to see the menu setup process as well as what's required to change products and groups in the menu, things you will need to do when you're sitting with a customer.

If you're considering standalone solutions, ask to see how much redundant information needs to be entered to setup a menu for a customer, obviously the less the better. In addition to checking its flexibility and speed, you should also ask how close the payment balances to the DMS calculation.

The Deal-O-Matic Deal Engine

Quantech's "Deal-O-Matic" deal engine makes menu-creation as easy as 1-2-3.

So what about Quantech’s menu selling software? Q-Menus software doesn't rely on mirroring to balance a cash, lease or finance payment with your DMS. It doesn’t integrate with DMS either. Rather, Quantech has developed a powerful deal engine that balances to your DMS with absolute minimal entry. Quantech calls it the Deal-O-Matic Menu Engine. “Deal-O-Matic” technology is the heart of all of Quantech's standalone menu solutions, and has been since 2007. After entering a person’s name, what they’re buying, and what their unsecured payment is, Q-Menus calculates a payment that will balance to your DMS system. Menu software the way it should be. Fast. Accurate. Cost effective.

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