A software package designed to solve an everyday problem faced by salesmen of truck accessories is being introduced by Computer Aided Sales Systems Inc (CAS) in Raleigh, North Carolina.
When a truck cap or other accessory is out of stock, a customer often hesitates to place a special order, according to Joe Ellington, the developer of the software and owner of CAS. Sometimes a salesman will try to find a similar style of cap or accessory but one is never available.
The customer says: "I don't want to special order a truck cap because I can't see what it looks like on my truck," Ellington says.
VIZ Software shows exactly what a truck accessory looks like after installation on a customer's vehicle, he says. The software is designed for 1997 truck models including Ford, Chevy, and Dodge extended cab pickup trucks, the Chevy Suburban, and Ford Explorer.
These vehicles are the most popular trucks to accessorize, Ellington says.
The vehicles can be viewed in different configurations including two- and four-wheel drive. The trucks can be displayed in a full, or a 3/4 front or rear view. When switching between views, the same accessories remain on the truck.
User-Friendly Software A user can operate the software using either a mouse or trackball. For complete user friendliness, a touchscreen interface is available also.
"Salesmen are supposed to demonstrate the software and get the customer pointing and clicking as soon as possible," Ellington says.
Using the software, a salesman or customer can reproduce on screen the customer's truck with the same color and any options or accessories installed on the vehicle. A salesman can show a customer how to use the VIZ software to add different accessories to a vehicle.
The customer can see what the vehicle looks like with a wide variety of accessories installed and in different colors, Ellington says.
The software can help a customer narrow down choices if one accessory looks better than another, Ellington says. The program has pull-down menus for accessories such as bug shields, grilles, bed rails, roll bars, and molded steps.
After using the program, customers who intended to purchase only one item often purchase several truck accessories. Some users of VIZ report selling twice as much inventory with the program.
"VIZ software is ideal for selling truck accessories in a retail store," Ellington says. "CAS will write additional VIZ programs to additional truck models and sport utility vehicles."
VIZ Operating Requirements The VIZ software will operate on any computer with at least a 486 Pentium processor, Windows 3.1 or a higher operating version, 8 megs of RAM, and 10MB of hard disk space, and a color VGA monitor.
VIZ is available on CD ROM or 3 1/2-inch floppy disks. The VIZ program is marketed in the United States by ToppSoft Computer Solutions in Tampa, Florida. The software is offered currently for five vehicles and costs $695. The software for each vehicle is on two 3 1Ž2-inch floppy disks for installation on a computer hard drive.