By Adam Gazaleh, Product Manager

Progress doesn't happen in a vacuum, and nothing helps us progress faster than an open dialogue with our customers. In February 2016, AutoQuotes surveyedAQ subscribers who participate in OrderStatus. The goal was to better understand who is using OrderStatus, what the user experience is like, and how OrderStatus can be improved. Thanks to the 1,200 industry professionals who participated, we now know what we need to start doing, what we need to stop doing, and what we should continue to do to best serve you, our customers.

Before we break down the survey results, this is a good time to clear up a few misconceptions about OrderStatus. Firstly, it's important to know that you do not have to create and submit purchase orders through AQ to access them in OrderStatus. Because orders are filled directly from the manufacturer, they will appear in OrderStatus regardless of how you create and send orders to manufacturers. Secondly, we don't charge anyone for OrderStatus. If you have an AQ license, you can use OrderStatus now. If you are a publishing manufacturer, there is no additional charge to start publishing orders. All you have to do is contact us.

Numbers speak louder than words, so here is a look at the latest usage statistics. According to the data, 15 percent of users check OrderStatus on a daily to weekly basis, and 26 percent check at least once a month. The data also tells us that, while this feature is used by people in many different roles, 40 percent of the users are involved in sales and 62 percent use OrderStatus to track their own orders.

Survey Results

One revealing statistic is that the majority of users, 79 percent, say they are likely to recommend OrderStatus to a colleague. Over 80 percent of industry professionals surveyed agree that OrderStatus is easy to use, improves their efficiency at work, and meets their order tracking needs. One respondent described it as, "the most complete database of orders the industry has ever seen." After a year of planning, development, educating, and troubleshooting, we are glad to know that we are providing you with a worthwhile product.

AutoQuotes has never been the type of company that rests on its laurels, and we understand that there is always room for improvement. Seven percent of users who tried OrderStatus abandoned it. Sixty-four percent reported that they needed to see more manufacturers participating in OrderStatus and see the participating manufacturers update data more often. We get it. Since OrderStatus was first introduced, we have continued to contact manufacturers and work with their IT departments to get them on board. As a resource to manufacturers already providing data, we have launched a massive quality control campaign. The primary goal is to make sure participating manufacturers have the resources needed to be successful. Manufacturers who have been responsive and put in the time and effort to provide the most accurate data possible deserve a big round of applause. They have made vast improvements in the quality of information provided since OrderStatus was introduced.

Last but not least, we asked ourselves, "why have some users never tried OrderStatus?" Almost 30 percent of survey respondents reported that they have never clicked on the OrderStatus tab in AQ. The two reasons we have heard the most are 1) not enough time to try it (19 percent) and 2) lack of training resources (23 percent).

In response to the concern about time, we believe that OrderStatus is, in fact, a time saver. We ask that the next time you are about to call a manufacturer to figure out when that oven is going to ship, stop dialing the number and open up AQ instead. Click the OrderStatus tab and type your PO Number in the search bar. You might be surprised to find that the tracking number, delivery date, and link to the carrier website is right in front of you.

AutoQuotes strives to offer extensive training resources to our customers. We are proud of our reputation for delivering quality webinars and one-on-one tech support. This year we are committed to providing more training opportunities for OrderStatus so that it's easier for you to take advantage of this valuable feature.

You spoke and we listened! Keep on the lookout this year for some exciting new improvements to OrderStatus, along with other AQ features. Again, a big thank you to all of our survey respondents, participating manufacturers, and all of our valued customers.

Special FEDA Member Only Features on AutoQuotes

AutoQuotes has taken AQ360 to a new level. The ' new look' is familiar but simplified and cleaner, stylized much like the look of Microsoft Office 2013. You will see ribbons instead of toolbars and drop down menus. You will see more buttons appear and more items selected with mouse-over action. Commands appear conditionally and intuitively, easier to find and more context sensitive.

FEDA members have exclusive access to the AQ Catalog Data Export, which is also new & improved. FEDA members can export catalog data on over 500,000 products from over 500 published manufacturers. This data can be used to update your back-end systems or websites and includes model numbers, specifications, list prices, physical data (weights & dimensions), pack sizes and brand names.

FEDA members can also export the entire database of color pictures. This includes over 390,000 single and group images, a great addition for web catalogs and point-of-sale systems. The FEDA member privilege also includes the ability to export over 248,000 spec sheets from the AutoQuotes database.

These are privileges exclusive to FEDA dealer members. To take advantage of them please contact AutoQuotes. The AQ Catalog Data Export must be "turned on" for a licensed AutoQuotes user.

Once enabled, simply right click in the center panel of the catalog, click "Export Catalog Text," and download. It places a new icon on the desktop (AQ Catalog Data Export). When it is opened, it will automatically verify your login credentials. Also, it takes 24 hours before any catalog data will download.

The exported data can be directed into a local folder of your choosing or into your own MSSQL Server database.

We hope you are on board with AutoQuotes and will reap its many rewards.