- Free Remote-PC Software
- Mobile Devices
- World-Wide Data Access
- Web-Based Software
Installing software on your computer puts your business and your clients' personal information under your control.
Software that installs on your computer is available for a one-time payment so there are no ongoing expenses for simply using software to organize and automate your affairs.
Web-based software hands control of your business and the safeguarding of your data over to someone you don't know on a computer that you know nothing about. (In fairness, your clients have a right to know when shop owners make this choice.)
There are no meaningful guarantees about data safety, and data security risk is so high that reporting agencies will not allow some businesses (like pawn shops) to use web-based software.
How long do you hope to remain in business? Let's say 10 years, so is there any significant benefit of web-based software that is worth ($1800 x 10 =) $18,000??!! That is the minimum (with 150 consignors) not including price increases once you're locked in. Compare that to spending $600 once for BCSS Diamond to do pretty much the same thing - manage your consignment business.
The significant risks and unnecessary cost can be avoided by using software that is installed on your computer. That's the only way to assure that outsiders cannot access your customers' information.
Some shop owners just want to 'check in', or retrieve information, or add inventory, but they can also do much more 'remotely': process sales, make/change software settings, send messages (like chat and email) and run reports.
To perform all of those functions (and a few more) it is entirely unnecessary to pay month after month for a 'web-based consignment software app'.
There are several free programs for accessing your store's computer from literally, anywhere in the world. Just search Google for 'remote PC software' and look for free software like Team Viewer, AMMYY and GoToMyPC.
With those programs, it's possible to leave the shop computer running with one of those programs open, go to any computer connected to the Internet (even wireless) and use the same program to log into (access) the shop computer. (The shop computer can also be turned off when work is finished, or it can be programmed to shut down automatically in case you didn't log in as planned.)
Need to work from home, an auction, an estate sale or flea market? Buy a one-time off program like BCSS, install it on a laptop and work at the shop or from anywhere without an Internet connection, without the risk of losing your data or being down because some link in the web-based dependency chain is broken. Have complete control over your data, knowing it's safe and secure. Achieve mobility at a very reasonable cost.
Here's a very simple and free method of working away from the shop:
Of course the shop computer and the temporary computer can't be making data changes at the same time because changes in one or the other would be lost. This method works for temporary situations and keeps cost to zero.
The Long-Term Solution
Granted, some functions (like printing labels or checks) would require a physical presence. If someone is not in attendance at the shop, these ancillary tasks can be performed when you are at the shop.
An alternative is to use web-based software costing $1,200 every year - $1,800 for more than 150 consignors, and once locked into such a program, you're unlikely to switch to another program and you will be vulnerable to future price increases.
Don't Be Mislead
This is an ad appearing in Google for the $1,800/year program:
"Lowest Startup Costs" is in reference to just the first monthly payment. There's nothing 'lowest' about paying $1,800 every year for just software.
"Free Tech Support" - 'What if' the pricing schedule read, "$900 per year for the software plus $900 per year for tech support"? Same thing so are we to be fooled about true cost by 'Free tech support'?
At $1,800 per year, clearly there's nothing about this software offering that is 'free', yet on the home page there's "No Contracts (so what?), No large up-front fees, Cancel anytime, Free customer support, Free data backups, Free updates'. Don't be taken in by 'free'.
Who is 'the company'? At one time there was disclosure that the program was created by (and supported by) only one person. What happens to support for the software if 'he' is no longer around?
Should you be concerned about data security? After all, data is stored on a computer under the control of someone unknown at an unknown location with unknown security measures. If hackers can get into computers at Neiman-Marcus, Target the U.S. government, then assurances ("We guarantee that your data will be safe.") by someone with far fewer security measures don't mean much. In contrast, no one can hack into your data if you control the data and keep your computer disconnected from the Internet.
Any 'guarantees' are only as good as the company's financial ability to back guarantees. If a company is owned by an individual without substantial assets, then guarantees are meaningless, particularly if the person is operating under an LLC (Limited Liability Company) where his assets are not subject to law suits.
In order to use a web-based program, at least 4 things must occur: Your Internet connection has to be working, the Internet itself has to be 'up', the program and the computer it is running on has to be operational and the Internet connection to the host computer has to be up.
Clearly software running from the local hard drive runs (much) faster than software that has to be accessed over the Internet. It's possible that wireless, dialup, satellite, ADSL and slow DSL connections would make running a shop on web-based software unbearably slow despite the incredibly-high cost.
Not placing your business in the hands of a stranger maintains control and gives security and peace of mind. You're protected from hackers and viruses.
All the hoopla about 'no contracts' and 'low-start up costs', free this and that is nothing more than cover up of a very expensive and risky way to run your business. A vendor pushing this form of software should be required to give equal and appropriate disclosure of the risks involved, including who he is and what his ability is to meet his guarantees.
When you select a consignment software, you are in essence taking on a business partner. Surely all of us feel more comfortable entering into a relationship with a company that is forthright and honest up front about what we can expect in the future.