Builders merchants buying group Unimer claims it has brought electronic or ‘e-trading’ within reach of the smallest merchant business with the launch of a £295-per-year software package.

The Unimer MX system has been developed with Atlas Products International and is now being distributed to the buying group’s membership of 1,200 merchants and 700 supplier companies. They will then be able to test it for three months free before signing up for the annual subscription.

According to Unimer commercial director Chris Pateman, Unimer MX is designed to remove excuses for merchants to e-trade.

“If you can use a keyboard and know how to connect your PC to the internet, you can use Unimer MX,” he said.

According to Atlas managing director Allan Gray, the software system contains 5,500 contact details of merchants and suppliers.

“This means companies can immediately send orders and receive invoices,” he said.

Using Unimer MX, orders go direct to suppliers and invoices are sent by the latter to Unimer and forwarded to merchants. It can also be used for trading with non-members.

The Unimer invoice clearing system is already around 70% electronic. The hope is that Unimer MX “rapidly reduces” the remaining proportion that are still paper-based.