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March 17 2021

Demystifying tech in wholesale - creating a 'must have' app

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The technology used by most wholesalers is a world away from Facebook, Google Maps, BBC Sport and your other ‘go to’ phone applications. But is it possible for wholesalers to ever create a ‘must have’ app?

In the warehouse your ‘go to’ application is something like STL, Sage or SAP. They’re big (by necessity), feature rich (by design) and require a high level of understanding to use. They are, it must be said, a world away from whatever app takes pride of place on the homescreen of your Apple or Android.

This is the digital gap that needs bridging. The desire to engage your clients digitally is alive and well. The workplace is increasingly occupied by millennials (those born between 1981 and 1996), digital natives who expect to work with easy-to-use, user-first technology. But their experience to date is likely to be an extremely different one to that which they seek.

How can you demystify the technology involved - for yourselves and your customers - to arrive at a place where you offer something as easy to use as Apple Weather?

The third generation of web

It helps to place today’s technology in context.

The first generation of the web was characterised by desktop-based applications and websites. These ‘slow and steady’ experiences were only ever intended to be used whilst we were seated in front of monitors and when smartphones arrived the experience on handheld devices was slow and clunky.

This birthed the second generation of the web: mobile optimisation. Websites would now work well whether you were on a desktop or phone, tablet or laptop, but there was a noticeable difference between an optimised website and a genuine app.

We’re now entering the third generation of the web, which is characterised by Progressive Web Applications (PWA).

PWAs: your top tool for demystification

PWAs are the best tool available for wholesalers to provide clients with a ‘must have app’.

The ‘secret’ is PWAs allow websites to behave like apps; they can appear as an application on your smartphone home screen and their abilities don’t stop at just their appearance.

PWAs can interact with elements of your phone that a website cannot, for example. So, scanning barcodes is possible, because PWAs can use your phone’s camera. Order placement is intuitive for digital natives and self-confessed ‘digital dinosaurs’ alike. They can send push notifications and work offline,  The experience is fast, much faster than a website and more like… the apps you use on a daily basis.

The right tech and the right time = must have

From your customer’s point of view they would much rather use something that has been demystified for them in advance; something intuitive and familiar. 

The advent of PWAs allows you to do just that; simplifying otherwise complex technology for your customers, creating easy routes to purchase and re-orders, even increasing the average digital basket value and generating customer reactivations. 

PWAs are not complex; they’re just the next evolution of the web and the easiest route for wholesalers to provide a compelling online ordering experience for your customers.