Since they’re easy to download, fun to use and typically free, mobile apps have become the customer engagement tool of choice for many organisations. From media conglomerates to gyms, thousands of organisations beam an ever-expanding amount of data to their customers and users via mobile apps.
Lately, however, organisations have begun to realise that mobile apps can be just as effective on the business-to-business side of things.
In fact, one particular B2B area of the business world seems poised for more aggressive mobile expansion than any other — the supply chain. While mobile solutions used at the enterprise level have mainly focused on streamlining communication and supplying analytics within an organisation, they may soon become a disruptive force in the way wholesalers interact with their buyers, particularly through mobile apps.
Mobile solutions at work
One way mobile solutions could conceivably begin transforming supply chains is by altering how wholesalers deliver their product. By substituting middlemen with mobile devices, wholesalers can differentiate themselves from competitors in a market that typically lacks many unique selling points.
For example, a dry goods wholesaler serving a large number of restaurants across a region could roll out an initiative where customers (the restaurant managers or head chefs) use their smartphones or tablets to quickly run inventory —they could even literally snap photos of their storerooms.
Equipped with a database of inventory ‘snapshots’ from their customers, wholesalers could start to better understand how their customers do business and set up their distribution networks based on information provided by mobile solutions. The customers’ demands are satisfied more quickly and the wholesaler’s process is simplified thanks to real-time inventory tracking and order placements through mobile solutions.
Mobile apps offer insights
Many developers build push notifications into their mobile apps. Announcing when a product is returned to stock via push notifications to customer phones is a good way to build customer loyalty and improve sales. Quickly reaching a segmented group of buyers is an extremely valuable ability offered through mobile solutions, including mobile apps.
Enterprise mobile apps also afford more flexibility in the way you prove value to your B2B customers. For example, that same wholesaler might benefit from a mobile apps dashboard that displays order volume and sales figures in live time directly to its executives. Disrupting the marketplace with mobile solutions is about being able to innovate while showing the value of those innovations to key decision-makers.
Ultimately, mobile solutions allow suppliers and end-users to form a more symbiotic relationship. Because productivity is improved through mobile solutions, those suppliers can offer better and less costly services. The lesson to learn is that a well-defined B2B mobile solutions strategy can be just as effective in improving your bottom line as elegant mobile apps designed for your B2C audience.