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Testing Idea For New Purchasing App


SusanS

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Hi everyone,


 


We’re a team ex-eBay and Google people looking to build an app which helps you order materials more efficiently. We know many of you already have great systems with your wholesalers, but it seems like there are many others who aren’t so fortunate. 


 


This is NOT an ad - we haven’t developed anything, so nothing to sell here, promise  ! Just wanted to get the great minds on the forum to critique our idea, and see if we can develop something useful for you guys. 


 


Here’s how we think the process could work. You would:


  1. Browse a catalogue of both branded and non branded items, or enter in a message/photo in free text chat (like WhatsApp)
  2. Send your selection to either your preferred wholesaler branch (or even to a specific guy there), or to multiple wholesalers in your area
  3. Receive bids on pricing and availability
  4. Confirm your selection and request pick up or delivery
  5. Receive notification for when materials are ready for pick up or is out for delivery

We hope to you work more effectively with you local wholesalers, so that you can: 


  • Save time and money by getting pricing and availability easily
  • Easily check invoices, track prices of materials, and integrate with Quickbooks
  • Be more efficient - reorder frequently purchased materials, track the status of your materials 

 


The app will be free to use. In terms of making money, we’re not taking a cut from the sale. Our goal is to develop and sell inventory software for wholesalers which allows them to track real-time availability much better and have that displayed to you in the app.


 


We would love to get your thoughts - does this help? Does this not help? Again, we haven’t built anything yet, so this is just research to see if it would make your lives any easier.


 


Thanks a lot in advance!  


 


Susan


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SLIPSHOD & SLAPDASH

Call me old fashioned, i stick with the same 3 or 4 suppliers. Service is more important than price.


And, please stop spamming the forum, if your trying to get your post count up to 10 to put an add/link in at least say something constructive, then the link will still get removed.

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Thanks Slipshod & Slapdash! Would having an app help you work better with your 3-4 suppliers? E.g., getting availability from them, being notified of delivery, being able to chat with them like on WhatsApp?

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I use 2 exclusively.  Price is important but the balance of service is equally as important sometimes.  

 

Regarding the app I really don't see how this would work.  Say I wanted 200 meters of cable 5 sockets and 5 pendants. are you saying that this list would then be sent to a selection of local wholesalers for them then to price and get back with prices and availability?  I can imagine the wholesalers getting very bored of quoting this way when the success rate would be slim and when they have regular customers that they have good relationships with who they know they can earn money from.

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Thanks for your thoughts Essex1. Yeah, your selection would get sent to the suppliers you choose (could be 1 or many). I can see your concern about them getting bored of quoting, but don't some people currently call around anyway asking for pricing and availability? We're hoping to basically replace the way you call/email around with a quick click instead. 

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Sharpend

Sorry Susan this is one app to far!!

So I'm out!

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No worries Sharpend - honest responses like yours are exactly what we need! 

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Sharpend

Personally I think you're :

A) targeting the wrong people

B) don't the wholesalers already have a stock system on computer?

What is the app going to do that a quick call to the wholesaler isn't?

It'll take just as long to go on the app as it will to call the wholesaler?

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Hi Sharpend,

 

A. Is there anyone else who you think this would be more helpful for?

B. Yes they do. But availability tracking is very poor, no integration with e-com sites, so we're hoping to build a better solution.

 

I guess if you're only dealing with 1 wholesaler, 1 call would be quicker. But if you're dealing with 3-4, it would be faster to go through the app vs. call them all?

 

Is there something else instead that you would propose that would be more helpful for you?

 

Appreciate all the thoughts btw, this is really helpful.

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sprocketflup

Just to say Susan, you aren't the first to come here posing that question, I can think of 2 other folks who came on here with the very same idea in the last 12 months, the responses didn't turn out favourably im afraid

Just to say Susan, you aren't the first to come here posing that question, I can think of 2 other folks who came on here with the very same idea in the last 12 months, the responses didn't turn out favourably im afraid

Also just to add to Slips comment, we do get p*ssed off with people coming on and raking up old threads with 'haha!' and the dreaded 'lol'

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Hi Sprocketflup. Gotcha. I think as outsiders, we're all a bit baffled. We're hearing a lot of complaints - no good online ordering, wholesalers ripping people off, having to double check invoices, poor stock. But everyone seems to be struggling with a solution like Amazon/other online shopping sites which actually help make your lives easier! Just wondering what the magic ingredient is to make it work for this industry?! I guess that's the million-pound question!


PS Sprocketflup & Slips -- my bad!! Rookie error with the spamming :(. Was hoping that if I spammed some old threads from 2008, it wouldn't just remain in the depths of the internet!

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For me anything that takes away the relationship side of business is not good business.  If a wholesaler rips me off it will be bad business for them - not me.  Certain aspects of business are completely based on relationships and I am afraid this is one of those.  An app would simply take it away.  There is far more to a wholesaler relationship than ordering materials.  Especially when items become faulty.  I mean what if something was wrong or did not work?  I can imagine then not having close bonds with a particular supplier(s) would make this even harder than it has to be.  


Hi Sharpend,

 

A. Is there anyone else who you think this would be more helpful for?

B. Yes they do. But availability tracking is very poor, no integration with e-com sites, so we're hoping to build a better solution.

 

I guess if you're only dealing with 1 wholesaler, 1 call would be quicker. But if you're dealing with 3-4, it would be faster to go through the app vs. call them all?

 

Is there something else instead that you would propose that would be more helpful for you?

 

Appreciate all the thoughts btw, this is really helpful.

 

What would be helpful would being able to do live stock checks of local wholesalers.  Rather than phoning around asking if they have 15 meters of 3 core SWA you could simply type what you wanted and then the app would search the local suppliers.  Then you could call them to order.

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Hey Essex1 - yeah, I think when we were thinking about the being able to select materials to send to specific suppliers, we thought you could still maintain the relationship. But understand now how it takes away the richness/complexity of the relationship.

 

It would be amazing to get live stock availability for you guys. The issue is that the systems that the suppliers use are so antiquated it's really hard to get accurate availability. My understanding is that even the big guys who say that they have things in stock on their apps aren't doing it based on actual counts, but on just having certain items in stock generally and having that as the default in the system.

 

Any thoughts on how to get availability, without having the suppliers have to reinstall new systems entirely. What if there was a WhatsApp like chat system, and you had all the suppliers as contacts. And rather than phoning around, you could just message the X number of suppliers you normally deal with and ask if they have it in stock. And for simple things - e.g., confirming orders, confirming pick ups etc, you can communicate with your suppliers through chat. And still call them when things are more complicated. Would that be helpful?

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kerching

If the App,is going to be Internet based AND we do not have a connection??

I find it easier to phone the suppliers....I can then make changes on the fly as it were.....and they can advise alternatives

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Sharpend

But again we/they are reliant upon their system?

Secondly I've known times when despite not having the item available the wholesaler goes the extra mile to overnight courier an item for next day delivery, not sure an app could portray the urgency/necessity of getting an item?

Unless you have a realtime app then I'm afraid it's a non starter in this industry.

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Ha ha. One of my wholesalers doesn't even generate invoice by computer!

 

As for on line stock - no chance AND more importantly most stock systems show the stock "in delayed time" so you don't really get a real picture.

 

How would you generate income to pay for all this? Our margins are wafer thin!

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Cant see it working. I wouldnt use something like that

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Cant see it working. I wouldnt use something like that

 

 

I quite agree with that - the most likely people to use such an app, would by Joe Public trying to get cheaper prices than their builder or spark - so how would such an app stop that?

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Just to say Susan, you aren't the first to come here posing that question, I can think of 2 other folks who came on here with the very same idea in the last 12 months, the responses didn't turn out favourably im afraid

Also just to add to Slips comment, we do get p*ssed off with people coming on and raking up old threads with 'haha!' and the dreaded 'lol'

lol

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NozSpark

...and you think that the wholesalers have the spare manpower to sit there just waiting for a "WhatsApp" type conversation?

Personally I'd just email a long list to them and call them to let them know that I've sent it... Otherwise it would probably get lost or forgotten about.

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Doc Hudson

Hey Essex1 - yeah, I think when we were thinking about the being able to select materials to send to specific suppliers, we thought you could still maintain the relationship. But understand now how it takes away the richness/complexity of the relationship.

 

It would be amazing to get live stock availability for you guys. The issue is that the systems that the suppliers use are so antiquated it's really hard to get accurate availability. My understanding is that even the big guys who say that they have things in stock on their apps aren't doing it based on actual counts, but on just having certain items in stock generally and having that as the default in the system.

 

Any thoughts on how to get availability, without having the suppliers have to reinstall new systems entirely. What if there was a WhatsApp like chat system, and you had all the suppliers as contacts. And rather than phoning around, you could just message the X number of suppliers you normally deal with and ask if they have it in stock. And for simple things - e.g., confirming orders, confirming pick ups etc, you can communicate with your suppliers through chat. And still call them when things are more complicated. Would that be helpful?

 

 

It looks to me as though you are trying to create a problem that will fit your perceived solution. Rather than you have encountered a genuine problem that you are looking to solve. Most suppliers who already offer on line ordering either for delivery or click and collect generally have accurate live stock quantities. Some of the combined DIY/Wholesale outlets such as Screwfix & Toolstation can even tell you stock in their local branches, not just their on-line delivery stock.  There is still the fundamental concept that one person can only deal with one enquiry at a time. So unless it is an automated system that can reply to all these quote enquires you will probably be still waiting just as long for the sales assistant to respond to your WhatssApp. I can't recall many times that I have made an on line order that was quoted as been in stock that subsequently turned out not to be. It is generally highlighted when placing the order, such as dispatch within 3-5 working days rather than next day. A lot of wholesalers have variable costs depending upon the type of customer your are, Cash, Account, Frequent, Occasional. It is not a one size fits all price structure for each stock item. And whichever way you look at it adding another link into a chain will always add a further delay and potential for errors. Larger companies employ their own purchasing staff for this sort of work, smaller businesses get to know their most reliable wholesalers and work with them. If I don't want to ring someone then I have been able to type an email list of stock I want, copy it to a handful of local suppliers for many years now. Those that have the time and want the business send a reply that can be evaluated. How would using WhatsApp speed this process up. The problem was solved a long time ago that you are trying to solve..  

 

Doc H.

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Hey Essex1 - yeah, I think when we were thinking about the being able to select materials to send to specific suppliers, we thought you could still maintain the relationship. But understand now how it takes away the richness/complexity of the relationship.

 

It would be amazing to get live stock availability for you guys. The issue is that the systems that the suppliers use are so antiquated it's really hard to get accurate availability. My understanding is that even the big guys who say that they have things in stock on their apps aren't doing it based on actual counts, but on just having certain items in stock generally and having that as the default in the system.

 

Any thoughts on how to get availability, without having the suppliers have to reinstall new systems entirely. What if there was a WhatsApp like chat system, and you had all the suppliers as contacts. And rather than phoning around, you could just message the X number of suppliers you normally deal with and ask if they have it in stock. And for simple things - e.g., confirming orders, confirming pick ups etc, you can communicate with your suppliers through chat. And still call them when things are more complicated. Would that be helpful?

But we can already do that via e-mail, text or what's app. Why do we need another communication method?

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SLIPSHOD & SLAPDASH

It will never work. Wholesalers prices vary dependant on the customer. When asked for a best price from a stranger a regular will still be sold it cheaper.

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It will never work. Wholesalers prices vary dependant on the customer. When asked for a best price from a stranger a regular will still be sold it cheaper.

 

yep, totally agree,

some stuff I can buy cheaper than a guy I work along with on occasion, other stuff he gets better than me,

and, vice versa with a different wholesaler,

I really cant see anything other than has already been said,

ring them up, speak to someone you probably already know from the counter, and even better, he probably knows you, so if they dont have that actual item, will perhaps be able to recommend an alternative when he asks you its actual purpose,

had this very thing the other day, they didnt have one of the items I needed, never mind, was wandering around the back with him picking other stuff when I spotted an alternative, we checked its IP rating, and BINGO, it was suitable, not exactly what I needed, but, more than adequate for the job it was required to do.

 

IMHO, apps like this, etc, only really work for

1 straightforward purchases, ie, bananas cannot be replaced by a lettuce, [no matter what some supermarket delivery folks may say]

2 diyers who dont really know what they want anyway and only want a cheap price

3 people who done a short course and think this sort of thing impresses a client, see 2 above,

4 people who like gimmicky things, see 3 above

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Hi everyone, thanks so much for taking the time to write such thoughtful responses! Really appreciate it. If there is something you'd like to see, please just feel free to send me a PM - we can always build stuff for free in exchange for your guidance.

 

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

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