Just as customers already expect that a business will have a website, they increasingly expect that a company will provide its customers with a mobile app. A mobile app presents your business as a modern, forward thinking company, and it shows the customer that you want to make doing business together simple and effective. For your sales & marketing efforts, a mobile app is a great topic of conversation with the customer, and great way to build mind share within an account, a great way for salespeople to stay in front of the customer, and a new communications channel to reach out to the customer with your message. Simply put, a mobile app creates sales opportunities.
A mobile website is just a regular website that has been modified to be a bit easier to use on the small screen of a mobile phone. In contrast, a mobile app is a software program that is installed on the customer’s phone where an icon (your logo) is presented to the customer every time they use their phone. The mobile website relies on the customer thinking of you and remembering to come back to your site, whereas with a mobile app you can reach out to the customer and send them a message that attracts their attention. A mobile app is also far more user friendly – it runs more quickly and provides a much more attractive environment to carry your brand.
Building native mobile apps for both Apple (iOS) and Google (Android) platforms requires considerable technical expertise and time. There are also significant on-going maintenance challenges created by the rapidly evolving mobile phone operating systems. Partnering with TradeSync off-loads this software development burden to a company that has already built the entire underlying platform and is maintaining and improving its capabilities. You will also not have to build, operate (24x7x365), maintain, and improve the server-side infrastructure required for the apps to operate. TradeSync increases your speed-to-market, lowers overall cost, lowers overall project risk, and frees your resources to focus on unique capabilities you would like to add to your mobile app.
TradeSync publishes your apps and handles the app store submission process. TradeSync has experience dealing with the peculiar practices of each app store and can navigate the approval processes for you. For example, you will probably want to use secure (SSL) encryption technology to assure your customers that their use of your app is safe. Apple requires that the publisher of an encrypted app have a dual-use technology export certificate from the U.S. Department of Commerce. TradeSync already has this certificate. App store submissions also require very specific marketing elements such as icon and image files in various sizes and formats. Again, TradeSync prepares these files so that you don’t have to.
Customers benefit by having an easy way to do business with you. The tools within your TradeSync-powered app help them do their job (e.g. , customer service, mobile ordering, order confirmations, branch locator, etc.). Your customers also benefit when you push them relevant information such as product information, news announcements, etc.
A customer is in the field and wants a simple way to place an order with you. Rather than struggle with typing out an email, or wasting their time, and yours, with phone tag, they can now use the Ordering module in your mobile app to “write” up a PO in seconds by just tapping on the products they need and sending you a clear, well-structured PO.
A purchasing agent has placed several orders with you and needs to verify that everything is OK with the order – they are now easily updated via mobile order confirmation that the order has been entered and confirmed. They can also use the Customer Service module to inquire about issues such as back orders, ship dates, etc.
A field worker needs to find his way to your branch location to pick up a Will Call order – he can use your mobile app to easily get your street address and then pull up turn-by-turn directions that guide him to your counter.
A purchasing agent wants to know if you carry a specific manufacturer line – they can use the Line Card to see if you sell the line.
A customer isn’t sure of what your holiday hours will be for a coming holiday – you can push this to them via the mobile app, and it won’t get pushed down to the bottom of an overflowing email inbox.
TradeSync has developed a “best practices” approach that will help roll-out your new mobile app to end customers. There are a variety of simple marketing steps that can create a big effect in driving user adoption. We have created and will supply to you many of the supporting materials (e.g., flyer templates, website content, etc.) that you can customize and use.
Yes. TradeSync’s Mobile Ordering module facilitates the simplest, most effective mobile ordering experience for customers.
You can upload your catalog and publish custom order templates; plus, customers can create free form items and create their own re-order templates. It all adds up to a very simple yet customized and powerful ordering experience for your customers.
Yes. You can present customers with your products in several ways by using the following modules:
- Mobile Ordering – Upload your catalog and give your customer an easy way to write you POs
- Line Card – Present the manufacturer brands that you carry and link out to manufacturer websites for additional product info
- Web Modules – Embed product catalogs that you already have (PDFs, web pages, etc.) or TradeSync can help you construct your own mobile content library
A mobile app will create an entirely new – and powerful - communications channel to reach your customer. It borrows from and improves upon website content and email marketing: You can re-purpose your website content for mobile but are no longer reliant upon your customer remembering to come back to your site, you can now reach out to them by pushing a message to their mobile app. This ability to reach out is like email, but rather than being 1 of 100 unopened emails in the inbox and pushed down to the bottom throughout the day – with your mobile app you have your own real estate on the home screen of the customer’s personal device (which they keep in front of them all day long, every day). Your messages for the customer are separated out from the junk in the inbox. Neatly packaged up in your branded app and tied to the other facets of your business, such as your Sales Team.
You may have as many end customer users as you like, at no additional charge.
Sales people are front and center in your TradeSync-powered mobile app. The Account Team module allows your sales people to create 1-to-1 connections with specific people at your customer accounts. Sales team contact info is then presented in a quick-access “Rolodex” for your customers so they know they can access the people that drive your business and service the account. Taking another step farther, Sales Reps / Account Managers can interact with customers via the Service module. Your mobile app is not just a “brochure site” with static content, it is a platform to engage and interact with the customer.
TradeSync performs all web-app maintenance. You are responsible for administering users, creating content, etc. When you sign up for the app TradeSync will help get you setup and trained up.
TradeSync performs all on-going app maintenance so you don’t have to stay on top of the latest changes from Apple and Google.
Once you provide us with a logo, we can have your app built and submitted to the app stores within about a week.
Our simple and affordable pricing can be found here: Vendor Solutions Pricing Page.
We make systems integration very easy. Taking the example of sending order confirmations to customers via your B2B mobile app: If your ERP system can send out an email – we are pretty sure ALL of them can – then you can connect your business system to your mobile app. You simply send email order confirmations (e.g. Cc: or Bcc:) to a TradeSync server account we have setup for you, and then we parse the email and populate the appropriate customer app. It is that simple.
Please contact us to discuss other integration scenarios.
Yes. There are two ways to customize the app to make it unique for your business. First, at no additional charge, the standard app has many user interface elements that you can configure. For example: logo, app name, icons, UI skin, color scheme, and module labels. If you want to have a completely unique user interface or add entirely new software features then you can contract with TradeSync to do custom graphic design and custom software programming for an additional fee.
You are not limited in the number of users in your company account. You are encouraged to add co-workers and can confidently invite vendors/customers knowing that registration on TradeSync is always free and unlimited.
My foremen typically don’t have time to search a detailed catalog so they rely on the purchasing agent to get them the right item, how will that work if we use your system?
A foreman has a number of options to communicate a material requisition to a purchasing agent and then stay informed about the status of his/her request:
- Easily search or browse your company’s custom catalog. We work with you to create a catalog of product descriptions that meet your requirements
- Enter “free form” items not found in the catalog
- Call-in the order as before but get “tagged” on the requisition by the purchasing agent so the foreman’s mobile app will get requisition status updates
My supplier sends me an acknowledgement on every order so I know the materials are on the way, will I still receive these?
Yes. In fact, these order acknowledgements are important documents and TradeSync Mobile Purchasing gives you a way keep track of which orders have been confirmed by the vendor and to effortlessly communicate that order status to the co-workers that need to know. As a Purchasing Agent you can eliminate the need to forward order acknowledgements to co-workers and can greatly reduce the phone calls from co-workers wanting to know order statuses.
As a mobile user of TradeSync Purchasing you are always “in the know” on what is going on with the products you have requested – did they get ordered? from which vendor(s)? did the vendor confirm receipt of the order? did the vendor enter the order in their system? etc. With TradeSync Mobile Purchasing you always have the latest information and you can access it by just glancing at your phone.
We could go on, but here are five reasons:
- We eliminate the scanning and indexing of vendor invoices. If you want to capture e-invoices in your document imaging system we can provide integration files for that.
- We automate many of the most tedious and time-consuming aspects of the approval process – such as automatically checking every invoiced price against contract prices, or validating cost codes, PO numbers, etc. With scanned images you are still doing “electronic paperwork” but with TradeSync you are working with structured data and therefore we can automate and eliminate your work – not just move e-paper around faster.
- We capture your purchasing history at the line item level so you can report on it. Unless you are doing an extraordinary amount of data entry work, you probably are not building a detailed purchase history database like you will with TradeSync.
- We integrate with your accounting system so you can eliminate even more data entry work. TradeSync can “flip” PO-ACKs into POs to populate costing systems, and insert approved vendor invoices into the AP module of your accounting system, again with the potential for line item detail.
- We provide Issue Tracker, a collaborative online issue management system that connect you, your co-workers, and your vendors in a shared work space to efficiently resolve any questions or problems you might encounter in the approval process.
My project manager must cost code all invoices before they go to accounting, can your system handle this?
Auto cost coding is supported in the Enterprise Edition of TradeSync’s E-Invoice Management solution. Customized to your business, you can assign cost coding rules and data so that cost codes are automatically applied at either the line item or the invoice level. This can save a tremendous amount of time and eliminate tedious work.
Alternately, cost codes can be hand entered within the application.
TradeSync’s web app requires a PC running a modern web browser. A high-speed Internet connection is always preferable but there are no meaningful bandwidth requirements for TradeSync. Our mobile apps require either a laptop, or recent tablet / smartphone.
Your solution seems interesting, but we’d like to try it in our environment; do you offer trials or demos?
We are confident in our ability to add value for our customers and would welcome the opportunity to do so for your business too. Please contact your TradeSync Sales Rep to discuss the best way to evaluate our solutions within your organization.
As a Vendor / Distributor, we already have an electronic invoicing system in place: how will your solution affect / complement / compete with it?
TradeSync can easily operate alongside an existing e-invoice program. Many vendors on the TradeSync network support some number of customers via alternative delivery mechanisms such as paper, email, or EDI. To add TradeSync as an e-invoicing option you simply make the connection to TradeSync and direct e-invoices to TradeSync for customers on our network.
That said, TradeSync takes your e-invoicing program to the next level. Whereas email and billing portals usually just provide your customers with a PDF of their invoices, that must be printed out, TradeSync is a tool that drives efficiency for your customers and for your business too. TradeSync expedites the approval of your invoices, connects your business processes with those of your customers, and ultimately enables you to forge a deep connection with your customers.
Often, we have to run reports for ourselves, management, and other teams: does TradeSync have built-in reporting capabilities?
It is important to know that all of the data in your TradeSync account is structured and held within a database that can be reported on. We provide standard reports with your account. Custom reports can be developed based on your requirements. Please contact your Sales Rep for more information about custom report writing services.
This seems like it’s very useful for really large organizations. Can smaller organizations use it too?
Yes. TradeSync is in fact used by many large organizations but we also have many small- and medium-sized businesses that find tremendous value in TradeSync and use it everyday. The ease-of-use of our applications and the pricing models for our premium offerings encourage use by companies of all sizes. We believe this is very important in B2B commerce where companies large and small do business together.
In Purchasing, we work pretty closely with Accounting: Do they use the same interface that we do? Do they see the same things?
All of the data within your TradeSync account is held within the same database and, when relevant, it is linked so that you can easily follow information to get the answers you need. So, if data needs to be shared between departments or between users, there is never a problem doing so.
It is important to note that each TradeSync user has their own account and sees only the data and tools that are relevant to performing their job function. Access to sensitive data and functions can be controlled with user-level access controls.
TradeSync premium accounts come with 2 hours of live web-based training for your staff. Your premium account will be assigned a Customer Success Manager who will help get you setup quickly and ensure that your company is getting the most possible value out of the TradeSync solution. This will help you get up any learning curve very quickly and with minimal frustration. On-site training is generally not required but can be arranged.
We provide premium accounts with live phone and web conference-based support.
Some of our field personnel don’t always have a mobile connection; is the Mobile Purchasing App still useful?
Yes. TradeSync Mobile Purchasing apps were specifically designed for situations where Internet connectivity in the field is either slow, intermittent, or nonexistent. Unlike a traditional web application which must communicate with a server to generate every page, TradeSync’s mobile user experience is not dependent on accessing the Internet. If a mobile user is unable to access the Internet, the app will store the user’s activities (such as material requisitions created while offline) then sync with the server when an Internet connection is re-established.
TradeSync endeavors to integrate with all systems that our customers require. We accomplish this with our highly-flexible integration module.
To accomplish integration between TradeSync and your business systems, you can:
- Use TradeSync’s standard integration formats such as CSV, XML, EDI, PDF, etc.
- Connect directly to QuickBooks via its API
- Use TradeSync’s predefined integration formats for enterprise systems (contact your TradeSync Sales Rep or Customer Success Manager), or
- Define your own integration format(s)
TradeSync can produce multiple related file types for your custom integration. For example, you can receive an XML file for your accounting system along with PDF files and a custom CSV file for your document imaging system, all of which are linked together.
TradeSync also provides you with TradeSync Relay our secure, reliable integration client. Relay runs locally at your company, easily traverses your file wall using HTTPS, and provides a reliable facility to download integration files and place them on your file system for import into your business software systems.
Our company uses a number of different operating systems and browsers – will this work on all of them?
Web App portion of TradeSync – TradeSync supports the current release of modern web browsers. Specifically, we perform QA testing on the Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Firefox browsers. In some browsers TradeSync relies upon very common add-on applications such as Adobe’s Acrobat Reader for viewing PDFs. For performance, security, and compatibility reasons it is important that you stay up-to-date with the current release of your browser and Acrobat.
So long as you are using a supported browser, the underlying operating system should not affect the operation of the TradeSync application. Please note that Internet Explorer (only available on Windows) is required to perform integration with QuickBooks.
Mobile App portion of TradeSync – TradeSync supports the iPhone and Android-based smartphones. TradeSync also supports laptops and tablets with modern web browsers supporting HTML5 (e.g., Chrome on Windows laptops, Apple iPad, Google Nexus, etc.).
Mobile Purchasing - No vendor setup process is required. You simply create your vendor list in TradeSync (vendor names, contacts, etc.) and begin to write POs. The POs will be transmitted to vendors at the email address you already have on file.
E-Invoice Management – Vendor setup is performed by TradeSync’s technical operations staff. We establish secure file transfer mechanisms with your vendors, map vendor files to your TradeSync account, maintain those connections, and troubleshoot any problems. To initiate this vendor connection process you must fill out a very brief request form so the vendor knows you would like to stop receiving paper and start receiving e-invoices via TradeSync. Your dedicated Customer Success Manager will guide you through this process.
- Mobile Purchasing – You can generate requisitions and write your first live POs within minutes of signing up with TradeSync Mobile Purchasing.
- E-Invoice Management – Deployment times are largely dependent on the speed of vendor connection setup. Unfortunately this is beyond TradeSync’s control; however, many vendors are able to switch your invoicing from paper/email to TradeSync within a few business days. Contact your TradeSync sales rep to discuss expected timing for your specific vendor list.
- Electronic Document Delivery – Vendors connecting to TradeSync for the first time can expect a rapid turn-around from TradeSync’s operations staff. If you can provide sample transactions in a structured format (e.g., EDI, XML, CSV, etc.) then you can expect to be live on TradeSync in as little as 5 business days. Vendors already connected to TradeSync can turn on new customer connections within 1-2 business days.
- Vendor-Branded B2B Mobile Apps – Deployment times vary depending on vendor requirements. Please contact your TradeSync sales rep to discuss your specific requirements and timing.
TradeSync takes many precautions to make sure your data is safe. Among other precautions, we perform the following:
- Physical Security – We maintain our servers and other computing resources in a secure location operated by a highly-trusted 3rd party provider, Amazon Web Services.
- Web Browser Security - TradeSync uses the same SSL-based encryption technology you use for secure banking transactions and on other financially sensitive web sites. We also use secure connections for the exchange of transaction data between vendor business systems and TradeSync servers.
- Password Encryption – TradeSync stores your login credentials (password) in an encrypted format that cannot be accessed, even by TradeSync personnel.
You may connect to any vendor you desire. Most TradeSync customers choose to start with their highest volume vendors (by number of invoices) first. Vendors must be able to establish a connection to TradeSync and transmit your e-invoices in a structured file format.
TradeSync Mobile Purchasing can be accessed via laptop, tablet, or smartphone. The user experience has been optimized for the size and data input capabilities of each class of device.
- Laptops – We support any laptop with Internet connectivity. Our HTML5 app can run even when your laptop is disconnected from, or only occasionally connected to, the Internet – such as laptops with “data cards” in the field, those with slow or spotty 2.5G or 3G connections, or those with limited access to WiFi. We suggest you run the Chrome web browser.
- Tablets – We support large format tablets such as Apple’s iPad and similarly sized Android tablets.
- Smartphones – We support both the Apple iPhone (iOS) and smartphones based on Google’s Android operating system with native smartphones apps optimized for each platform. Our smartphone apps also provide an excellent user experience on 7″ and smaller devices such as the iPad Mini and Google’s Nexus 7.
TradeSync establishes direct connections with vendors and their business software systems. Vendor invoices are generated by the vendors – just as before – only with TradeSync the vendor transmits and electronic file to your TradeSync account rather then sending the file to the printer, then the post office, and ultimately to you. In more technical detail, the vendor transmits an electronic transaction – typically an EDI, XML, or flat file – to TradeSync via a secure SSL-based file transfer mechanism. This vendor formatted file is translated by TradeSync into a format that is understood by the TradeSync application. TradeSync takes care of all vendor connectivity and format translation so you don’t have to.
No. You can restrict user access to the Contracts module so that only authorized users can see pricing agreements.
TradeSync will archive data for a period of at least 7 years. If your data retention requirements exceed this period please contact us.