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By Phil Talbot – go to guy | mobile ordering | saavi

By ‘baseline’ features we mean the functions most commonly expected (and used) in mobile ordering apps.

Which features are important in a mobile ordering app actually depend on who is going to use the app. There are basically two kinds of mobile ordering app users: sales representatives and consumers

This, naturally, leads to two major kinds of mobile ordering apps:

  • Sales rep mobile ordering apps; and
  • Consumer type mobile ordering rep apps

This is because there are mobile ordering features that only sales reps should access.
Here, then, are the baseline features most expected and useful in mobile ordering apps.

Must-have mobile ordering app features

Compatibility with major ERPs, Accounting, and CRM applications

This is actually a must-have in any mobile ordering app and should not be seen by sales reps and consumers. A mobile ordering app is useless if it does not integrate with an Enterprise Resource Planning (SAP or Oracle) or Accounting or Consumer Relations Management system. In fact, a mobile ordering app can be considered an aspect of any ERP system: a point of sale software.

Selective Account/Products/Sales rep access

Accounts have different product (and pricing) assignments. Consequently, a sales rep assigned to a specific account should only be able to view and sell the products designated to his or her particular account assignment.

Account & Inventory Management

Obviously this feature is mostly for sales representatives. However, some portions of account management can also be useful for end consumers—order tracking for example.

A mobile ordering app should also be able to synchronize with a sales rep or a customer’s task reminder, calendar, and contacts (especially email).

Personalized Pricing & Specials

Consumers also need these, but limited mostly to specials and coupons. Complex, or personalized pricing, is mostly for affiliates and distributors.

Quick Order Taking

Useful for both sales reps and consumers. Slow order taking defeats the purpose of mobile ordering apps.

Customizable e-catalog

Useful for sales reps and consumers. This way, depending on their requirements, mobile ordering app users can view many attributes and characteristics of the products available. Fashion items and accessories, for example, can show fabric swatches, colors, sizes, etc.

Search by Multiple Filters

The starting point of customizable e-catalogs is the smart filter feature, allowing users to search for and display products according to multiple parameters like brand, size, model, material and price. Good for both sales representatives and consumers alike.

Rich Display

With today’s smartphones and tablets not only having 4G speeds but high-definition displays (like Apple’s Retina and Samsungs Super AMOLED) as well, detailed product photos are becoming standard for mobile ordering. This allows the app to show products with their textures and details. Rich displays, plus multiple photos of the same products, make a more compelling selling (and buying) point.

Video Clips & File Attachments

This is a very nice feature that’s becoming increasingly common. With videos, you’ll not only see products in high definition, but see them in action as well.
File attachments, like PDF documents of detailed product features, are handy selling points, especially if the mobile ordering app allows you to send these attachments as email to prospective customers.

Online & Offline Modes

It’s not all the time that a mobile device has online connectivity. In times when there’s no signal, a mobile ordering app should be able to save orders and other info and update these with the servers automatically when back online. This implies that most of the product functions should work offline as much as possible. Online connectivity should be for updating to and from the servers.

Nice-to-have features in mobile ordering apps

These are desirable, but not indispensable, mobile ordering app features.

Ordering by Prepacks & Units of Measurements

Depending on the product, orders should accomodate pre-packs and any unit of measurement.

Ordering Matrix

Saves a lot of time by showing products in a grid of any two attributes like model and material. Or brand and color.

Mixing & Matching

This is especially useful for selling and selecting wearable products like bags, shoes, clothing, headgear, watches and jewelry.

Location Based GPS and Route Tracking

This is useful for determining the most efficient route for delivering customers’ orders. Good for sales reps or order managers.

Route tracking also allow managers to see where their sales reps are and their activities on the map. Consider it a ‘Big Brother’ function.

Picture Taking

Lastly, picture-taking function allows reps and managers to take pictures of how products are displayed at any location. It also allows for comparing with competitor displays. This is a nice addition to reporting but could make reps vulnerable to charges of corporate snooping.

Knowing these mobile ordering app baseline features will allow you to better evaluate competing mobile ordering apps in the news or offered to you.


Phil Talbot is founder of SAAVI – the mobile ordering specialists and the resident expert in mobile ordering systems. You can follow SAAVI on facebook.

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