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The Sonepar Canada Group goes mobile

The idea of using synergy effects and initially developing a basic app and then deriving four versions from it brought the Sonepar Canada Group considerable cost and time benefits. Despite the complex challenge of making as many features of the web stores as possible available in the eCommerce app, ieffects was able to limit the development time including the test phase to eight months. All four apps are now available for download, since the beginning of June, and work both online and offline.

If, on a construction site somewhere in Canada, a precisely fitting cable is suddenly needed, the electrician can now order it immediately and precisely cut to size from the electrical wholesaler Sonepar. For this purpose, there are now the new eCommerce apps of Sonepar’s four Canadian national companies: Lumen, Gescan, Sesco and Vallen. They each offer 150,000 to 300,000 items at lightning speed for mobile shopping. “Our apps are the fastest in the world,” assures Andreas Unseld, Project Manager ieffects ag, “because speed is essential for the success of an eCommerce app: with just three seconds of data latency, 40% of users bail.”

Four companies, four web stores and now, brand new, four eCommerce apps on a common basis.

While the four apps differ in assortment and branding, and in the case of Lumen offer French as a user language in addition to English, they are all identical in terms of structure and functions. In the process, we succeeded in transferring many of the features that customers already know and appreciate from the webshop to the app and ensuring that the webshop and app work in sync.

What does the app have to offer?

The user can assign a personal code to articles, e.g. an in-house article number, or assign them to any storage location and can filter the articles accordingly. A quicklist also presents him with his self-labeled items, and the product history shows the products ordered most frequently and in what quantity.

Interesting also that the app allows to use different accounts with the same login and password. This makes the order more specific, convenient and fast. In different accounts, you can, for example, store various delivery addresses or special, previously negotiated purchasing conditions for a project.

With the products, the order selection goes down to the last detail. This makes it possible to select the right cable drum for the cable in question and to request individually tailored cable lengths in the required quantity. And to make shopping perfect, the app still shows customized product recommendations that it generates based on shopping behavior.

“As with previous app developments for Sonepar, we had an excellent working relationship with Sonepar Canada,” explains Andreas Unseld. “There were serious concerns about time differences and cultural differences at the beginning. However, with the help of our Slack tool for the entire developer group, we were able to take up the specific requirements at any time and implement them quickly. Another advantage was certainly that we are well positioned as a Swiss company and were able to communicate and work in both English and French. On the technical side, the interfaces were a challenge for us. We consider it a success that we managed to master the integration of a completely new SOA (service-oriented architecture) based on REST web services. This shows the flexibility of our app and our development team.”

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