Have you ever been to a wholesalerâs trade show?
Imagine a aircraft-hangar sized space with thousands of buyers and sellers writing orders.Â They all have smartphones, and many of them have iPads.Â Yet, almost all of the reps are writing orders on paper, handing the buyer a yellow-paper carbon copy, hoping that their handwriting is legible, and taking the order back to the office for some poor schmoe to type in by hand.Â It feels like a timewarp, but itâs actually pretty much every tradeshow in the year 2011.
-Handshakeâs Glen Coates
Glen Coates has been to his fair share of trade shows. The Aussie born, former DJ turned entrepreneur has found himself in New York City as the CTO of Handshake, an app thatâs converting an archaic paper system to a digital system and using the iPad to pave the way.Â Coates aims to âbring wholesale out of the Discman age.â The app lets you write orders, scan barcodes with your iPhone camera, email order confirmations, print copies instantly with AirPrint and works seamlessly with excel. Sellers can offer their entire catalog and multiple product lines simultaneously with multi-currency support.
All iPad transactions are synced to Handshakeâs web server, where a manager can provision rep sales.Â Handshake also offers wholesalers an online customer portal where merchants can check up on inventory. Letâs say youâre a shoe store and you want to order 100 shoes all in blue. Youâd have to call the wholesaler and have them tell you,Â No, sorry we only have 80 shoes in blue. âThereâs no Zappos like experience for wholesale,â explains CTO Glen Coates.
It operates like Square for B2B, sans hardware and targeted for the wholesale industry where payment is slightly more complicated with terms like Minimums, Case Packs and people oftenÂ receiving goods before paying. At this time, Handshake is working with over 150 companies.
Coates isnât targeting big brands like Nike and Coca-Cola but smaller manufacturers who struggle with theÂ inflexibilityÂ of apps like Shopify. And with no set up fees andÂ monthlyÂ packages starting at $14.95, itâs much cheaper than competitors likeÂ RepZio, according to Coates. And the best part about Handshakeâs pricing options? Letâs say you only want to use the app when youâre at a trade show? Simply drop the account to 0 users and only pay monthly fees when itâs trade show season again. Check out a full list of Handshakeâs pricing plans here.
My travels are so much easier! When I leave the client, the order is already confirmed at the supplier and product arrives faster than ever before.
Jens Sondergaard â CEO, STAAS Norway, a Handshake user
I actually got a chance to play with the app while visiting SoHoâs WeWork Labs in New York City, where the startup is based. While Iâll likely never find myself working in the B2B wholesale world, itâs a slight shame as the app was one of the best IâveÂ encountered. It wasÂ extremely fast, intuitive and well designed. Check out this teaser video below and youâll see how the CTO is also a former DJ:
Handshake has just released version 2.1 of its app. New features include:
- User groups, which allow administrators to control access to customers and orders on a per-user basis.
- Long descriptions for products with images.
- Dial customers from within the app on your iPhone.Â Reach out quickly when you need to.
- Edit customer details from within the order editing screen.Â Close faster.