How did it all start?
Grohe has been a client for years and has experienced the changes and upgrades that have followed along with the growth of our platform. Through our close collaboration we continuously strive to gain a better understanding of the utilization of the platform and learn how it can be improved.
When it comes to e-commerce, it is something that we have previously considered a potential addition to Napp, since there for some time has been a lot of buzz around it and especially around B2B e-commerce on mobile devices. So, when Grohe came to us with the request to add e-commerce to Napp, we were highly interested and quickly jumped into the project.
The reason for Grohe to suggest the addition of e-commerce into Napp was a variety of challenges experienced by the sales personnel in the company, which were all related to stock:
“The sales people in the field could never know whether a product was in stock nor the available quantity. They would have to call the office to check whether it was in stock and what the quantity level of that product was. As a result, sales people had many interruptions during client meetings.”
Mads Møller, CTO in Napp
These pain points suggested a need for more transparency and automation in the information flow in Grohe’s sales process. Overall, Grohe expressed expectations of a feature that increases productivity, makes sales reps appear more professional and allow a higher degree of self-service. With valuable insights like these we had a starting point for the development of the e-commerce feature in Napp.
What does the development process look like?
The project was initiated when Grohe approached us with a wish to make the sales process more effective as mentioned above. Afterwards we did a lot work in terms of looking into what systems Grohe use during the sales process and who their affected stakeholders are. We expanded this analysis to include other organizations and consider what implications might arise from combining Napp with various tools and systems. A key consideration in this regard was the ability to transfer data from systems like SAP into Napp. How do we get access to the relevant data without being given external access by the client in question or having to deal with integrations? After all, large corporations typically cannot grant companies like us the access to their systems, considering data safety and the recent enforcement of the GDPR. Therefore, we had to do something else, and the solution we came up with was to develop our own system: An FTP server to which the client uploads the relevant data once every hour or as rarely or often as they like. Then we will put the data into Napp, and thereby make it ready for use for the clients’ sales people.
This solution was the result of research and brainstorming which was initially undertaken internally in Napp. Then a presentation was made for Grohe, showing them our take on what Napp e-commerce could look like and how it could address their needs. This proved to be a critical step in the development process, since getting Grohe’s feedback informed us about adaptations and changes we needed to implement to improve the feature. On that basis a prototype was made which allowed Grohe to test it all in practice. Once again, we learned some valuable lessons that was implemented into the solution.
Now we are at state where a version has been launched for all Grohe’s sales people to use. To get to this point and to get forward from here, our CTO Mads Møller highlights that continuous sparring with and feedback from the client is essential and tells the following as an example:
“We once talked with Grohe about searching for product stock in the app and specifically about how to show the search results. We learned through this conversation and sparring that Grohe would like the quantity in stock to be visible in the search results before tapping the product to save taps. This is something we did not originally add to the feature but implemented after being made aware of it by Grohe – a very tangible example of an integration of the clients' feedback.”
Mads Møller, CTO in Napp
What are the benefits of developing in collaboration with the client?
From the quote above it is evident that we would not have arrived at the same result had we not developed Napp e-commerce in collaboration with Grohe, and the result would probably have been less qualified to fit our clients’ needs:
“Without Grohe we would simply have built what we thought was smart. Grohe provides us with requirements and demands that makes the feature more usable. Learning from the client’s feedback is key. It takes more time, but it is time well spent. It is part of the prototyping process and part of being agile. Furthermore, the feedback we get validates our business case, and we do not necessarily use it all, but all of it is useful to the process.”
Mads Møller, CTO in Napp
Summing up Mads Møller’s points and our overall learnings from the ongoing collaboration with Grohe, we can say that continuously returning to the client throughout the process is crucial and sparring with the client provides valuable feedback that can be applied to adapt and improve the feature being developed.
Napp e-commerce is rooted in our close collaboration with Grohe, and we look forward to seeing what other ideas and innovations our collaboration with Grohe and other Napp clients brings.
What is next?
We are only just getting started with Napp e-commerce and we plan to take the development of the feature further and expand the possibilities it offers. The process is planned as a three-stage rocket with the first stage being stock lookup – an essential functionality for Grohe that is already live. Next stage is placing orders through Napp, and the third and final stage is the full e-commerce solution that clients can use both internally and externally. If you are ready to get started with e-commerce in your organization, then leave us a note in our contact form, and we will get back to you with a personal introduction to Napp and the possibilities the platform offers.