THOUGH a crucial activity, stock replenishment in independent retail largely remains time consuming, inefficient and inaccurate.
That’s the judgement of Anx Patel, founder and CEO of GoKart, who argues that the time has come for wholesalers to embrace mobile technology to improve the supply chain.
Described as “Just Eat for retailers”, GoKart is designed to allow food and grocery businesses to order from all their suppliers through one app. The app downloads and stores each wholesaler’s catalogue on its customer’s phone, meaning they can instantly browse and add items to their basket.
Launched in 2014, there are now 37 wholesalers using the GoKart marketplace, while the company has its own development team working on other apps to improve wholesalers’ businesses.
Patel, whose background is in independent retail, says the benefits of investing in mobile ordering technology are clear – higher sales and lower costs.
“Because our industry has so many different vernaculars and dialects, when orders are placed over the phone there are always mistakes,” he said.
“Either they didn’t hear it correctly or the order wasn’t entered correctly, but somehow it was picked up wrong. With our system, because you’ve got clean, uniform orders coming through no matter what languages are spoken on either side, service levels are going up. These wholesalers become the most reliable and the easiest to deal with and they get more business.
“Cost wise, it liberates wholesale staff from the time consuming business of processing orders and allows them to do more. Wholesalers can reduce the number of people on telesales and increase the number going out to educate customers. That’s a big advantage.”
Last year, Patel was invited to speak at the Scottish Wholesalers Association conference, where the need for wholesalers to ‘evolve’ to survive was repeatedly voiced.
“I think the appetite for change is there,” said Patel. “Currently the whole supply chain is being attacked on all sides by big business, but we’re at a very interesting time when the same technology companies like Tesco and Amazon are using to press their advantage is now freely available.
“You don’t have to be a massive corporation with huge resources. You can use people like us, who are independent and passionate, to leap-frog you to where you need to be, ahead of the competition.”