A new location-based materials-procurement app for tradespeople has been launched in the UK by Czech builder-turned-entrepreneur, Luke Polach. With merchant support and involvement a central part of the proposition, PBM reports on the launch of ‘Buildiro’.
Having run his own building business in the UK between 2013 and 2017, CEO and Founder Luke Polach has returned to the country to launch Buildiro — billed as “the world’s first mobile app for materials procurement to solve the key challenge of knowing stock availability, thereby eliminating wasted time spent driving to merchants to source items.”
Available from the Google Play and Apple app stores since 30 September, the service has initially launched in London but has plans for expansion and merchants have a crucial role to play. The app is described as being designed to overcome “inventory issues” through the display of live online stock availability by participating merchants.
In turn, this will allow tradespeople to spend their day more productively by eliminating what could be wasted journeys whilst enabling merchants to build better customer relations by more easily retaining “increasingly demanding customers and helping them grow sales”.
According to Luke Pollach, thousands of tradespeople have already been helped to source materials up to 30% faster on the first trial of Buildiro earlier this year. He explains: “Not only do tradespeople need to save time and money in their search for supplies, but in the hyper-competitive materials-supply trade, builders’ merchants need innovative ways to attract current and potential customers to their stores. Buildiro delivers just that.
“When merchants post their inventories to Buildiro, they are not only helping tradespeople source supplies faster, more cost-effectively and in a more environmentally-friendly way, they are also opening themselves up to new sales opportunities.”
Buildiro was trialled by merchants including Bradfords Building Supplies, JMD Building & DIY Supplies and Lakedale Power Tools. Commenting on the app, Lee Church of JMD Building & DIY Supplies, a family-run supplier in Hailsham, said: “I’ve been in the industry 20 years and Buildiro is something that I knew the sector needed.We won’t have people turning up wanting things and then being disappointed if we don’t have them — because stock availability is already in the app, tradespeople know what we have and what they are coming in to collect.”
Many early reviews from the trade have been positive, with comments including: “Buildiro is the best app to find all the details on required tools and best pricing”; “Definitely on to a winner with this app. As this app grows it will become a vital tool for trades of all kinds”; “Amazing app as I work in a lot of different places and it’s very handy to help me find everything I need.”
Buildiro’s merchant-focused features are said to include:
- Better data sharing. When a tradesperson searches for materials within the Buildiro app, the algorithm records the product, location and time and searches for nearby merchants stocking the items. That data is then shared with participating merchants who can then analyse customers’ buying habits and need for materials, and so better serve their customers in the future through more targeted stocking and marketing.
- A click-and-collect payment option gives customers the ability to purchase from the 500,000+ products currently in the menu 24/7, even when the trade counter is closed, thereby helping merchants fulfil orders faster and more efficiently.
- E-invoicing. Buildiro can be configured to generate a PDF sales receipt, which can be linked to any accounting software for ease of processing. This feature is designed to save merchants time, and also helps their customers to seamlessly comply with the UK’s Making Tax Digitalscheme.
- Buildiro also runs an incentive program for participating merchants. Every merchant that joins Buildiro (free to join) will receive a waiver on the first 100 sales they process through. After this period, Buildiro will collect a small percentage of every sale to fund development of the app.
- New customers — attract tradespeople who are “working just around the corner”.
As a blog post on the Buildiro website outlines, as the buying habits of the trade evolve, it is essential for merchants to adapt their own offering: “While much of the materials-procurement process is now online, brick-and-mortar stores remain important. When customers arrive at your store, they must be able to find what they are looking for — good first impressions extend to the level of service (however) poor service is unlikely to lead to a repeat sale.
“Most importantly, though, the online experience needs to integrate into the physical one. For instance, stock availability in an e-commerce site doesn’t always pair with stock on shelves — a deficiency that can be frustrating for builders arriving at a brick-and-mortal store expecting to quickly source materials.
“This may be the greatest benefit of Buildiro. Because merchants supply us with a simple and secure XML feed of their inventory, our database reflects on-the-shelf reality. When a builder searches for materials in Buildiro, they are directed to the closet store stocking the required supplies, eliminating the risk of disappointment and increasing customer satisfaction.”
“Not only do tradespeople need to save time and money in their search for supplies, but in the hyper-competitive materials-supply trade, builders’ merchants need innovative ways to attract current and potential customers to their stores.”
Buildiro is currently aiming to grow its network of UK merchants. For more information, visit www.buildiro.com