October 25, 2016
Qual Chem© is a global car wash industry business founded by Joseph Moldovan, a respected chemist who initially developed the Qual Chem products for his own chain of car washes.
Web3Box was selected to be their technology partner back in 2010. Since then, we worked diligently to create the best possible business experience for the Qual Chem owners and staff. We started with just IT services and consulting, and later, as the relationship grew, we proposed to enhance Qual Chem's online presence, starting with their website. We created a full manageable website in 2012 and later on, in 2015 we redesigned it, making it more dynamic and user friendly.
Qual Chem works with a large US distribution network. Those companies are their distributors and their partners. We discussed and planned with their accounting, sales reps, and people handling orders collecting the necessary information related to their work flow is.
We came come with a proposal to move this process in the cloud and after several months of research we decided to create the DistribQualChem portal. This portal manages distributors, products, and orders for the distribution network. It allows for product management, distributors, orders, and features an user-friendly shopping cart. Since then, all Qual Chem orders were processed via this portal.
The people in this industry travel a lot and they need to be able to ensure chemical supplies for their car washes are always at the optimal level. Thus, we thought about creating a mobile application for iOS and Android that would help the distributors place orders while they are on the field (managing their car wash businesses). The mobile app would run on iPads and iPhones as well as on Android devices - we said - So, we were hired to complete this job too.
In 2 months we delivered a fully functional iOS app that manages the distributors ordering system. This app features multiple profiles, different shipping addresses, products and product categories, and a shopping cart that was customised for this industry and for this type of business. The iOS app is now live on the iTunes store and is being used actively by the people in the Qual Chem distributors network.
KEY DEVELOPMENT FEATURES
- A custom search function for finding products, parts, categories and product specifications. This let's the distributors quickly find what they need even if they don't know the name of the product. An auto suggest search feature was added to the search for quick filtering through thousands of products and parts. This feature and the entire app is powered by VUE JS.
- The navigation was created with user experience in mind. Our designers created every flow to resemble a step-by-step wizard. (Ex: List Categories -> Drill down into subcategories and then into the product list with even more filters. Since everything is basically an SPA (Single Page Application) we are using the JSON Web Tokens open standard to ensure security and access level management.
- Listing products was a challenge since Qual Chem has thousands of products, variations and parts. They had to be grouped and had to be easily reached by distributors. Since we had the previous experience with creating the web ordering portal, we were able to manage this too, receiving positive feedback from the users. Such complex searches and product groupings are achieved through a set of custom models written in Laravel thus allowing the use of the built in Object Relational Mapping (ORM) in the framework.
- The shopping cart interface and functionality is particular for the industry you work with. In this case, the shopping cart has to handle multiple shipping addresses, the need for a lift-gate, pick up or delivery, and other special needs. We customised the entire ordering process to not only fit into a mobile screen but also to be as short as possible. We reduced the number of needed taps to a minimum for a hassle-free checkout experience.
- Another particularity of this business industry is that the car wash operators, the distributors, usually handle some of the orders with the Tech help. The tech means the guy who actually works into the car wash and knows exactly what needs to be ordered. That is mostly for ordering parts. To satisfy their need, we added the option of defining techs, setting permissions, and eventually let them login and place orders.
- Since we did the web version of the portal, Qual Chem© wanted to offer the same application to their sales team. In this industry, some operators want to order through a sales-rep, or account manager. This being said, we added the functionality for Qual Chem reps to log in and act as the distributor they manage.
After 2 months of research and coding the DistribQualchem iOS app is now one of the best apps in the Chemistry Industry, used by car wash operators.
- streamline the process of managing products
- streamline the process of placing orders
- real time statistics for the company owners
- the entire process is now 10 times quicker than at the beginning