Smartphones are now the must-have tool of choice and they’re being used for more than phone calls, according to Richard Blain of Hilti: “Cost pressures have meant that customers have reduced their back office teams so ordering of consumables is being done on mobile devices by supervisors and contractors.”

During the last 12 months Hilti’s interiors team has grown its online sales from 25 per cent to around 40 per cent of interior sales.

The established tradecentres are still the preferred choice of tradesmen who want to see the tools demonstrated when buying but online works best on consumables, which is why Hilti launched Hilti Screw Selector – a dowloadable app for iPhones and Android smartphones. The new app provides information on screws with a convenient tool which allows customers to select or search Hilti fasteners based on materials being fixed, fastening type and screw parameters.

Richard Blain explains: “Once the customer has used the online service they’re ordering three or four times a week – so they know what they want and they want to do as quickly as possible. You have multiple lines with some 15 or 20 items which can be fiddly to write out and fax or email. As consumables orders are often repeat orders, being able to repeat an order quickly is a real bonus. You can even check back over an order history.”

Travis Perkins has also launched a free app for iPhone, iPad and Android users. The app comes with a host of innovative features including directions to the nearest branch and local
branch services.

This interactive app is also a handy tool for use on site. The brick calculator can be used to purchase exactly the right amount of product for any job by taking into consideration brick size, wall space, total area of doors and windows and whether the wall will be single or double skin. And the handy built-in spirit level will help make sure that the resulting wall is straight and level.

Jon Parry, multi-channel director for Travis Perkins, said: “Our aim is to make it easy for our customers to do business with Travis Perkins. With more and more of our customers using smartphones, we hope that this new app will help our customers save time and money.”