For now, Springfield Paper Company is ahead of the curve. Though there are a few janitorial companies preparing to launch their mobile-optimized websites and apps in the next coming months, their numbers are few and far in between.

It seems jan/san distributors are still hesitant about jumping into the ring.

“I think they are scared — people don’t like change,” says Dave Conklin, an Internet marketing consultant and speaker based in Lancaster, Pa. “Everything keeps changing at a rapid clip. Part of the challenge is that people who are making executive decisions aren’t using a smartphone.”

Jan/san distributors need to think of mobile optimization not as a side-project, but as a long-term growth strategy — and a way to provide customers with the solutions to their procurement needs.

Software developers and Internet marketers say customers are definitely becoming more aware of mobile — due in part to the popularity of sophisticated sites, such as Amazon, on the consumer side. Customers are now requesting similar interactive features on their own websites.

For example, one jan/san distributor shows customers their ordering history on its mobile app; another company has integrated a “virtual management inventory” system into theirs. Customers simply scan a barcode of a product using their phone and are shown whether they are in need of that product, or are fully stocked.

Jan/san companies can further enhance the shopping experience by pointing customers directly to specials, seasonal deals or product categories, or tailor the mobile shopping altogether.

Mobile is another way to sell to customers, especially since a lot of ordering takes place in the field, rather than behind a desk.

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