Gary Hyde, president of Hydes Business Solution says his company’s Tonol app came about when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and most businesses were shuttered. That meant that sales teams with distributors were prevented from going to their convenience store partners to talk with staff and find out what products and goods needed to be refilled.
“We understood that we needed to keep people safe only we still had to find a way to conduct business,” he adds. “So, the questions we asked ourselves was how can we still see the customer, and how can we communicate with the customer in an efficient way? This is where Tonol evolved from.”
The tonal app is a downloadable app that can operate on any tablet or smartphone. It requires no special training on the part of the c-store manager or staff to use and similarly for distributors and their sales teams to use and integrate seamlessly into their workflow.
The Tonol app is made to help c-store operators and their distributor partners to keep track of inventory more efficiently and to smooth the ordering process. As Hyde points out, it eliminates the need to keep and fill out traditional paper-based ordering forms or having to create a paper inventory list and then to laboriously input the needed items later into an online ordering form later.
Instead, the app works by letting someone key in needed items through scanning a bar code, tapping on flyers or cataloged items, or by manually adding an item into an order list. Because it keeps track of orders and stock in real-time orders are not lost if the app is shut down, and one can call up a previous order history to reorder the items or to make additions or modifications to that order.
Distributors can use the app to send flyers to their convenience store clients allowing them to add any of the items on the flyers and the distributors can use the app to provide up-to-date catalog lists of what they have to their convenience store partners.
As Dragana Lazic, general manager at Great Canadian Gifts & Maple Leaf Souvenirs & Cascade Gift Shops, says about the app in a release announcing Tonol’s general availability: “The Tonol app allows you to place orders on the floor with your tablet or phone while checking your store, stockroom, cupboards, and more. It has really made ordering easy.”
A video function also allows suppliers to deepen their relationships with their convenience store partners by being able to keep in touch with them more easily without having to drive to their stores and gives them a way to resolve in real-time any product issues, for example, showing a distributor any damaged goods or expired items for faster replacements and refunds. And it allows for distributor sales teams to reach more of their customers quickly and more often without having to drive to see them all the time.
“There was a lot of fear that this technology would make things impersonal,” Hyde adds. “In fact, the opposite has happened. With the simple click of a button, they can start a video chat and they can then walk around their store and get sales advice from their sales representative on how to display the merchandise more effectively, or to show if a display is broken or not working correctly. If a machine is not working properly in the store, we can now take a video of that machine and immediately send it to a technician who can sometimes diagnose it remotely and or immediately schedule a service visit.”