Development of Zoetis Inc.’s mobile app is no pet project, Brad Kuhns, senior manager of e-commerce and customer experience, told attendees at the 2016 Magento Imagine show held in Las Vegas earlier this week.

Since launching a mobile app in May 2013, the manufacturer and distributor of medicine for pets and livestock has grown mobile sales to a “very large percentage” of Zoetis’ revenue, Kuhns says. Mobile sales nearly doubled in 2015 from 2014, he says. Kuhns credits mobile commerce growth to increased uptake of the app among sales reps and customers, as well as to personalized mobile content. He declines to provide any financial information.

Zoetis began its mobile transformation in 2013, after Pfizer spun off Zoetis in an initial public offering worth $2.2 billion. As an independent company, Zoetis prioritized digital investment as a way to efficiently manage its business operations and serve its some 6,000 customers in 120 countries.

As a first step in its digital transformation, Zoetis outfitted 500 U.S. sales reps with iPads loaded with the company’s iOrder mobile application, which allows field sales reps to help customers place orders and view customer information while in the field. Reps can also use the mobile app to view updated information on product availability, pricing and marketing campaigns.

Zoetis recently launched a feature that allows customers to return products through the app. Once a veterinarian keys in a return request on her iPad, a Zoetis customer service rep can view the customer’s order history, confirm purchase of the product and approve the return. Previously, customers had to call, email or fax in return requests to the Zoetis office.

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In 2016, the manufacturer plans to continue adding new features to the iOrder app, including the ability to automatically suggest related items to business buyers before checkout, or suggest items customers may have forgotten to include in their cart. “95% of our orders placed over the phone include a particular item that is a staple for veterinarians. But, only 50% of orders placed over mobile have this item,” Kuhns says. “We’re adding a feature that, when this item is not in the user’s cart, it automatically requests you that to add it in.”

Kuhns hopes these additional features will help drive customer adoption of the iOrder app.

Web design, consulting and development firm Optaros built the app and launched it in May 2013. Perficient, a digital consulting firm, built the links between iOrder and Zoetis’ SAP SE enterprise resource planning, or ERP system, which Zoetis uses to manage inventory, financial records and a customer relationship management system. Zoetis uses technology from Salesforce.com Inc. for its CRM system.

This integration was important because “all our data feeds come from SAP,” Kuhns says. “Pricing history, order history and promotions for a particular customer are all on the app.” This personalized mobile content has driven the number of sales processed through iOrder, as well as freed up Zoetis’ field sales reps’ time. “Reps don’t have to take inbound calls now, maybe they can just operate live chat, focus on setting up new customers, and check their customer’s licenses and credit,” Kuhns says. “The shift to mobile allows field sales reps not to be order takers, but to focus on new sales. This drives cost efficiencies and additional opportunities.”

Sales reps previously called, faxed or emailed in customer orders to reps at Zoetis home office in Florham Park, N.J., he says.

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