Bulq.com says it’s processing more than five times as much in sales on its new mobile apps compared with its desktop e-commerce site.

Bulq.com, a business-to-business marketplace for liquidated merchandise, is cashing in on mobile commerce.

Once people use the app they kind of don’t go back to desktop.
Larisa Summers, senior vice president, e-commerce
Optoro Inc.

Revenue is up 457% on its iPhone app, launched last year, over its desktop e-commerce site. A two-week-old Android app is generating similar gains so far, senior vice president of e-commerce Larisa Summers says.

“Over half our shoppers are mobile at this point,” she says. “Once people use the app they kind of don’t go back to desktop.”

Larisa Summers, senior vice president, e-commerce, Optoro Inc.

Already 93% of Bulq.com customers—including part-time sellers on eBay.com and mom-and-pop discount retailers nationwide—are repeat users of the apps. Summers attributes this success to Bulq’s policy of allowing customers to set up preferences for mobile notifications that alert them as soon as the inventory they are seeking becomes available. That enables them to immediately place an order, Summers says. This is proving easier for customers than the desktop equivalent, which requires checking their e-mails for notifications about available inventory, she adds.

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Bulq.com posts new inventory to its marketplace twice a day. The e-marketplace, which connects buyers with large retailers selling bulk quantities of overstock, open-box and refurbished inventory, is owned and operated by Optoro Inc., a technology company that helps retailers sell excess inventory to business buyers and consumers. Inventory on Bulq.com is sourced from large retailers including Best Buy Co. Inc., Target Inc. and The Home Depot Inc.

Bulq’s in-house team of software developers build both the Apple and Android versions of the app, which has made it easy for the company to continue tweaking and optimizing the apps, Summers says. The team regularly speaks with customers and updates the app accordingly. For example, during two recent trade shows, they learned that customers want more granular control of the inventory they are tracking, such as being able to request specific products by brand names, SKUs or bar codes, Summers says. Bulq is now building out that capability.

As the marketplace adds more options for ordering in bulk—shoppers can already order by the case or the pallet, but Bulq.com is adding even larger sizes for resellers with their own warehouses—mobile shoppers will need to view displays of information different from what Bulq shows to desktop users. Bulq will learn how mobile shoppers want to view such data as volume pricing and inventory availability, and tweak its mobile displays accordingly. “If they’re on the go, making quick decisions with such large volumes of inventory, they might need more or less of certain data,” she says. “On desktop, you have a different experience and different needs.”

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 Amy Dusto is a Chicago-based freelance writer.

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