Manufacturer Looks To iPhone To Help Boost Sales

Haworth, a $1.65 billion maker of office furniture, built an iPhone app and used Facebook and Twitter to drive customers into its showrooms.
The recession has impacted Haworth's sales -- they were flat last year at $1.65 billion -- so utilizing new marketing channels is essential. Other companies that have deployed iPhone apps to boost sales in a tough economy include Pizza Hut, Kraft, and Whole Foods.

The iPhone likely won't be the only device Haworth will use for a customer-facing app, Harten said. The most widely used device among employees is Research In Motion's Blackberry, which is being considered for a Spaces-type app, as is the Windows Mobile platform. Haworth considers itself "mobile device agnostic," Harten said.

Haworth salespeople use an Oracle/Siebel CRM app that runs on the Blackberry. Still, some employees use iPhones, and Haworth is also considering device-agnostic apps that link into SAP Business Suite, which Haworth recently standardized on for business operations.

The furniture company is considering mobile applications that assist personnel with product installations; that help those installers communicate with its factory; and that help factory personnel work more efficiently. Harten said her staff is also looking to develop mobile user interfaces that let employees do their jobs without having to navigate a standard SAP screen.

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