Ecommerce is a term that is gaining traction in all industries. What may have started as a retail-specific term has evolved into a buzzword related to online buying, booking, purchasing or renting in all industries. The most influential piece of this drastic change is not the industries themselves, but the needs and expectations of their customers as they themselves adapt to an increasingly digital world. The construction industry is included in this.
Learn more about what ecommerce is, how COVID has changed it and why it’s becoming so popular.
At its basic function, ecommerce is meant to simplify the purchasing process for customers and act as a facilitator for business owners to conduct their business in an online space. But online shopping is not always synonymous with easy online shopping.
Having ecommerce isn’t the same as having approachable ecommerce.
In order for the mass-migration of shopping from brick-and-mortar stores to websites to work, ecommerce must be approachable for both business owners and their customers. This is where the construction industry’s unique position once again comes into play.
Many ecommerce websites and solutions for businesses were created with retail, vacationers or shopping in mind. The construction industry is incredibly unique in that its community members have specific needs, face one-of-a-kind challenges and have a distinct set of wants and needs when it comes to shopping or renting online. Not to mention most transactions include high-price purchases of materials or of renting large machines to projects. It’s a scale that isn’t seen in other industries.
Until now, the needs of the construction industry – let alone the rental aspects of the construction industry – have not been a priority. The development of technology for construction by construction is new. Much newer than it should be.
Ecommerce only really works if both equipment suppliers or companies have the ability to create quality ecommerce experiences for their customers that are still true to their brands. Their customers also need to have confidence in the system while knowing where to go and how to use the online checkout.
The attention to industry-specific needs, the ability to work with preferred accounts and to save and send quotes all make the shopping needs of the construction industry more complicated than any other.
No wonder contractors prefer to buy materials and book equipment over the phone. That being said, the benefits of technological efficiency and productivity won’t let the “norm” continue forever.
Unfortunately “business as usual” just isn’t going to be possible anymore. As the entire industry begins embracing digitalization, changes in the planning, purchasing and renting process are going to follow.
It’s a shopping ecosystem that lives and feeds off each other; As customer expectations change and begin to look online for shopping and for product information, companies will also have to adjust to meet those new expectations.
On the other hand, many construction companies that supply projects and materials – and now even heavy equipment rentals – want to take advantage of the latest technologies and offer an online shopping experience. Once customers begin to be comfortable with the ecommerce options out there for construction, the trend will grow. It’s great for simplifying internal processes, can increase efficiencies and reduce business costs. There are a lot of benefits to adapting to new technologies.
What makes approachability in the world of ecommerce so much more challenging for the construction industry is that it’s often last on the list of design and innovation. While the industry has grown a lot with technology, digital software is moving so fast that it can be hard to keep up. It makes these new programs seem intimidating or even scary – and most definitely not approachable. This is especially true when companies try to integrate technology not made for their industry and attempt to “make it work”.
Approachability is a big factor in moving forward with new technologies, especially ecommerce. It manifests itself in two major ways:
1) having the confidence and ability to add ecommerce to your website as a company and
2) being comfortable in the quality of service that your customers will still get with the new software.
The biggest challenge with the first point is that ecommerce software involves technological aspects that many regional rental houses and small rental companies don’t have. Up until 2020, there wasn’t an approachable option for the industry. That’s why WebStores Powered by DOZR was such a game-changer for the industry – it provided a fully integrated, white labelled ecommerce software solution. The biggest difference was that was made specifically for the rental industry and addresses all the individual needs of construction equipment rentals. It was designed so that any rental company of any size can use it.
“White labelled” refers to software that is created by one company specifically to be used by another. It does not hold the branding or wording from the initial company and is designed to be personalized by whoever is using it. The word comes from the imagery of a product arriving with a blank white label for the initial purchaser to put their own name on it.
By utilizing an ecommerce platform explicitly made for construction equipment rentals you don’t have to compromise anything that makes the construction industry special. Personalize your ecommerce rental store with branding, equipment categories, prices, special accounts and preferred customer rates and company contact information.
You can provide your customers with an online rental experience while still offering the quality service they expect when renting with your business. And you don’t need to know anything about coding, writing programs or building website pages to adapt to the new world of digital technologies.
The construction industry evolved so quickly over 2020. Changes, technological updates and digitization processes are moving at hyperspeed – ultimately it can make it more challenging to keep up with it all. Approachability and confidence in making these changes are more important than ever.
With so much “adaptation”, the creation of programs specifically designed for the rental industry is so valuable. The industry has unique needs and has faced unique challenges in 2020. It’s time for the rental industry to embrace solutions designed specifically for them. The rental industry deserves to enjoy the benefits of approachable software that solves problems without creating more.