In addition to everything else, the pandemic has taught us that being flexible in how we’re able to do business helps keep rental businesses (and others!) going. And when we can’t necessarily do business face-to-face, how does it get done? Through e-commerce.
B2C companies today are leading the e-commerce push. Even in the non-electronic medium of junk mail, I get directed to download digital coupons from my grocery store’s app, where I can build my shopping list. Fast-food restaurants provide online ordering, coupons, and rewards. Amazon was at the forefront of e-commerce and, looking at Jeff Bezos’ wealth, it seems to have worked out pretty well for them, too. We’ve hit the point where consumers expect to have e-commerce functionality everywhere they go.
B2B companies have generally been slower to adopt e-commerce features, but ultimately, the businesses we’re renting or selling to are run by…wait for it…people. And because those people are used to the convenience and ease of e-commerce, B2B companies need to provide it as well.
Fortunately, you don’t have to add “website designer,” “database manager,” and “software developer” to your skill set in order to provide your customers with a great e-commerce experience. Rental software companies like Point of Rental take care of your e-commerce needs, allowing you to focus on the parts of the business you love.
Good rental software can integrate with your website to provide accurate availability information and allow customers to request items for certain dates (allowing you to vet them first) or even make reservations and pay for their rental before leaving the site. It gives your customers access to their account information, so they’re not having to call your front counter and interrupting your team. Point of Rental, particularly, is even able to provide website solutions, from hosting to integration after acquiring Rental Hosting earlier this year.
But these blogs aren’t about how amazing Point of Rental is; they’re about the future of rental businesses. So how can rental stores provide their customers with an excellent e-commerce experience?
- Have a credible storefront.
75% of a company’s credibility is based on their website design, according to web credibility research from Stanford University. Take the time to ensure that your website represents you and your brand well and provides the information your customers need, like your location, contact information, your catalog, and so on.
- Empower customers to reserve items online.
Have you ever gone to a store and found what you wanted to buy, but you got to the counter and there was no one there to help you? If your customers can’t reserve their equipment online, you’re leaving them standing at the register.
- Provide key account information to customers.
A great feature within Amazon and other e-commerce sites is the ability to see your order history, manage payment options, etc., all online. In rental, customers want the ability to see their current contracts, invoices, and statements.
All in all, e-commerce is about making transactions easier for your customers and for your business. If your customers can find the answers to their questions on your website, they don’t have a reason to go anywhere else. You’ll get more orders and your team will be free to answer the questions that really require your expertise.