Few organizations are more aware of how technology is affecting the outlook for their business than the Postal Service and your telephone company. For, if they don’t find ways to keep up with change, they’ll all be gone in the next few years. Email, VoIP (Internet telephone) and cell phones, whether we use them or not, are changing the world; and those who don’t get on board are headed in the direction of buggy-whip manufacturers.
The same situation is true for your business. Because, if you haven’t noticed, buying over the Internet is the current direction of our market; and if we aren’t ready to make some drastic revisions in the way that we sell our product, we will soon be overrun by companies that are willing to shift direction with the winds of change. It is interesting that, while the Postal Service is struggling to keep itself afloat, its competitors (FedEx and UPS) are seeing rapid growth because of Internet purchasing. So, you’ll notice that they, too, (the Postal Service) are now advertising their package-shipping services, and they have added the acronym USPS to make themselves look more like the other guys.
So, what must your company do to stay in step in our increasingly digital age?
Well, I’ve mentioned it before in this column, and if your company isn’t already set up for online ordering, you need to get there… QUICKLY! However, notice that this requires more sophistication than in the past, because the companies that are set up with the easiest ordering and fastest shipping methods, and which are taking advantage of the lower business costs of online sales to make themselves more price competitive, will soon garner the lion’s share of the business. And all of this requires your sitting down to take a hard look at your current business model.
Yes, you may currently be doing business quite satisfactorily, but if you aren’t getting ready for change, that may not last.
Aside from changing your Web page and your warehousing structure to meet the online challenge, you really need to look at how you ship your equipment, parts and pieces. True, perhaps most of your wares are currently being picked up at your front desk by technicians, and the longer you can keep it that way, the better. But, why do so many people prefer to buy online? There are three reasons:
1. They want the best price.
2. They want to know if it is available.
3. They know that it is often easier and more cost-effective to have it shipped.
Realize that your customers are becoming increasingly aware of these advantages also. Therefore, perhaps it is time to take a harder look at how your company is set up to do shipping, and at least look at the possibility of your being able to deliver large, local orders quickly. The supply house that can get pieces of equipment to their customer’s technicians while they are on the job will get more of the equipment business. And speaking of QUICKLY; Internet orders require an immediate response and same-day shipment. So, YES! This will require some changes in your business model to be successful.