Let’s strike B2B and B2C from our vocabularies

“The most damaging phrase in the language is: It’s always been done this way.” — Grace Hopper, Computer Scientist and US Navy Rear Admiral

Looking back over the last 10-15 years, business people transacting with other businesses simply had lower expectations than what they experienced as consumers. During the 9-5 workweek, transactions were done over the phone and in person. Documents were faxed and sent back and forth over a several-week period. Forget one-click digital transactions. The process wasn’t smooth, but this was work, right?

On weekends, these same business people would click two buttons and order Amazon packages delivered to their doorstep. If the package was (God forbid) delivered in three days, instead of two — it was time for a Twitter tweet-storm at the company.

Why is it that these same people had vastly different expectations for B2B transactions at work than their own B2C transactions at home?

Well, that’s changing. Research from Deloitte Digital indicates that 34% of buyers are more likely to buy from companies that master customer experience than from those that do not. Even more, 80% of B2B buyers now expect real-time interaction. Expectations for business transactions now equal expectations for consumer transactions and companies that don’t acknowledge that will be left behind.

In rental, that means companies need to enable their business to accept rental requests 24/7. Renters want to sign digital agreements, pay their invoices, and manage their rentals on their time — not when your sales reps happen to be available.

To achieve this, rental companies need to lean into online reservations and offer self-serve rental transactions. Online transactions aren’t right for 100% of customers, but there is a growing population who wants and expects to engage with your rental store digitally. 

What got you here, won’t get you there.  It’s now time to strike the terms B2B and B2C from our vocabularies.

Source: https://deloitte.wsj.com/cmo/2021/03/15/close-the-expectation-gap-with-b2b-customers/

Source: https://www.convinceandconvert.com/online-customer-experience/buyers-expect-real-time-interaction/

A decade of e-commerce growth in 8 weeks — what’s next?

“There are decades when nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.”

How is this quote from over 100 years ago, now relevant to e-commerce technology in the rental industry?

This theme has been playing out in e-commerce trends right before our eyes for the past few decades. E-commerce first started making meaningful headway in 2000, when Amazon and other upstart companies, started making inroads with 1% of retail sales happening over the internet.

us ecommerce penetration

Source: Bank of America U.S. Department of Commerce, ShawSpring Research, 2020

Since then, e-commerce sales grew linearly with 16% of retail transactions occurring digitally at the start of 2020. Then the pandemic happened. In just 8 weeks between March – April 2020, that number almost doubled to 27%. That’s a decade of e-commerce growth in just eight weeks. And we aren’t going back.

Consumer habits are fundamentally different and renters are expecting the same from their rental companies. Once the barrier of setting up the online account, getting used to the functionality, etc. is met, new habits are formed. Consumers now expect to rent equipment online the same way they expect to order food from DoorDash, order a cab from Uber, and book plane tickets from delta.com. The Covid pandemic will ultimately accelerate history rather than re-shape it. Is your rental company ready for the surge in e-commerce rental transactions?

Source: Post Corona: From Crisis to Opportunity