Winning online in a digital world
By Ashleigh Petersen Kevin Forestell
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Winning online in a digital world

Ecommerce and virtual experiences are new standards

There’s no doubt that the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has sped up the digitization process within the construction industry. What started off as the slow adaptation of going paperless and integrating online tools has evolved into a bullet-train of technological advancement that is driving the equipment and event rental industry forward.

Ecommerce rentals, meeting customers in an online space and providing a virtual experience for renters is the new standard. So, how do you win online as a rental company in today’s digital world?

Why one isn’t enough. Having a website isn’t enough to win customers over and secure the rentals you need. Companies compete for online space the same way they used to for front-page ads in the Yellow Pages. Only having a website does two things:

1) It limits how customers can find you online.

2) It reduces the actions that customers can take when — and if — they do find you.

The challenge is in diversifying your online presence in a purposeful way that is still true to your business and brand. Today, there are many tools and strategies that can help with this.

How today’s digital marketing tools fit together. Websites should not be looked at as the end-all of a company’s business. Instead, they should act as the center of a company’s digital footprint. This footprint can grow to be yeti-size with the right type of strategy.

The biggest difference between being online and having a digital strategy is the purpose and action taken by your company to connect with new customers. This is where things like a social media presence, content marketing and blogs, search engine optimization (SEO), ecommerce and rental marketplaces, and paid advertisements shine.

Social media, content marketing, SEO and paid ads can help grab a customer’s attention and help to grow your digital footprint. Being exposed to a company and brand in multiple ways is what grows brand trust. By having a website center that connects to your content, blog and social media, customers have options on how to interact with your brand once they find you. They can choose whatever works best for them.

This is why one isn’t enough. Digitization has simplified many processes, but customer expectations are still high. This is why the strategy behind digitization is so important. Value is created by connecting the attention-grabbing tactics with purpose. Being online for the sake of being online could do more harm than good. Empty social media accounts or posting one blog every few months isn’t going to have the positive effect you’re looking for. Complex strategies aren’t necessary, but ones that you can follow and stick to are.

Diversification is key when it comes to growing your business in the digital age. It’s the one instance where less actually isn’t more — if you can do it well.

New expectations from old customers. There may be hesitancy when it comes to digital strategy in the construction industry, let alone for construction equipment rentals. While the construction industry is notorious for being unique with specific needs and renting habits, it is not immune to the mass migration to digital processes. In fact, contractor expectations have already begun to change when it comes to buying materials and searching for equipment rentals online. There’s a reason that ecommerce already is being discussed as the biggest upcoming trend for the construction industry in 2021.

How ecommerce fits into it all. Ecommerce is a buzzword that you can’t escape — and you shouldn’t be trying to. Ecommerce — or electronic commerce — is the process of viewing products and purchasing or renting them online. In a span of seven days, from March 23 to March 30, 2020, ecommerce marketplaces saw a 14 percent increase in volume. This growth will continue. According to an article published by Forbes, it is estimated that by 2026 online retail will take over 25 percent of the market share. In the equipment rental industry, ecommerce signifies an exciting opportunity to lead the charge of technological advancement in a way that’s never been done before.

For contractors, the ability to engage with rental companies they trust online is the expectation. Ecommerce is what allows those same contractors to view equipment, compare prices and rent online. It signifies a new expectation on how rentals should work for the entire industry.

Ecommerce is the cherry-on-top for contractors. When paired with a digital strategy that incorporates social media, SEO, paid ads and content, ecommerce will grow the footprint of rental companies in a way never seen before. For rental companies, it’s the latest and greatest way to set yourself apart from other businesses in the industry while simplifying the rental process in the backend for your employees.

Having a multichannel digital strategy will help you win. By providing customers — current and potential — with more ways to find and interact with your company online, you can build brand trust, develop loyalty and meet their new standards created by an increasingly digital world. Take advantage of all the digital marketing tools out there such as SEO, paid ads, content marketing and social media to help grow your digital footprint. Going one step further by embracing rental ecommerce software will offer contractors a unique rental experience and win them over for all of their rentals in the future. That is how you win.

Kevin Forestell is CEO and co-founder of DOZR. DOZR provides marketplace and ecommerce solutions for construction equipment rental companies. WebStores Powered by DOZR is a white-labelled ecommerce software for rental companies that can integrate with their current websites. You can learn more and sign up for a free demo of WebStores at dozr.com/products.

Ashleigh Petersen

Ashleigh PetersenAshleigh Petersen

Ashleigh Petersen is the digital communications manager for Rental Management. She writes news and feature articles, plus coordinates the monthly Safety Issue and several sections in the magazine. Ashleigh loves spending time with her husband and young son, baking, gardening and listening to true crime and comedy podcasts.

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