Online ordering is standard practice now. We can order our groceries, mattresses, and even midnight ice-cream all to delivered straight to our door. This type of easy ordering is not restricted to our personal lives. Online ordering for business accounts for 13% of all B2B sales within the United States, while the 2016 DHL Export Barometer shows that 40 per cent of Aussie B2B companies say their online sales have increased over the past 12 months.
For the growing hire industry, take up of this technology will result in faster turnaround and greater service, especially when considering spare parts. If we look at what trends are driving this online marketplace as well as the benefits associated with ordering parts online we will see that the hire industry is perfectly positioned to enhance their own performance.
Danny Lacey from Direct Equipment comments on how they are using online tool easyspareparts.com to order regularly and the benefits of using such a system.
“It is the best online ordering facility offered by any Manufacturer resulting in instant saving for both supplier and customer through innovation! The benefit of Easyspareparts.com is knowing price and availability immediately without having to ring spare parts, but they are always willing to assist if needed”. Said Mr Lacey.
What is driving this?
Online marketplaces experienced record year-on-year growth of 74.8% from 2016-17, and the retail industry is now in the era of ‘New Retail”, where consumers have multiple experiences with a brand across a number of different channels, Australia Post’s annual Inside Australian Online Shopping report has revealed.
We as consumers are shifting our buying behaviours as the technology expands to make it easier to access real time information about products. We now have more choice than ever when it comes to stores, marketplaces and products, all delivered straight to where you need it.
As high internet users Australians and New Zealanders are increasingly connected at all times with 85% of Aussies aged 15 and above accessing the internet according to the ABS. In parallel with an average of more than 6 screens per household there are multiple ways to access online shopping. “Each year, shoppers are becoming much more comfortable buying online from a mobile device, with a 58% year-on-year increase in 2017,” the Australia Post report indicates. “This is probably due to convenience, improved functionality of mobile websites, and increasing familiarity and confidence in security.”
How does this apply to the rental industry? Sure new machines and equipment are not an easy to purchase low value commodity that can just be added to your online basket, but think about the last time it needed a new battery, or joystick, or manual? How did you order these items, did you call your supplier or did you visit their website to order the parts? Access is better than ever before, and with so many benefits, online ordering is the easiest and simplest way to get your spare parts.
Visibility of stock
Online shopping gives the ability to view at the time of purchase what stock is available. Take for example easyspareparts.com from Haulotte, which offers full visibility of each item and whether it is in stock or needs to be ordered in. This sort of feature is essential for planning of servicing and downtime of machines.
“Even if an item is not in stock you can still place the order and the part will be delivered when it is available. It means you can place all your parts orders in one go and know that they will be dispatched once available”, says Parts Manager for Haulotte, Damian Dickson.
The main benefit of online shopping is the ability to hunt around for the best possible price, at a time that is convenient for you. Online portals like easyspareparts.com have taken this one step further by offering a 2.5% discount on orders placed online versus ordering via the phone or in person. With the average easyspareparts order each month in Australia of $450, that’s a saving of $11.25 every order. That’s over $135 back in your pocket each year just for ordering online.
Another significant benefit of online ordering is the ability to track your order from placement through to delivery. This allows you to plan your machine availability and repairs based on when the part is scheduled to arrive. Some systems like easyspareparts.com offer the ability to ship all items together to save on freight costs or to send each part as it becomes available. This means that any urgent parts required can be dispatched as soon as they are available and other items can be sent via the most economical method as they become available.
Ease of use
The biggest hurdle for converting to online purchases is usually fear of technology or of the unknown. However developments and improvements are made everyday to these online platforms to make them user friendly and reliable.
In a recent competition held, easyspareparts.com users were asked what they saw as the benefits of the online tool. Over 30% of entries cited that ease of use was one of the main benefits of the system. The winner of the trip to France Jason McAllister from LiftX in NZ went on to describe the website and why his company are using it more often.
“It is so easy to use, just log in and I can search for whichever part I need. It’s great, I get visibility of what parts are available and how much they cost. I can trust the parts will be sent directly to me as soon as they are available. It is definitely the easiest tool around for ordering anything from parts, to manuals for any type of equipment, says Jason McAllister LiftX General Manager.
The competition which ran for two months saw over 50 entries with users looking to win a trip for two to France.
“We were really impressed with not only the number of entries but the quality of the answers. It is the first time we have run such a competition and it was encouraging to see a lot of submissions mentioned that it is the best online ordering tool of any manufacturer” said Damian Dickson.
“We want people to see the benefits of these types of tools for ordering as we get cost efficiencies by tapping into the global network of parts. The system is backed up by a local parts team dedicated to helping with any enquiries and ensuring parts are dispatched in a timely and efficient method”, adds Mr Dickson.