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E-commerce is a term that is gaining traction in all industries. What may have started as a retail-specific term has evolved into a buzzword related to online buying, booking, purchasing or renting in all industries. The most influential piece of this drastic change is not the industries themselves, but the needs and expectations of their customers as they themselves adapt to an increasingly digital world. The construction industry is included in this. 

At its basic function, e-commerce is meant to simplify the purchasing process for customers and act as a facilitator for business owners to conduct their business in an online space. But online shopping is not always synonymous with easy online shopping. Having e-commerce isn’t the same as having approachable e-commerce. 

To make the mass migration of shopping from brick-and-mortar stores to websites successful, e-commerce must be approachable for both business owners and their customers. This is where the construction industry’s unique position once again comes into play. 

The Unique Nature of Construction

Many e-commerce websites and solutions for businesses were created with retail, vacationers or shopping in mind. The construction industry is unique in that its community members have specific needs, face one-of-a-kind challenges, and have a distinct set of wants and needs when it comes to shopping or renting online. Not to mention that most transactions include high-price purchases of materials or the renting of large machines. It’s on a scale that isn’t seen in other industries.

Until now, the needs of the construction industry – let alone the rental aspects of it – have not been a priority. The development of technology for construction by construction is new, much newer than it should be.

E-commerce only really works if both equipment suppliers, or companies, have the ability to create quality e-commerce experiences for their customers that are still true to their brands. Their customers also need to have confidence in the system, knowing where to go and how to use the online checkout.

The attention to industry needs, the ability to work with preferred accounts and to save and send quotes, all make the shopping needs of the construction industry more complicated than those of any other.
No wonder contractors prefer to buy materials and book equipment over the phone. Nevertheless, the benefits of technological efficiency and productivity won’t let the “norm” continue forever.

Why E-Commerce Is Needed in the Construction Industry

Unfortunately, “business as usual” just isn’t going to be possible anymore. As the entire industry begins embracing digitalization, changes in planning, purchasing and renting processes are going to follow.
It’s a shopping ecosystem where the parties live and feed off each other; as customers’ expectations change and they begin to look online for shopping and for product information, companies will also have to adjust to meet those new expectations.

On the other hand, many construction companies that supply projects and materials – and now even heavy equipment rentals – want to take advantage of the latest technologies and offer an online shopping experience. Once customers begin to be comfortable with the e-commerce options out there for construction, the trend will grow. It’s great for simplifying internal processes, and it can increase efficiencies and reduce business costs. There are a lot of benefits to adapting to new technologies.

What makes approachability in the world of e-commerce so much more challenging for the construction industry is that it’s often last on the list of design and innovation. While the industry has grown a lot with technology, digital software is moving so fast that it can be hard to keep up. It makes these new programs seem intimidating or even scary, and most definitely not approachable. This is especially true when companies try to integrate technology not made for their industry and simply hope to “make it work.”

Approachable E-Commerce: What Is It?

Approachability is a big factor in moving forward with new technologies, especially e-commerce. It manifests itself in two major ways:

- Having the confidence and ability to add e-commerce to your website as a company.
- Being comfortable with the quality of service that your customers will get with the new software.

The biggest challenge with the first point is that e-commerce software involves technological aspects that many regional rental houses and small rental companies don’t have. Up until 2020, there wasn’t an approachable option for the industry. 

That’s why WebStores Powered by DOZR was such a game-changer – it provided a fully integrated white-label e-commerce software solution. The biggest difference was that it was made specifically for the rental industry and addresses all the individual needs of construction equipment rentals. It was designed so that any rental company of any size can use it.

Approachable E-Commerce: Programs Made Specifically for the Industry

The construction industry evolved so quickly over 2020. Changes, technological updates and digitization processes are moving at hyper-speed. Ultimately, this can make it more challenging to keep up with it all. Approachability and confidence in making these changes is more important than ever.

With so much “adaptation,” the creation of programs specifically designed for the rental industry is very valuable. The industry has unique needs and has faced unique challenges in 2020. It’s time for the rental industry to embrace solutions designed specifically for them. The rental industry deserves to enjoy the benefits of approachable software that solves problems without creating more.

Kevin Forestell is CEO and co-founder of DOZR. DOZR provides marketplace and e-commerce solutions for construction equipment rental houses. WebStores Powered by DOZR is a white label e-commerce software for rental companies that can be integrated with their current websites. Learn more and sign up for your free demo of WebStores at dozr.com/products.

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