With 4th Quarter Looming, Person-to-Person Contact Down, Positivity Up for Some
As 2020 moves along, budgets tighten and operations change, SCL is seeing a major shift in the way our customers operate and the trends they’re experiencing in business. From automotive to construction, here are eight patterns in industries across the board our team of experts has identified as we approach the 4th quarter.
“CONTACTLESS” A NEW KEY TERM
COVID-19 has driven a desire for contactless payments and less interaction to new heights. According to Leon Buck, Vice President for Government Relations, Banking and Financial Services for the National Retail Federation (NRD), “while mobile payments and contactless cards have accounted for a minority of payments in the past, the pandemic has clearly driven consumers to change their behavior and retailers to accelerate their adoption of the technology.” Beyond customer interactions, the same concept behind contactless interactions has also led companies to explore digital vendor payment options versus physical checks through mail. Apps have also increased in popularity among drivers and operators at fuel stations as a way to limit contact.
PRE-OWNED CAR SALES ARE RISING
As predicted by Edmunds at the start of the pandemic, used car sales have increased as consumers veer toward pre-owned vehicles to save money. Low-interest rates and a low inventory of new vehicles due to factory closures have also pushed customers toward the used market, according to Business Insider. In addition to finding new ways to source inventory, automotive dealerships and service departments should explore packages, extended warranties, and other efforts to hold on to pre-owned customers post purchase.
As customers continue to re-emerge in the market, appointments have become the preferred mode of operation, especially in automotive. Whether scheduling service or test drives for new vehicles, customers have increasingly moved toward making plans before dropping in. This means exploring scheduling software and enhanced email communications with customers – in automotive and beyond – to keep lines of communication open and ensure everyone feels safest while shopping.
REMOTE WORK BOOSTS SUBSCRIPTION SERVICES
For companies across multiple spectrums nationwide, remote work is now the norm. With that shift, more companies are turning to SaaS (or subscription-based technological) offerings that allow teams to work seamlessly together – like those for video conferencing, document sharing and other communication tools. In companies where employees are spread across counties or regions – like trucking, automotive or shipping – tools like Docusign, Shift4Payments and Zoom can help bridge the distance.
CONSTRUCTION IS UP
Thanks to low interest rates, a rise in home-equity loans and home equity lines of credit (HELOCs), construction has gotten a boost in the residential market to go along with the boom in road projects that have taken place since the start of COVID-19. At the start of the year, for example, July was supposed to host the start of 18 new road projects throughout California. Thanks to a drastic reduction in traffic that came with the pandemic, many of those projects were wrapped up by April.
LOW-INTEREST LINES OF CREDIT
Low-interest rates have also inspired companies to seek lines of credit, as people are refinancing to take advantage. Even auto customers, which have been refinancing in an effort to free up some cash month to month, are taking another look at their loans. “With lower rates available right now, car owners are looking for ways to save money on their monthly expenses and increase their cash flow,” said Jill Faucher, vice president of marketing at Wheelhouse Credit Union.
MORE EMPHASIS ON SERVICE
Despite less traffic and fewer people on the roads, service lanes have continued to hold up automotive dealerships and keep the doors of small shops open. Now, in addition to answering the demand that comes with higher used car sales, service departments are doing the job of filling pre-owned inventory as well. Look to more cross-department cooperation in all industry sectors as business do their best to dig out of 2020.
REDUCED FORMALITY ALL AROUND
Video communication and the mix of home and work have led to reduced formality all around. As the world dresses down and we’re given a more personal look into the lives of who we’re doing business with, it’s a great time to focus on customer service. Using the decrease in formality to establish deeper relationships with customers can do much to establish loyalty in an uncertain time.
Contact an SCL Consultant today
In a wide range of automotive, industrial and commercial sectors, SCL remains steadfast on its commitment to product and industry knowledge, performance satisfaction and superior logistics. We protect and optimize the machines that keep our country moving. For more information on how we help can help with services including bulk purchasing or managing inventory, contact an SCL expert today.