Every day, you see the challenges your HVAC contractors are up against. Intense competition. Unpredictable hours. Even more unpredictable weather. On top of that, a pandemic that makes managing this essential business even more complicated, and a lot riskier.
In this challenging environment, you can gain a real competitive advantage by using smart lockers for Will Call pickup. Customers get what they need, when they need it, while distributors enjoy greater efficiency in operations, all while providing more hours available for the technical support and expertise that customers rely on.
Here are four ways you can use smart lockers to support your customer’s business, while growing and optimizing your own.
- Give them fast, secure and contactless order pickup, 24/7/365
- Make large order pickup fast and convenient, too
- Increase your team’s efficiency and enhance service
- Optimize your eCommerce strategy and leverage new data insights
1. Give them fast, secure and contactless order pickup, 24/7/365
Smart locker solutions give busy customers self-serve Will Call pickup on their own schedule, which helps keep both your employees and your customers safer. Other valuable benefits for you and your customers include:
- Through text and/or email, the customer knows exactly when their order is ready
- They can skip the line at the service counter – reducing counter congestion & wait times
- If placed outdoors or in a vestibule, customers can access their orders 24/7/365
- After-hours customers know their order will be secure, not hidden outside
- Enhanced customer satisfaction and loyalty
As described by Ben Callahan, manager of e-commerce marketing for Johnstone Supply in Denver: “On the contractor side, when they can pull in, grab their parts and pieces and go fix their customers issues a lot faster, it’s going to help them increase their bandwidth”.
2. Make large order pickup fast and convenient, too
For greater versatility, it’s a good idea to choose a pickup solution that can accommodate large and bulky orders – both in terms of compartment size and the ability to place a large order in more than one compartment. Solutions that can accommodate pallets and other large items will help you to include large special or emergency orders. They’re also ideal for orders with multiple components or courier pickups that may include four or five separate orders at the same time.
For a quick example of a large pickup, check out this video from Distributor Corp of New England, they show contractors just how easy it can be to still have contactless will-call pickup for larger orders!
3. Increase your team’s efficiency and enhance service
For every customer who picks up at a locker, it takes one customer out of the Will Call counter line. It reduces the pressure on your employees as well, as queue lines build with a mix of order pickups and service needs – especially during peak hours – the experience may be rushed or stressful. The outcome is more quality sales and training time with customers and associates.
4. Optimize your eCommerce strategy with data insights
The smart lockers deliver new data insights about your will-call process, often revealing opportunities for growth or revealing areas that need improvement, such as:
- Order and pickup activity by days, weeks or months
- The time it takes to deliver orders to lockers
- Order dwell time, i.e. time it takes for orders to be picked up
- Your busiest day(s) and hours of day for pickup
- Number of orders picked up after-hours/weekends
Integrating the locker software with your CRM system to create a seamless, connected experience for your customers and associates can take your automated pickup solution to even greater heights. Your provider should be able to provide best practices, data insights, and simple integration tools to achieve your ultimate goals.
Make smarter Will Call work for you and your customers
As you investigate smart locker solutions for Will Call, it’s important to select a provider who can partner with you and provide the support to ensure a successful implementation and launch. Above all, look for a provider with the breadth of experience to coach you through using that data and help optimize your locker solution for current and future needs.
For many HVAC distributors, sales have remained solid or growing this year, largely due to continuing investments in technology, simplifying the customer experience, and enriching the quality of life for their associates. A smart locker solution helps to move the needle on all of those measurements.
Cari Palmer is the B2B Solutions Manager for Apex Supply Chain Technologies in Mason, Ohio. You can see her HARDI Hub presentation or visit ApexSupplyChain.com for more information about Will Call order pickup solutions.