TriGlobal’s Sales and Marketing Manager, Brielle Jones, participated in an interview for the September edition of the PAIMA Report. In this interview, she gives her perspective on how moving companies can adapt to the changes in the world, how to stay on top of market trends, and the most recent TriGlobal developments.
Recently, we launched a conversion toolbox. It helps movers convert more clients by improving design elements on their own websites. Currently, three tools are available, which include a volume calculator, a price estimator, and a contact form. All of them help to increase website conversion rates. We use the same tools on our own websites, which are the result of over 17 years of data analysis as to how customers behave online. For a monthly fee, you get the most up-to-date versions, supported by live statistics and feedback from our team of online marketing experts.
Currently, we are focused on increasing the volume accuracy and information captured in the leads. The better the accuracy, the easier and quicker movers can quote. The emphasis comes from the divide we see between consumer expectations and mover deliverables, notably the speed of a quote. If we can simplify and speed up the quoting process, consumers get better and quicker information, which ultimately increases the chances of them booking a move with that moving company.
Cash flow, or a lack thereof, is a key factor that sets movers apart from one another now. Even though the world is still moving (albeit the pandemic), it is hard to plan ahead, especially in terms of future investments. Movers with a financial buffer can take risks and invest into evolving their business, not only to temporarily adapt to the pandemic, but also to the next generation of consumers. Movers in a less luxurious position are left clinging to old processes, limited technology, and a declining client pool.
Inefficiency is a huge factor that we need to tackle as an industry! We take inspiration from this at TriGlobal, and our products are focused specifically on the principle of efficiency – same or less input, greater output. An example of efficiency that has been embraced by many movers recently is a digital survey, instead of a physical home survey. A digital survey usually takes under an hour, does not require a vehicle or a driver on the road, it can be done from anywhere around the world and the supporting technology registers the input in real-time. Sending a quote at the end is then only a click away. These advantages often outweigh less personal contact when you can make a more sustainable margin. Being critical of your efficiency is almost guaranteed to increase your margin, but as a result, will also mean changing many of your internal processes.
Millennials have entered the housing market. They bring with them new expectations, new ways, and new technology. A classic example of this, which we can see from our own statistics, is the use of mobile phones compared to desktop computers. We see a large increase of website users (not limited to millennials by the way) that do a quote request from a mobile phone and not their desktop computer. Hence, we cannot say it enough - make sure your website and quote form are compatible, optimized, and easy to use from a mobile phone!
The second major thing that stands out to me is how customers perceive a move. In most cases, it is simply a commodity in their eyes. With the internet driving the way we do business, from a customer perspective, a move is just like any other online service, like booking an overseas holiday or shopping online to furnish their new home. Now, I hear you saying, “this is bullS#!t, moving isn’t a commodity”, and perhaps you are right. However, the customer does not know (and dare I say, does not care) about all the intricate complexities customs impinge on movers, nor the fact that multiple parties will have to handle their personal effects as it travels around the world. In their opinion, every other service can be done through an app and at the click of a button, so why not a move? We call this the ‘Amazon effect’: order today, receive it tomorrow. And they expect their move to work in the same way. The absence of instant pricing emphasises this divide between customers and movers. The moving industry is one of the only industries that still does not provide an instant price, which in my opinion, is the way forward.
BE AGILE – It is a buzzword for a reason, and notably one of our core values at TriGlobal. Basically, it is a mindset whereby nothing is ‘fixed’. It ensures that you operate based on the concept of adding value to your business, receiving data feedback, and then adjusting in small increments to keep increasing that value. When you combine an agile attitude with your core competencies, you can constantly evolve without feeling like you must revolutionize your business suddenly to survive.
Easier said than done, I know. Take building a new website for example. The non-agile way would be to define your goal, let’s say, to attract 100,000 visitors by the end of the year. Your designer quotes 30,000 euro for the job and says it will be ready to launch after 3 months. In this way, your website would have added no value to your business whilst it was being built, plus it would be built in its entirety, based on your original idea without feedback moments to learn what customers really want.
The agile approach would be to only build the home page and contact form, then go live after the first month, without any other pages. Sounds crazy right? From doing this, you can already get a couple of bookings, you also get data feedback that some of your products attract much more business than others. So, before building the other pages, you tweak the home page to show off the most attractive products, and now you have feedback on which pages to build next.
Agile is a scary place to work in because you cannot rely on what you know, but rather, on what you do not know. Often it feels like nothing is finished, and that you are constantly double-checking yourself as to whether it is the right way to go. Doubts aside, agile keeps us sharp and able to respond to changing environments, which is certainly what the moving industry could benefit from right now.
Moving companies are being forced to question their identity and face the facts that the industry is becoming fragmented. In my opinion, this fragmentation is a result of inefficiency. Pieces of the sales pipeline will keep disappearing and going to companies that are more agile and more efficient. We already see this in areas like reservations, surveying, online marketing, admin, and warehousing. Movers will need to adapt to this.
My advice is to focus on what you are good at and make the most margin in that area, then proactively seek out other companies that are stronger in those other competency areas. This way, you still have control over your core business, and can collaborate with trusted partners. If you can still provide a service you believe in, then you are still able to sustainably contribute and benefit from our industry. A much better outcome than going bust in my opinion.
I foresee the moving industry becoming a lot like the travel industry, with four main suppliers – RMC’s, consolidated moving groups, platforms, and niche operators. Major moving groups will get stronger and rely on the strength of their members and their individual brands to generate business. RMC’s will continue to thrive, mainly because they do business from a consumer point of view by overseeing the whole customer journey with the support of the latest technology. Some high-end, niche operators will operate independently, but with a much more concentrated part of the market such as pets, art, and high-end moves. The rest will be supplied by platforms that offer quick and transparent information for customers searching for a commodity that suits their needs and matched with an array of movers who best fit the job.
It depends on what you see as a threat. I think the divide between the initial phases of the ‘customer journey' and the actual ‘physical move’ is going to increase. RMC’s have already shown us that this is possible. I think that platforms are a likely contender to take over the ‘contact’ part of the customer journey, as they offer what consumers want (such as an instant price) and are not preoccupied with the challenges that movers face. Platforms and technology companies focus on what is not working (i.e. inefficiencies), rather than what is going well, and build solutions to fill these gaps. If we consider the likes of Uber or Amazon, they also come with considerable financial backing to see it through. This could be a threat for movers, but also an opportunity to adapt and really focus on what they are specialized in moving. People will always move, so the pivotal question is: how much of the supply chain do you want to directly control, and how much will it cost your margin to do so?
Disruption is what our industry needs to survive and is often seen as a negative word, but I see it as a ‘necessary discomfort’. We at TriGlobal are often labeled as a ‘disruptor’, and it has taken me a while to be proud of that. In fact, I do not think we really disrupt enough for the industry to evolve fast enough with what consumers are expecting. Without a doubt, instant pricing will be a ‘disruption’ to moving companies, and merely fill a necessary void for tomorrow’s customers.
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