How an online approach to trading is the future for installers, specifiers and end-users

Chris Goggin of Rinnai looks at how an online and fully digitalised approach to trading is the future for installers, specifiers and end-users:
Today’s world is driven by fingertip operation on a computer, Smartphone, tablet – or even a watch.  ‘Digitalisation’ has interrupted and reset the way all businesses of all sizes operate.

‘Digitalisation’ is simply the integration of digital technologies into all seconds, minutes and hours of everyday life. It dictates, virtually all communications between installers and their customers – and suppliers. If a business chooses not to embrace the opportunities of digitalisation and remains in a state of denial then it is highly likely to be left behind and fall away from competitors. The evidence is here – the rise and rise of online purchasing has already accounted for major names in retailing going into administration and ceasing to trade. Online buying is now across multiple device formats, along with the streamlining of product or service information available to consumer bases.
The world is now digital. Finding the ways of employing and utilising this new digital space is key in maintaining a competitive edge within your sector of plumbing and heating installation and contracting market.
The leading manufacturing companies are creating online contact points, information and support services that are fully digitalised and accessible on any device. Tailoring this information so that it is personalised to target customers, geographically and demographically, is a strong and advanced method of ensuring complete service offerings, in a streamlined and effective way.
And the benefits? Time and cost efficiency dramatically increases in talking to anyone involved in the supply chain. It gives a platform to engage with manufacturers at any time of day and from any site.
For specifiers and consultants who need reliable products and information, engaging with a fully digitalised manufacturer, with integrated BIM shelf and associated sales support as a core competency, will deliver this without question.
For end users, too, this accessibility leads to peace of mind. A digitalisation strategy is, at its core, aiming to ensure the customer is central to company thinking and long-term goals. Competing in the new wider, and online, industry requires the most advanced, personalised and hassle-free offering to the end user in this manner is extremely important.
Brand knowledge and trust now requires transparency and direct accountability, and so Twitter and other social media platforms, are also a key area for engagement and information flow. Social media enables interaction and mediation with emergent groups (even regular online reviews which can be both good and bad!) while enhancing and protecting a reputation.
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