The Transition – A Guide to Selling Home Services Online
Whether you’ve committed to transitioning to selling your services online or are just starting your journey into understanding what’s involved, this guide provides guidance on the path ahead.
Understand the Why’s
Before making any move to selling services online, it is good to take an audit of both how a transition to e-commerce can help your business and what you hope to accomplish. Having clarity on the motivation and goals (both short and long term) will help your team prioritize what strategies need to be considered, where operational changes need to begin, and how your team can start to prepare for a “Mixed-Commerce Mindset” – one where homeowners can bundle services, products, and estimates together in one check-out experience.
When you understand the value that selling your services online can provide, it can help you begin to see the benefits, possibilities, and freedom that exist beyond the traditionally clunky estimate request forms.
Involve Your Team
Including your team throughout each stage of the transition to selling services will be critical to its success. Depending on the size of your business, “your team” might simply be a handful of trusted employees who wear many hats OR it could include a larger group that includes leadership, division & branch managers, and/or internal committees who help review new technology and business practices.
Regardless of the size and makeup of your team, it is important that everyone be on the same page and rowing in the same direction. Different stakeholders are responsible for making decisions at different times to ensure the internal mechanics are known and understood.
If helpful, here’s a breakdown of building your transition team and things they might be responsible for deciding.
Identify a Transition Champion
A lot of thoughts and ideas will be flowing once your transition team is built. A successful transition will require clarity of voice and consensus. As such, it is recommended to find an internal point of contact who can champion the project internally and be the single point of contact to communicate questions to the Click to Buy team and get answers from internal resources.
In most cases, Transition Champions are familiar with how the business works and can help connect the dots between departments. As such, individuals who sit in business operations normally run point, however, anyone can be a transition champion so long as the leadership team gives them the authority to create/enforce deadlines and help drive the project home.
Understand the Possibilities
Some of the biggest epiphanies that service companies have when making a transition to e-commerce are related to understanding the possibilities of how services can be estimated, sold, and cross-sold online. To help provide a foundational understanding, step one is digesting the short Click to Buy Guiding Principles and getting your transition team familiar with a the basics.
This familiarity will allow your team to identify quick wins, creative ideas, and start to think through e-commerce opportunities that elegantly align with how your business currently works and others that might require some welcomed adjustments.
With an understanding of what is possible, the Click to Buy Services Onboarding Team can then identify different ways that your services can be set up, packaged, and bundled to find that happy place for a successful launch. It’s also important to reiterate here that a transition is a journey – not necessarily a destination – so your happy place might be starting small with 1 or 2 services to test the waters, before diving in with all services, departments, and/or branches. One of the beautiful parts of the Click to Buy Services shopping cart is that all services start with smart estimate requests and then expand, where appropriate, to offering estimation and purchase.
Build Out & Approval
The Click to Buy Services Onboarding team will complete and test an initial build-out of your shopping cart experience. Here we apply your brand, connect your payment processing, build out the service categories, services, e-commerce experience(s) and review everything to ensure that a quality experience is delivered, keeping friction low and the customer experience high. Then what?
After initial discussions, planning, and build-out, your team will have the opportunity to review and test the experience before anything goes live. The development of your Click to Buy Services experience will be completed in parallel to your current site so no leads will be lost as the experience is being developed. All of this happens on the Click to Buy Services server so your team doesn’t have to worry about additional hosting, support, and security – Click to Buy’s infrastructure is fully managed so you can focus on your business.
When the review server is provided to your Transition Champion, it is important to quickly identify and communicate any issues as it will help expedite getting to launch.
Launch and Learn
To launch your new Click to Buy Services experience, it is dead simple. Simply relink any navigation, buttons, or links on your website to point to your shopping cart location. A URL will be provided to you by the Onboarding team and if needed, in most cases they can assist with the relinking for an additional cost.
One option for connecting your website to your Click to Buy shopping car is to send website visitors to your Click to Buy Services city page where they see all of the services and service categories offered. This allows homeowners to view, and potentially get exposure to all of the home services provided and increase awareness to (and the purchase of) all that your business offers.
The other option is to utilize Click to Buy’s smart linking technology to direct a customers interested in a specific service (i.e. mosquito fogging, lawn fertilization, etc) directly to that service and it auto selected. In some cases, this approach could reduce the question and clicks.
Launch day is here. Now what?
Once your Click to Buy Services experience is online it’s time to let it breathe.
That’s right, take a break and let the learning begin. It is critically important that the Transition team and your organization has time to get comfortable with the new processes, emails, orders, and mixed commerce experience. Overwhelming them with too much too soon can be problematic and a barrier to internal adoption and creativity.
Taking some time to assess how things are working will help your team understand where customers have feedback/challenges, how pricing and payment terms are being accepted, where scheduling buffers need to be tweaked, and more.
This is the foundational step that all future expansion and experimentation will stem from so take some time and learn. Similar to the shopping cart setup, the Transition Champion should continue to communicate internally to ensure everything is working as planned and, if not, communicate any issues or desired changes.
Refine and Expand
Once your team feels comfortable with the new system and e-commerce features, it’s time to expand and experiment. Iterate and refine. Adopt and adapt. Rinse and repeat.
Some areas to play with include:
- “Productizing” single service offerings. What are the most frequently requested services for each service line?
- Breaking complex services into smaller touchpoints/buying opportunities.
- Expand your offerings with options that let homeowners buy different amounts, pay with different terms, and save when bundling services together;
- Connect the dots by offering add-ons services to promote new or correlated services;
- Try something new!
Increase Marketing & Promotion
When confidence in the refined e-commerce experience, services offerings, operational execution, and financial benefits has increased and your team doesn’t remember what life was like before your customers could “click to buy services”, it’s time to hit the gas and accelerate your marketing activities.
The main goal here should be to include an option to buy online for as many services as possible and drive homeowners as much as possible to buy vs request an estimate. An example would be to provide a discount when a user buys online. Again there should be some savings from a reduced sales commission, so the discounts should result in lost revenue.
It is important to remember that adjusting the way you connect with your customers and how they want to buy from you is a journey, not a destination.
Be patient. It might be smooth sailing or take some time to get it exactly right. Be open to learning and don’t be too hard on yourself or your team if it’s not perfectly perfect on day 1.
The faster you start to learn, adapt, and get the “new” behind you, the sooner your team can begin to think creatively to build deeper relationships, recurring revenue, and freedom.