The Upvc Spares 4 Repairs side of Gardinia has been selling Upvc repair parts world wide via the internet for over 11 years now. Today we’re looking back on how our customers shopping habits have changed, thanks to the smartphone.
Over the last decade the smartphone has drastically changed how we are able to both sell and support our customers, not just in the UK, however all over the globe.
For some context our Spares 4 Repairs site started life on February 2nd 2007 when the domain name was registered. That’s over 9 months before the first iPhone launched in the UK and changed the public’s expectations about what a smartphone could do.
Back then mobile shopping wasn’t practical. Although some of the high end smartphones of the time such as the Nokia N95 had web browsers capable of loading websites targeted at desktop computers, the browsing experience wasn’t always great. Having to zoom in on different parts of the screen to read text made shopping far from ideal, in addition screens were so small viewing any sort of technical diagrams wasn’t at all practical.
Also mobile data back then was also extremely expensive, I remember having 1mb of data (yes that’s megabyte not gigabyte / 1024mb!), if i used more than that I was charged £1 per mb. Needless to say apart from browsing to specially designed WAP websites which mostly consisted of just text or using MSN Messenger to chat with friends, the mobile internet wasn’t really viable for shopping in the early days.
For our trade customers, making a purchase when out on site was just a dream back then.
Today however our customers are doing just that. We were the first company out of our competitors to launch a responsive website. This means our online store would adapt to the size of the screen the customer was browsing on, so no matter what phone the customer had, they would easily be able to make a purchase when out and about.
For our trade customers this makes it possible to see our trade prices instantly, pricing the repair job for the customer without having to leave site, finally placing the order before driving away from site. The end result is lots of time can be saved without even having to return to the office to order.
In addition thanks to smartphones becoming the norm we have much better ways of supporting our customers with technical problems.
Spares4Repairs have offered technical support via WhatsApp for quite a few years now. This allows our customers to send high quality photos and HD video to us free of charge, no matter where in the world they might reside. Our technical team can then easily identify a replacement for the problematic part and send the customer a link to the part required to undertake the repair.
Due to the technical nature of our products, photos or videos can often speak a 1000 words.
Offering WhatsApp has been a great success, before WhatsApp was as mainstream as it is today we used to get a few enquiries a week on it. Now we are getting a similar number every hour!
We only expect this trend to continue as good smartphones are getting cheaper and cheaper smartphones are getting good.
Its easy to understand why the smartphone is changing customers online shopping habits in general, even more so for companies dealing with technical repair products.