Our industry, especially the back-to-school and sports market, has been built on face-to-face interactions, handshakes, and onsite selling. Because of that, many of us have not been as fast to embrace technology and invest in the infrastructure that goes along with technology. That is no longer possible.
While it is important to maintain the level of service and the relationships, you must find a way to reduce the contact points or eliminate them altogether. For example, instead of the sports team fundraising by filling out paper forms and handling cash, set up a team store for them. What about a program with the school where they can still provide and raise funds with a spiritwear sale? Now you add the fulfillment piece to it — each kid gets a packet shipped to them, so they don’t have to stand in a line. This eliminates some PTA parents struggling to find the extra small shirt in a box with five other people standing on top of them doing the same thing.
It’s time to look to technology for ways to make it easier for your potential customers to have their needs filled. Look for things like SMS services to let people know when their order can be picked up at a dropbox-type location or easy ways for people to order what they want online.