Ling Design and the Great British Card Company are offering their ‘8 till 8’ virtual sales calls to all customers across the UK, following a successful soft launch. The service is available now and allows you to place an order without the need for a rep physically visiting your store.
David Byk CEO of both companies says: ‘Having stayed operational throughout lockdown we have all got used to remote working and felt we could use that experience in changing the way we operate. We have also listened to what our customers are telling us and seen the hard work it has taken not only to open up but also to operate safely with fewer people in store as a result of social distancing and we knew that the traditional way of calling on a customer needs to change.’
‘We got feedback that, whilst many retailers want to order via the company website, some of the time customers still do want to see a salesperson but not necessarily in the traditional way. This is how the out of hours service was born alongside the new ranges the companies have launched post lockdown.’
As part of the run-up to a full launch Kim Lewis of Longacres Garden Centres tried out the new service and placed an order as a result. ‘It worked really well and I would definitely use it again,’ she says.
The ‘8 till 8’ virtual sales call works by you creating a request for a call via the website or each company can send you a link to a form. Fill this in with some details and you will contacted via Skype or Zoom at your appointed time by one of the experienced sales people to virtually show you their new ranges and presenters, discuss trends and best sellers, make recommendations and share their screen with you to help you through the order process when your shop is closed.
Michael McGunnigle of GBCC comments: ‘Right now the needs of the market are moving so quickly. We can see big orders via our Waterwells brokerage offer post lockdown because we plan, fill and merchandise the card space for you and keep you in stock of the best sellers from GBCC and our 25 fantastic publisher partners all with one delivery resulting in you having the least possible disruption in store. We have also brought salespeople back from furlough so we can physically visit you but we can also now do this virtually at a time to suit you. We can do this when you are at work and can be in front of your card racks or you can be at home having a cup of tea and a piece of toast or perhaps later in the day and you are enjoying something stronger’.
James Gunn Ling, National Sales Manager, added ‘There has been big interest in our 8 till 8 service and our account managers see the benefit of it too with less time in the car and thus there are environmental and time benefit too. We have also seen GBCC’s planned displays business grow post lockdown too so Ling is now offering this too where we can plan the racks and make sure you have the most appropriate of Ling’s 5000 SKUs in your store without us needing to make traditional sales calls and taking up your time and ensuring there is room in store for as many customers as possible.
‘All these initiatives seem entirely in step with the fast evolving needs of our customers and we are really hopeful for the future as have seen our sales slowly growing since garden centres and the wrongly named non-essential retailers have reopened.’