I can clearly remember going to the grocery store mid March 2020 and seeing hoards of people stocking up on essential supplies (ahem toilet paper) and whatnot. The feeling of absolute dread quickly set over me like I have never known before. This is crazy! “We are in this together? Doesn’t seem that way” I thought and complained loudly to anyone that would listen. “How are people supposed to buy things now?!” I know, I know, online was the quick and easy answer. However I don’t think I am alone when I say that I like to pick my own stuff out.
I am an old-school interior designer. A designer that was accustomed to touching and feeling every material. Sitting on sofas and performing the ol’ rub test on upholstery fabric. There was nothing like feeling that custom matte paint finish on a cabinet door or plunking down on those beautiful feather wrapped foam sofa cushions. Until I realized how easy suppliers have made it to shop all these items ONLINE!
Since the pandemic, the ecommerce industry has seen tremendous growth! People who were not already using online shopping were suddenly forced to in order to avoid crowds and ensure everyone’s safety. My first thought? “This is going to be a nightmare!” However, when that first shipment of goods came right to my doorstep and I didn’t even have to change out of my -let’s call it – loungewear, I was hooked!
Suddenly I was ordering clothing, gifts, home goods, fun stuff for the kids, outdoor items… I even ordered all of my container flowers and vegetable garden seeds from the comfort of my own home. The thrill of being able to click-and-collect whatever my heart may desire was addicting! This begged the question, how can I give my own clients this level of service and excitement?
Asking myself this question went on to shape how I now conduct business with all of my clients. Do not get me wrong, on-site visits are still important, but I wanted to share this exhilarating “buy now” option with the world! Okay well maybe not the world, but I could at least share it with the number of clients I was currently working with.
I diligently went about setting up an easy “book now” package on my website. The standard Discovery Call that allowed any new clients to easily click and book with me was a game changer! The intoxicating feeling of that first email that claimed a “package has been purchased” was as exhilarating as receiving that neatly packed box of bath towels I ordered yesterday.
This led to me creating more and more design packages that would allow my clients to book actual blocks of time design time with me. I set this up in a couple of different ways. An initial consultation that would last 1 hour, a paint color consultation (I have found this to be a great way for clients to “interview you” before hiring you for larger projects), and a 4 hour and an 8 hour block of time. During the initial discovery call I guide them to what package they may need depending on what they are looking for. I’m also currently working on other creative ways I can sell design services that are less work for me but income producing at the same time.
What an absolute game charger this has been. During the pandemic I was actually forced to get a solid system in place, and by doing so, I was ready for the onslaught of people coming to me desperately needing to change up their space that they have been staring at for the last year. A nice little bonus? I was surprised that I actually had more time now, than when I was working with LESS clients. (What the heck was I doing)?
I’ve estimated that what I was making hourly before, and what I am making now that I have my systems in place has more than doubled. I simply removed all of the unnecessary running around that I used to do. When I really thought about it, did I need to have that initial consultation in person? Can I order samples to come to me rather than driving around the city and wasting an entire day-and tank of gas? The answer is yes! A few times I have even worked with clients in another province. I couldn’t cross the border, so I was able to “package” a digital shopping list for them, sent them the link. They paid the consultation (package) price and then they had access to the live links to the products so they could order themselves. All in the click of a button! So easy for them, and so easy for me. My clients have been absolutely loving this service. It is clean, clear and fast!
The trends indicate that click-and-buy now sales have more than doubled in 2020, and will continue to do so through to at least 2024. It is funny how this started from a necessity and will likely remain the way people prefer to shop due to the speed and the convenience in which they receive their products or services.
Sometimes good things come at the least expected times. I am happy I can say that my initial pessimistic view of online shopping has changed. When we get right down to it, this industry has been in it together and I believe will continue to be.
Other Income Generating Ideas Designers are Using Packages For: