The digital age is well and truly upon us. More people are using the internet than ever before for all sorts of reasons. Researching, streaming, keeping in touch with friends and relatives, and to purchase goods and services. Being able to shop online has made some major changes, not only to the way we now look to buy things, but also to the kind of purchases we make. Independent retailers and hobby crafters have been able to reach wider audiences by selling their products online, and the competition among big name brands like Walmart and Amazon has benefited consumers by seeing prices drop.
And it’s not just goods that are being shopped for online. Services like insurance – once a face-to-face service taking several hours and reams of paperwork – is now available to buy online in minutes. While some will lament the loss of the personal touch, for many others with busy lives and little time to spare, the change will be a welcome one.
One insurance company who is embracing the change is Lemonade. Originally from the United States, they are now expanding to further states and offering Lemonade for renters, homeowners, condos and pet insurance. With their entire operation based online, they are able to reach out to different markets quickly and easily: no shops to establish or salespeople to hire and train. Just a new website to launch, which will instantly bring their market expertise to new customers countrywide.
There are many advantages to being able to buy insurance products online. Firstly, it is a much simpler process. All the available products are listed on the company’s website, so rather than waiting for an agent to interview you and then offer a selection, you can find the best one for your needs from the menu. This gives you full access to every available policy, rather than only the options you are offered.
It is quicker too. Filling out your details online is straightforward, and you’ll only have to do it once. Quite often these details are remembered by your browser and you can autofill them on different sites so that you can get a number of different quotes to compare. And because all the information you need on each policy is right there online, it’s easier to compare quotes and make sure they cover the same things.
Another huge benefit to buying online is that you have instant access to the reviews left behind by previous customers. 90% of online shoppers read reviews before visiting a company’s website, and a similar percentage trust online reviews as much as they would a recommendation from friends or family. Going from a good review directly to the website, rather than having to find a number, call and make an appointment, is much easier and therefore more likely to result in new customers.
Finally, online operations have the advantage of not having to pay rent for office space. This saving can then be passed on to the customer without eating into profit margins. Some companies also pass on further savings by not employing brokers and salespeople. Lemonade uses bots and AI to keep costs down as well as simplifying the process, meaning they can offer even greater prices to their customers.
Online purchases are becoming more common every year, with people preferring to shop online rather than visit the mall or sales offices. There are still those, particularly from the older generations, who prefer the personal touch of face-to-face contact with an insurance broker or a sales assistant, but they are in a declining minority. As more people grow up with online shopping being the norm, these services will most likely die out altogether. Not good for anyone employed in those industries, but it won’t be an overnight change and there should be time to migrate into other areas.
However, for the consumer, these changes bring many benefits in the form of reduced policy prices, quicker purchase times, simpler processes, and better information about the quality of the services. And with many companies using the internet to expand globally, customers have access to more services than ever before, and can tap into a wealth of industry knowledge at the click of a button.