As e-commerce transactions continue to trend upward with the likes of Amazon continuing to grab more market share, businesses like Walmart that were once strictly brick-and-mortar operations have found ways to adapt. Walmart has purchased Jet.com and offers a variety of not only e-commerce services but also hybrid services where customers can purchase products online and pick them up at the store when convenient without waiting in line. Similarly, Tax Collectors have adopted hybrid business models to meet the growing demand for e-government services.
E-Commerce represents a significant portion of the U.S. retail market with total sales of 11.7% in 2016 (Zaroban, 2017). Economists, strategists and business leaders agree that e-commerce sales will continue to rise significantly within the next five years. So, what does this mean for brick-and-mortar businesses and governments? Plain and simple…either evolve or get left behind.
This rising e-commerce trend, however, does not mean that traditional brick-and-mortar business is dead. There is still incredible value in having a physical presence where customers can take advantage of instantaneous service provision. Even the e-commerce behemoth Amazon is opening physical brick-and-mortar operations (https://www.today.com/video/amazon-go-opens-promises-to-revolutionize-brick-and-morter-shopping-1142535235909).
Indeed, business and government will benefit from evaluating Amazon’s success in the e-commerce sector. This is especially the case as tech-savvy millennials currently represent the largest portion of the population in the United States (Andrew, 2016). Additionally, as the working adult population becomes increasingly time-starved, they too look for convenient time-saving ways to make purchases.
Florida’s Tax Collectors have been closely monitoring and evaluating these trends and many have implemented a hybrid business model similar to Walmart. According to a recent Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle Convenience Renewal Statistics Report, 85%-90% of motor vehicle transactions are still being conducted in person. However, Tax Collectors are cognizant that these statistics are expected to change rapidly over the next few years. In fact, many Tax Collectors are on the forefront of innovating to drive more customers online through a strictly e-commerce transaction or a hybrid model. Like Walmart’s successful hybrid strategy, Tax Collectors are combining brick-and-mortar with e-commerce to create a winning strategy to serve citizens in the way the citizens want to be served.
In an effort to serve a varying demographic of customers and their needs, Tax Collectors continue to develop multiple hybrid methods of conducting vital government transactions. As always, citizens can visit their local Tax Collector’s Office in person for a wide array of services, including vehicle, boat/vessel and/or mobile home registration renewals, license plates renewals, renewal of hunting and fishing licenses, payment of property taxes, driver licenses applications and renewals, tourist development tax collections, concealed weapons license application and renewals, duplicate birth certificates and voter registration applications. In addition to visiting a brick-and-mortar location, many of these services are offered online via the Tax Collectors’ websites in a strictly e-commerce setting.
Finally, some Tax Collectors, such as Larry Hart, Tax Collector in and for the Lee county political subdivision, currently offer a hybrid model for motor vehicle tag renewals via TagsToday (https://www.leetc.com/tags-today). Motorists may renew their tag online and pick it up at their desired office location the same day without waiting in line. Larry Hart said, “Our goal is to provide multiple purchasing options to customers in an ongoing effort to meet and exceed the customer service expectations of the citizens we serve.”
Doug Belden, Tax Collector in and for the Hillsborough county political subdivision, offers RENEW-2-GO with ExpressLane (http://www.hillstax.org/services/services-motor-vehicle/express-lane-service.aspx), a new service for renewing a registration for your vehicle or boat/vessel. For same day pick up, just RENEW online before 3:30 p.m., and you can pick up your registration renewal at your desired Tax Collector Office location. Doug Belden said, “We understand that our customers’ time is valuable and feel that by offering convenient online purchasing and pay online/pick up in office options we help alleviate some of the time constraints on them—it’s a win-win for both of us.”
Joe Tedder, Tax Collector in and for the Polk county political subdivision, offers a similar service called ExpressPICKUP (http://www.polktaxes.com/expresspickup/ expresspickup.aspx) for vehicle registration renewals. Simply place your order online before 4:00 p.m. and you can pick it up the same day before 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. “Our office set a goal of reaching 10% of renewal transactions using Express PICKUP, which we have met or exceeded. This service is helping to offset the number of walk-in customers seeking to renew their vehicle registrations. So far, we have received extremely positive responses from citizens using this convenient time-saving service,” said Joe Tedder.
These are just three examples of a rising trend across Florida where Tax Collectors are finding innovative methods to serve Florida’s citizens. As the Florida Tax Collectors Association continues to look towards the future, it is in the preliminary stages of research and development for a mobile application where potentially all services ranging from driver’s license and tag renewal to paying your property tax, business tax and more can all be accomplished conveniently via your mobile or tablet device.
The Florida Tax Collectors Association strives to always remain forward thinking and to research future trends, changes and advancements that could potentially affect the Office of the Tax Collector and how Tax Collectors serve Florida’s citizens. The articles, ideas and trends shared are collectively known as Future 15.
Zaroban, S. (2018, January 03). US e-commerce sales grow 15.6% in 2016. Retrieved January 23, 2018, from https://www.digitalcommerce360.com/2017/02/17/us-e-commerce-sales-grow-156-2016/
Andrews, T. M. (2016, April 26). It’s official: Millennials have surpassed baby boomers to become America’s largest living generation. Retrieved January 23, 2018, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2016/04/26/its-official-millennials-have-surpassed-baby-boomers-to-become-americas-largest-living-generation/?utm_term=.af1d7c128951