A frequent issue we’re hearing from manufacturer reps and distributor salespeople is the challenge of connecting with specifiers and customers, especially industrial customers. While COVID drove many to work from home, it appears, at least for now, that a number are remaining at home and/or their companies are still prohibiting visitors to their facility, unless required. Further, there is the feeling that some may be using the new found “hours” as a reason not to have unneeded visitors.
Some, reaching customers / specifiers becomes more difficult.
This further coupled by the trend for individuals to research products online before contacting a salesperson. Research we did a few years ago highlighted that the #1 reason for contractors to visit a distributor’s website was product information / access to spec sheets. We’re currently in the process of doing similar research to engineers (and if you’d like to learn more / participate for a free copy of the research, contact us.)
One of the most important reasons for electrical distributors to have a website is to provide their customers with a robust single source of information … their website. Further, a website with “all” of your manufacturers’ contents is also a sales tool and resource for salespeople.
The key to satisfied online customers is quality product content.
3 Keys to Ensure Distributors Win Online in 2022
Distributor Data Solutions (DDS), recently shared this article that was written in gasworld. DDS provides eCommerce product content to distributors in the electrical, automation, gas and welding, HVAC, industrial supplies and plumbing industries. To our knowledge, they are the only eCommerce product content supplier that covers a broad array of construction and industrial products on a subscription basis (so unlimited content) for a fixed fee.
Matt Christensen, President of Distributor Data Solutions, was featured on a gasworld webinar titled “3 Keys to Ensure Industrial Gas Distributors Win Online in 2022” (and, in reality, the issues for gas and welding distributors is the same as it is for electrical distributors).
According to the article:
“Quality product content for company websites was the focus for Matt Christensen, President of Distributor Data Solutions (DDS) on gasworld’s latest showcase webinar, when he told industrial gases and welding distributors “how to win online in 2022.”
One of the leading product content companies for the gas and welding industry, Utah-based DDS helps its customers by providing technology solutions to the challenges of e-commerce product content and data management – and to date, has worked with more than 500 manufacturers, representing more than 1,300 brands.
Detailing each sector of an online product selling platform, and what they should each consist of, Christensen said, “First is product master data. This is the stock keeping unit (SKU) information, weights, dimensions, maybe some packaging info on top of that. This is the bare minimum data that you need to sell a product.”
“When we start talking about E-commerce and quality rich product content, we add on rich data, and this is marketing description. This can be the full multi sentence paragraph style long description that can describe a product in some of the specs and features – and really what differentiates the product from maybe another set of products or competitors’ products.”
“Next is features. When you look at features on a website, for instance, it’s usually towards the top. It’s the bulleted information. Typically, there’s five-ten bullets on good products. This can include benefits, why this product versus another one and can also include application information.”
Continuing through how to successfully list a product, Christensen then went on to explain the multi-media side of things, or the product digital assets. These are images and specifically multiple images for a product looking at products in action in use.
Videos, drawings, images and 360° spins all come into the category. “93% of consumers consider visual content to be the key deciding factor in a purchasing decision, Christensen enthused. “That’s just there’s just kind of a no brainer, and so really the more content you have for your products from your vendors, the better chance you have and your customers purchasing your product.”
“Further to that, 33% of site visitors prefer to see multiple images. I’m surprised this number isn’t 100%, but people want to see multiple images to make sure that they’re looking at the right thing, buying the right thing, researching the right item descriptions.”
Sharing further stats about a customers’ experience on an e-commerce site, Christensen continued, “67% of contractors, and this number is actually going up all the time, 67% of contractors want self-serve options. So again, it’s letting them buy the way they want to buy, but they can’t buy anything if you don’t have all of the information that a manufacturer provides for the products.”
“And then, this is an interesting fact that I came across, 30% of online sales are returned and this wasn’t industry specific. This was across all online sales, including retail. But I just found that shockingly high, especially today, and that’s the number of online sales returned, and 40% of those returns are due to poor content.”
The entire Distributor Data Solutions (DDS) webinar is available on demand now at https://gasworld.tv/showcasewebinar-dds-distributors-win-online/ – make sure to catch-up if you missed it!”
According to the DDS website, collectively they have over 6.6 millions SKUs, inclusive of over 4 million covering the electrical industry. And if you haven’t been to their site recently, consider visiting it for a snapshot of many satisfied electrical manufacturer and distributor customers.
With the recent discovery of the Omicron variant and the belief that COVID will become an endemic virus and with us long-term and hence we’ll need to “deal with it”, it becomes just another reason why distributors should want another sales tool to reach customers. Inevitably, eCommerce is about mimicking the customer’s buying journey and being available when and where they want you to be. Quality product content is one of the most integral elements of your website.
And remember these 6 reasons why distributors should not have an eCommerce website!