Most manufacturers and distributors have moved toward e-commerce to increase sales, cut costs and grow their companies. A Forrest Research study projects that manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors will sell $780 billion to other companies via the web this year. And that figure will reach $1.13 trillion by 2020!
This cost effective, innovative move is a big shift in the way many manufacturers and distributors have traditionally done business. When manufacturers/distributors first started utilizing e-commerce, they focused on showcasing product information and spec sheets, with little else. Existing and potential customers had to call in to place orders or find out more information
Today’s tech savvy customers demand more options. Not only do they want all the information about the product or service to be listed for quick access, but they also want to be able to order and check out in a quick, efficient way.
The best e-commerce features for a manufacturer or distributor’s website include the following:
- Relevant Information: Customers want to know that the product or service can perform the needed task. Complete, detailed information from the fabrication, specs, materials, and the price of the item should be easily available.
- Easy Purchasing and Shipping: Offer multiple options for payment and shipping.
- Fast Customer Service: Chat features and toll free numbers should be listed on all applicable pages, so if the customer has a question the answer is quickly available.
- Custom/specialized products: Customers want to know who to speak to and how to reach them – with little or no delay.
- Certifications: Promote certifications and the criteria your company met for obtaining them. Many potential customers are looking for manufacturers with accredited certifications. Display your certifications prominently on the website and provide the ability to download or request the documentation.
- Project Information/Testimonials/Content: Successful projects your company has collaborated on or done work for should be displayed and showcased. Customers like to see what and who you have worked with. It is similar to asking for references. Likewise, including valuable content such as published whitepapers, trade magazine articles and press releases help foster visibility and credibility.
E-Commerce sites allow manufacturers/distributors to earn revenues without traditional expenses that land based business incur.