When it comes to e-commerce solutions for distributors, we do NOT believe in a one-size-fits-all model. In a given industry, literally no two distributors are the same; they can differ significantly in size, character and specialty, and these differentiators can be major value-add reasons their customers do business with them. As such, we believe distributors need choices in selecting an e-commerce platform, as well as accessory/supplemental applications that suit their individual needs and allow for those value-add experiences.
Serving your customers online isn’t just about facilitating e-commerce transactions. As a matter of fact, the top two things distributors’ customers are asking for online are pricing and product information, while the ability to purchase products online is further down their list of “needs.”
The reality is, a huge part of a distributor’s job—and the job of many of the customers you serve—is to research and source products for end users and projects. Data really has become critical, and your customers are asking you to provide product information according to the new standard that we’ve all come to expect in the e-commerce age. This means having a sleek website with complete product information that is accurate and up to date, and presented in such a way that customers can find what they’re looking for quickly and intuitively.
In order to stay relevant and helpful to your customers—and likewise to your manufacturers—in this new era of commerce, you need an online presence that assists your customers in doing their jobs.
At DDS, we believe a successful e-commerce solution involves having both the right infrastructure for your website, and the most robust, complete and manufacturer-approved content to power your site.
You need a sleek and functional platform that offers a pleasant aesthetic, with intuitive back-end administration and front-end functionality that allows your customers to conduct their research and purchasing easily.
Equally as important is the content powering the site, and there are two distinct types:
- ERP data is the essential product data distributors rely on to sell manufacturer products, including complete pricing and packaging information
- E-commerce product content, on the other hand, includes everything manufacturers make available to help market and sell their products online, from complete features and specifications to multiple, hi-res images, videos, supporting documents (spec sheets, brochures, installation manuals, CAD drawings, 2D & 3D drawings), marketing descriptions, application and warranty information, 360-degree product imagery, where available, and much more.
E-commerce content also includes categories and facets for optimal searchability, which is an essential but often overlooked aspect of this critical data. How all of this content is organized and displayed can affect the user’s ability to find and buy what they need.
Many distributors live by the 80/20 rule, where from a product perspective, 80 percent of a typical company’s revenue is derived from 20 percent of its products or services. When translated to e-commerce, many assume that as long as they have their “top 20%” product set listed on their site, they have a sufficient inventory to make for a profitable sales channel.
As College GameDay’s beloved Lee Corso likes to say, “Not so fast, my friend!”
Having a larger volume of products on your site has important benefits, starting of course with giving you a larger “breadth of offering” to keep your existing and potential new customers from turning to the likes of Grainger and Amazon Business for product information, and ultimately, orders.
But your volume of product content also affects how a potential customer initially finds your site (or a particular product on it) over others. Search engines rank sites with a larger volume of quality content higher than those with less volume. Simply having more products generates more traffic while also ensuring your visitors can find the products and information they need while on your site.
On a related note, adding more of your manufacturers’ products to your webstore should not be a painful or costly process. Working with the right partners can help you get more products—with rich, accurate content—listed on your site quickly and easily, giving you real competitive advantage.
Spinstak is a division of ES Tech Group offering omnichannel marketing services to distributors and manufacturers. This growth agency specializes in print catalog development, design, and eCommerce enablement services that help distributors better capitalize on both traditional and digital sales channels.
Who We Are
DDS works with more than 600 industry-leading manufacturers (representing 1,400+ brands) across more than a dozen verticals—Electrical, Lighting, Solar, Plumbing, HVAC, Tool, Safety, Utility, Datacom, Electronic Components, Industrial Supply, Industrial Automation and Industrial Gas + Welding—to facilitate faster, simpler delivery of next-generation product content to power distributors’ e-commerce websites.
With over 50 combined years of intimate knowledge and experience running a successful distributorship, we bring unrivaled industry expertise—together with the most advanced data technologies and top-tier software and data engineers—to offer the most unique and advanced solutions available in the industry.
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If you’re interested in becoming a member of DDS’ Digital Alliance partner program, or just want to know more, we’d love to hear from you.