As the leading provider of e-commerce-ready product content to the wholesale industry, we at DDS are often asked to recommend e-commerce platforms and related tools that are complementary to our “next-generation” content and data management solutions.
While content is critical to providing the right end-user experience, it is just one part of a successful e-commerce strategy. We are regularly exposed to quality companies that design and deliver best-in-class digital experiences to help manufacturers, distributors and other channel partners not only meet, but exceed their customers’ expectations.
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:
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.