We see many web catalogs that are technological successes and marketing failures… too many are just a waste of money that alienates good customers who simply leave and buy elsewhere, and likely, never return.” Will the first impression of your web catalog bring your customers back; tomorrow, next week, or never?
Launching a web catalog is often confused as a technology project instead of a direct marketing activity. eBusinessConnect was built from a foundation of powerful technology, and then, from a marketing perspective, formed into an environment that provides everything your customers want so they buy more products and services, more frequently, from you.
There’s a lot to consider in a successful web catalog.
eBusinessConnect covers them all. Excellent keyword and keyword phrase searching, Number Searching and Drilldown Searching, Intuitive Navigation, Friendly Interface, Personalization, Compelling Product Information, High Quality Images, Customer Registration, Buy Limits, Saved Order Lists, Tax & Freight Calculations, Site Administration, Order Processing, Order Status, Order History, Order Error Trapping, FAQ’s, Product Specialist links, Web Specials, and more.
eBusinessConnect is successful web catalog software that is a harmonious blending of sensible Internet marketing knowledge and proprietary technology to meet these critical goals:
- Attract customers
- Hold customers
- Sell customers
Sadly, many distributors are enabling Internet access into their business systems as a quick fix answer to a web catalog need. The interfaces are horrible, the searching is clunky, and customers are expected to make their ‘buy’ decision from a 40-character cryptic item file description. This simply is not working.
eBusinessConnect brings you successful features you won’t find anywhere else…
Don’t change a good thing – Because print catalogs have been the predominant media to present products to customers’ eBusinessConnect was designed to display product information much like a print catalog. This makes so much sense because it keeps products together that should be presented together. Plus it copies a proven and friendly display format that customers are entirely used to.
For instance, if you were looking for work gloves that came in men’s and ladies sizes; in eBusinessConnect they will present in a single presentation with the product name, a detailed image, and then a nicely formatted table showing the various sizes, organized from small to x-large for both men’s and ladies. This provides a very friendly and familiar presentation of product information that is extremely unique in the world of web catalogs.
Find what you need, fast – It’s proven that 99% of web catalog users find products by simply typing what they want into a search window. What happens after that is the first moment of truth that determines whether the customer stays or leaves. eBusinessConnect will get your customers to products fast because it has the greatest keyword searching you will ever encounter.
For every 10,000 SKUs eBusinessConnect automatically creates ~50,000 keywords and keyword phrases that get customers to products, fast. Plus, your customers can add any technical information about products like size, color, etc. to narrow searching even more precisely.
Looking for more business? – If you’re also looking for business outside existing sales channels, eBC contains comprehensive meta-tagging technology that automatically creates verbose indexing of the items in the web catalog to enhance your visibility with search engines like Google™, Yahoo™, etc. Alternatively, some of our customers only intend their web catalog for registered account holders and we simply turn off this meta-tagging.
Products change fast, so should your web catalog…
Point, Click, and GET is the #1 reliability customers want from a web catalog. Don’t disappoint them; you may not get a second chance. eBusinessConnect is designed so products can be quickly added or deleted everyday to make sure that when your customers do ‘Point’ and ‘Click’, they actually ‘GET’.
Generate income while bringing value to your Supplier partners.
Manufacturers love to promote themselves and will pay for the opportunity. eBusinessConnect goes above and beyond ordinary web catalogs by providing powerful ways to promote products.
- Web Specials – Showcase different products every time your customer clicks to a new page. Of course they can point, click, and buy these specials anytime.
- New Product Showcase – You know how hard it is to introduce new products and get sales traction. With eBusinessConnect you’ll gain weeks on this process and start moving new product inventory right away. Every new product will sport a bright red “NEW” logo when it is displayed, plus there’s a one click “NEW” link right on the home page that will display every new product you have active.
- Manufacturers’ Logos – These display and change with every new page. Of course they are linked to their products so when your customer clicks on any logo all of those manufacturers’ products display.
Here’s the best part. All of this is special capability is controlled by the eBusinessConnect exclusive “set it and forget it,” feature. This functionality makes it easy to create these events, anytime, and you simply set the start date and stop date and then forget about it. Once you set the event, it will turn on; run for the time duration you set, and then turn off automatically. Your manufacturers will line up to underwrite these special promotion opportunities.
- To lower the cost of sales for the current products and services you sell to your existing customers.
- To sell more products and services to existing and new customers.
- Create more time for proactive outbound selling opportunities for inside sales.
- Cashing in on this equation The real test is figuring out if your customers are ready to use this channel effectively. Are they technologically ready and are they culturally ready to do business over the web?
When the Internet was developing it was intended solely for text communications, and it was controlled by technologists. Their focus was to work out all of the technological kinks. Making commercial use of the Internet was not viable until Internet Explorer was added to Microsoft Windows along with other types of Internet browsers. These rich browsers made web navigating easy and they were capable of rich graphical display of the words and images as well as supporting commerce software that made it possible to buy something over the web.
It was at this point that direct marketers took over where the technologists left off. Direct marketers saw a tremendous opportunity and focused huge resources at developing the Internet as a commerce channel. For the last 10 years, the growing results cannot be denied. In fact, the Internet is gaining more market share every year. Dramatic gains are occurring within the business to consumer channel (B2C, ‘), as well as undeniable progress with many direct marketers within the business to business channel (B2B). For example, the most successful direct marketer in distribution, WW Grainger, projects web sales of 1.5 billion in 2007, which will make up nearly 25% of their total sales.
The growth in web sales is directly related to cultural changes in our behavior and our acceptance of new technology, especially when it brings real efficiency to our daily work habits. People buy on the web because it saves them time, and time is money. With eBusinessConnect it is easy to demonstrate this value to your customers.
Here are the three biggest problems of choosing to use the bolt-on ecommerce module for a business system as a web catalog.
- Business systems are not designed to contain anywhere near enough detailed product information for your customers to make an informed buying decision.
- Business systems that are trying to address this problem end up with a very clunky interface that’s really hard to use.
- A business system displays products so the user has to ‘click’ into each item, one by one, to see the detail to determine if the product is what they need.
- Business systems cannot publish pages to support print catalogs and flyers, which means building, managing, and absorbing the cost of two redundant content assets.
Distributors, who are successfully winning their customers web business, provide powerful web catalogs with lots of detailed product information, not less. Customers need detailed product specifications, they also need pictures, and they absolutely need an easy to use interface with a powerful search engine. If your customers can’t understand what they are buying from a web catalog, they’ll buy elsewhere.
A recent study conducted by ThomasNet.com and Google.com found out that 70% of web buyers expect to find detailed product information at sellers sites, but only 53% of all sellers’ sites provide it. A browser interface ‘bolted on’ to the business system that only presents limited, cryptic product information is simply not sufficient. Most distributors admit that their own employees struggle with the information contained in their own business systems. Inside salespeople refer heavily to their “rack” of printed manufacturers’ catalogs and manufactures websites when they take orders because that’s where detailed product information can be found quickly.
Launching a web catalog that simply enables a web browser interface into a business system is probably the lowest cost method to deploy a web catalog, and absolutely the worst choice. This is an example of technology leading marketing. From a technical perspective, a web catalog has been launched, but from a marketing perspective, this is a path to disaster. We all know how hard it is to get a second chance to make a first impression with our customers. The interface is part the problem, but the real problem is the complete lack of detailed product information to make an informed buying decision.
The web is full of opportunities and certainly the interface and detailed product information are critical pieces. There are other things that can be done to guarantee even more success. Successful web marketing shows customers the value, efficiency, and savings of doing as much of their business as possible through the web.
Contact us to get our latest white paper: “Web Marketing Opportunities In Distribution”
eBusinessConnect (eBC) is AlaMark’s award winning web catalog software. It provides an ideal ecommerce platform that can scale to any level of sophistication. Bring your customers into a friendly and efficient buying environment that will win their hearts and minds the first time they use it.
eBusinessConnect delivers rich product information, powerful searching, and customer specific detail all in a completely configurable website, which delivers these two important goals; to sell more products and services, and lower the cost of sales for all products and services.
Contact us now to learn more…