What Content does an Industrial Supplier Website Need?

What constitutes GOOD content within a B2B industrial website? [also see What constitutes GOOD functionality within a B2B industrial website]

The answer is that the site needs to be rich in information useful to target customers and presented such that the site has excellent SEO. Once those target customers find the site then intuitive website search should ensure they easily find exactly what they need.

In short, the content needs to support a user experience similar to what visitors have become accustomed to from leading industrial suppliers such as McMaster-Carr®, Grainger® or Amazon®. With CDS's help you can achieve that kind of user experience at a small fraction of the cost expended on the in-house web teams of those companies.

Organized Product Data

  • Organized product data is vital! If you have used online site search on leading ecommerce sites, such as those mentioned above, you are familiar with capabilities like faceted search and side-by-side product comparison. Your website can offer than same functionality if your company already has a robust, up-to-date and normalized product data classification (also called a schema) with global attributes. Your website will offer a rich product selection experience, You'll enjoy higher conversions, happier customers, and more revenue. But all this starts with organized product data - for capabilities like that to work across all your products, your data needs to be well structured and 'normalized'.
  • Not sure if it is? Most industrial suppliers have multiple product categories and series. Each product series often has dozens or even hundreds of attributes. Are all your products classified in categories with common attributes standardized across categories and attribute sets assigned to each category? The attributes (aka. facets) are vitally important in ecommerce because customers use them to filter their selections. Before faceted search and navigation can be effective, the underlying product data must have the relevant attributes stored in a structured way.
  • Typically companies do not already have such a product classification and often the existing product data is split between the Engineering and Marketing Departments. Very rarely is it normalized in one master data set that can support multiple outputs:
    • SEO via keywords for Online Search
    • Master CAD models (online envelope models for download, but can also be the full engineering CAD models)
    • Syndication of data to other websites (for example, to distributors or OEMs or CAD Search Portals like 3DModelSpace.com
    • ERP systems
    • Product service manuals
    • Paper catalogs and other printed product documents - all updates or changes to the master data set can then automatically be propagated through to each output
    • Online Catalog pages and Company Site Search
    • Individual Product Detail pages
  • If your company does not yet have a robust product classification with global attribute definition across all categories CDS Data Services can help. Our industrial data specialists help companies achieve one master product data source including product attributes that are relevant to your customers' purchase decisions. These attributes can then be presented as facets so your customers can refine their searches to quickly find what they are looking for and understand what they’re buying.

CAD Models and CAD Drawings

  • If CAD models are applicable to your products, save customers and potential customers time by enabling them to download and incorporate 3D CAD models of your products into their new CAD designs - in return you will get your parts 'designed in' and your part numbers in their Bill of Materials (BOM) for later purchase.
  • Optional user registration prior to download of CAD models generates sales leads that can be routed directly to your CRM system
  • If you don't have product CAD models or the capability to create them CDS can build them for you
  • Really smart companies use the one master data source mentioned above to drive both their full detail manufacturing CAD models and their reduced detail (outer envelope only) CAD models for download from their website - the key benefit is that any changes are automatically updated in both

Pricing

  • Standard pricing, perhaps with volume breaks and custom or individual customer pricing (private sales) once the customer is logged in

Availability

  • Optionally integrate to your ERP or stock control system to present stock availability online

Ecommerce

  • How do you want to transact online? At the least offer RFQs (Request for Quotes) but consider a shopping cart too - obviously if you offer a shopping cart you probably need to offer pricing and stock availability, possibly order tracking online too. To do any of these the data has to be available in real time.
  • Order history, order status, return authorizations, online payments, and other user friendly features that let customers manage their own accounts.

If you'd like to discuss your situation and hear our recommendations, please request a demo today!