UPS recently released a study they did on the behaviors, preferences and perceptions of industrial supplier performance.
Industrial distribution was once dominated by family owned companies built on personal relationships. Things are changing, and now suppliers (whether they are distributors or manufacturers) need to be not only aware of, but be a part of the online movement.
The UPS study surveyed 1501 online. The respondents were either sole/joint decision makers and the survey included only stock only products (no special orders). Annual spends ranged from under $50,000 to over $250,000.
Here are some insights from the study that I found interesting:
- 40% of those surveyed were only on the job for less than a year.
- 23% were on the job less than 5 years.
- 50% of purchasers say having a catalog and sales rep are important in making a decision.
- More that 50% are making purchases online.
- 33% of purchasers spend most of their budget online.
- 34% say they go outside their existing supply base to make an online purchase with a new vendor.
- Preferred research methods for new products were websites and search engines.
Are you still with me? So what does that me for you? It’s an opportunity for you to keep the business you have and expand outside your normal trading areas. Yes, buyers are concerned about quality, availability, price and delivery. But they are also interested in an integrated system that makes the buying process easy — from picking a product to making hassle-free returns.
Suggested action items from the survey:
- Online selling is changing they way people buy things — embrace e-commerce (but not exclusively)
- Continually improve the customer experience — make it easy for them to purchase from you
- Be in the right place at the right time — utilize SEO (search engine optimization) and SEM (search engine marketing) to make sure people find you when they are looking
Care to share what you’re doing online?