AMAZONSUPPLY HAS GONE, AMAZON HASN’T - INDUSTRIAL E-COMMERCE STILL ACCELERATING
Some predicted that Amazon would walk away from AmazonSupply, just as Google did when it dropped its “Google for Business” venture. Well, they didn’t and this article is a good update on what they did and why - for example it reports that B2B e-Commerce may grow 15-20% this year.
It explains what Amazon learned and how surprisingly quickly they have rolled AmazonSupply into their Amazon Business offering. “The Amazon Business site now boasts that it has 'hundreds of millions of products' available for businesses and offers free shipping on orders of $49 or more. In addition, the Amazon Business site offers business pricing on select items, multi-issuer accounts for registered businesses and approval workflows that will offer control over what products each user within a company can purchase. Customers will also have the ability to compare prices on products on a single page as well as noting the site will contain 100 times more product than existed on AmazonSupply.”
Here’s our take for Industrial Suppliers – both Manufacturers and Distributors.
1. New technologies create new buyer behavior and new competitive opportunities. Not all attempts to use new technology work - at least not at first. We agree with the article that "more buyers, have been and will continue to search for products on line’ and that, ‘demand for B2B e-commerce is growing." As the article cites, "every major buying study notes that business buyers are increasingly relying on the Internet to research and buy products. Some of those reports indicate that growth could be 15 to 20 percent this year" and growth of the CDS business proves it.
2. What this means for industrial suppliers is that the buying process has and continues to change.
- The sales process has changed and not in a way that has made it easier for your sales people to get in front of prospects! Prospects ignore sales people, so selling the old way is dying out.
- The marketing process has changed. Prospects ignore ads and research solutions themselves online, so marketing the old way is dying out.
- Content Marketing is the new panacea for building trust in your brand and getting your sales and marketing teams aligned. Because you own the media (your website, social media pages, apps, etc.) you control more of the user experience and your own fate. You create value, utility and engagement with your customers (such as downloading and designing in your parts in their CAD designs) and align your brand with their needs.
3. To be successful in the future industrial suppliers must adapt to have:
- An online presence that provides customers with information, content and product information (including product CAD models) through videos, chat functionality, and ordering. They need to match the convenience of modern online search and ecommerce (as offered by Amazon, Grainger, McMaster, Alibaba etc.) but play up their advantages over such companies by providing even more technical product assistance and knowledge to customers.
- Excellent search engine optimization (SEO) so that your products get found. Years ago, SEO meant publishing lots of content filled with keywords to game the system and achieve higher search result rankings. Now that Google has revised its algorithms to emphasize user-valuable content all you need to do is publish valuable content so SEO doesn’t matter anymore. That thinking is premature at best, you need both valuable content and to ensure your products or services are found or discovered through online search.
- Excellent on-site search so that once visitors to your site can find exactly what they need or an even better solution. As
Vince Lombardi (football coach) said, "
Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence." With today's technology that typically means using an industrial specific online catalog with faceted search capabilities within your website.
Bottom line - the supply of Industrial products is changing rapidly and it's now keep up or give up!. 'Business as usual' won’t cut it as customer behavior changes and new competitors enter the industrial market. What worked yesterday likely won’t work tomorrow.
That’s what we think, let us know what you think by commenting below. As always, if you'd like our opinion on your situation or want see an online demo, call or click either button below: