Digitized information offers vast flexibility. When employed at its best, digital information can make the most complex processes simpler and more efficient. This especially applies to the selling of complex industrial parts.
When technology is tied together with detailed product information, the selling of complex parts can be made easy. There are many ways this is accomplished, but three specific ways stand out from the rest.
- First of all, suppliers can place their information in an online catalog.
- Secondly, complex products can be correctly configured with configuration technology.
- Thirdly, consumers can ensure they are purchasing the correct product by making sure it fits into their CAD design.
By focusing on these three aspects of online selling, manufacturers can create a simpler buying process for even the most complex industrial components.
1. Help Customers Find Your Products Faster with an Online Product Catalog
Selling merchandise from printed mail order catalogs began its ascent in the 19th century, but the hallmark of the 21st century is comprehensive online product catalogs. Online catalogs have many advantages over their printed counterparts, one of the biggest ones being their flexibility. Mistakes can be corrected, products added or removed, designs changed, and features updated without reprinting the catalog. Having all important product information online makes a company’s products instantly available to a worldwide client base.
Online catalogs can be updated with language and images to suit any geographical location, especially important for industrial products that serve a worldwide clientele. An online catalog can be integrated with a company’s order database to create an additional sales channel. This enables it to be a search engine friendly system, allowing customers to browse and purchase products at any time with minimal customer assistance. Errors on quotes can be significantly reduced due to the fact that compatibility and pricing data has been approved prior to any customer viewing the information. After implementation, online catalog systems tend to pay for themselves quickly, offering many diverse advantages that include improved productivity, increased sales, and fewer returns.
2. Automatically Generate Product Specs On-Demand with Advanced Configuration Technology
Industrial products often require a heavy amount of configuration. The highly engineered nature of the industry means that customers require significantly customized products. This often results in the use of many expensive engineering hours to assist customers to fulfill their exact requirements. Online product configuration systems vastly simplify this process, providing complex configurations at a fraction of the time and expense it would take otherwise. Product configurator technology can track the most commonly configured items for inventory control and planning, generating specific part numbers, prices, and SPEC documents as needed. When the configuring process is automated, the prices for engineered products can be instantly validated and confirmed against the buyer’s requirements, saving valuable customer support time.
Besides saving valuable time, product configuration technology produces valuable data to track the popularity of specific configurations. Complex products can have thousands, and sometimes millions, of different combined configurations, making it difficult to plan for what material to keep in stock. Configuration technologies can lighten this load with reporting tools. These enable suppliers to keep track of configured product combinations, and make it easy for them to determine the most important products to keep in stock. Product configuration makes it easier for customers to purchase the exact products that they need, and suppliers to determine which materials are the most necessary to keep on hand.
3. Allow Buyers To Download CAD Drawings In Multiple File Formats
Computer aided design (CAD) programs originated in the 1980s and today CAD is more prominent than ever. CAD drawings play an essential role for customers who want to purchase all varieties of complex parts. In today’s marketplace, design engineers often find parts and products directly on the internet instead of contacting suppliers for them. Suppliers can use this to their advantage by integrating a CAD program within their website. This enables engineers and designers to access the information that they need in the exact format they require.
When suppliers integrate CAD drawings while using a flexible format, it brings about a host of advantages. Potential buyers can download 2D and 3D CAD drawings of products at any time and in any file format. These CAD drawings can be inserted into other major CAD software programs and emailed or downloaded to whoever needs them. 3D drawings can be viewed, panned, zoomed and rotated directly from a client’s website. Complex configurable CAD drawings can be published based on the website user’s inputted attributes. This flexibility makes it possible to incorporate CAD drawings that make it simple to purchase even the most complex products. Whatever design engineers require, they are able to easily find the parts they need in the exact configuration required.
Other Ways to Simplify the Process
There are many other ways that technology can help simplify the buying process. Reviews and ratings can be added to a website. Positive reviews build trust in a company, and offer a platform for customers and experts to share recommendations and testimonials. Websites can also include comparison charts.
Showing products side by side allows customers to easily compare attributes and pricing. Live comparison options on websites can help by walking customers through the options that are best suited for their needs. Digitized information also offers easy content categorization. When content is categorized by factors such as skill level, role, and industry, the most appropriate products can be found quickly and easily.
Finally, when the inventory of a company is digitized, it becomes simple to research their top-searched and top-visited content. This increases awareness of what customers are looking for most and makes it easier to help them find it.