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4 Tips for Improving Your Manufacturer or Distributor eCommerce Website (Video)


Our CEO (Clarity Co-founder), Chris Reddick, gives away some pointers for Manufacturers & Distributors to improve their ecommerce sites. He covers everything from product data integration to visitor experience. Please let us know what you think in the comments section at the bottom of the page!





Video Transcript


Okay. So this is going to be four tips to boost your manufacturing and distribution ecommerce site.

The first tip pertains to documents, resources and specifically what we're talking about here are printed materials and bringing those from a printed form to your online site. What we're looking for here are standard manuals that you would get from a manufacturer.

Sometimes if you are doing distribution or you are the manufacturing company, these will be in a printed format. Some of them will even need to be OCR'd. They'll need to scanned and then OCR'd, or they may just need to be organized better if they're already in OCR format.

A lot of companies will simply put PDFs online, link and put them into a resources area called resources, Resource Center, documents, etc. within their site. So you might have multiple tabs within a product detail page or within a category that shows these resources.

What this is going to do for you to bring in additional documentation and not just high level details, but you can also get into things like specifications, some of the technical troubleshooting that manufacturers will provide. That can have rich content. It's something that typically your competitors won't make available or won't have the resources to put out there. So typically you're going to be the only one on the face of the planet, other than the manufacturers themselves, that is providing this kind of information. And of course, if you are the manufacturer, then you're going to be the only one providing that kind of detail.

This typically will get indexed, and it will provide you additional rich content that the search engines can find your site from.

Tip two is to automate your standard processes. What are we talking about here? First I just want to point out that some of these bullets that I'm going to cover may not be visible. Those are going to be covered in the notes at the bottom of the video. So you can look there for more detail.

But really what we are talking about here with automating processes is taking manual steps that you may do now that may cause a process to take four weeks and bringing that down to two days or possibly taking a quoting process down from several hours to seconds and being able to automate that.

Typically, these automation steps will require integration to shipping providers. Possibly to be able to get customs and duties, you may need to integrate to third party resources, and then you may also be integrating to an internal ERP system, and that's going to allow you to get inventory, pricing, and order status pushed into your site. Then you can also pull orders from your site and update your pick list and your shipping information dynamically from orders that get placed through your website.

So all of this is going to improve the experience that a user has whenever they are going through the checkout processes, and you really want to eliminate as many of these manual processes as you can. This will free you up so you can do things like free shipping or lower shipping costs and be able to provide instant access and become the source for that immediate access to these products.

Step number three is to show more inventory. What are we talking about here? Well really, whenever you look at the surface area of your site, ideally you want to cover as many topics that are rich or long tail keywords within your industry. Typically, what this will do is it will give you strength in areas that no one else is really playing in.

So if you can get more inventory out there, typically you will have specific products on your site that none of your competitors even bother to list. If you can do that, it gives you a lot more coverage, and it gives you a bigger surface area for search engines to index and that's going to allow you to get more long tail search results coming to your sites. And therefore, more traffic to your site. Ultimately, being able to convert those to visitors ties into step 4, which is improving the visitor funnel.

The are a lot of things you can do with the visitor funnel, we will just cover a few high level items to close out this video. First of all, the main thing you want to take away - When a visitor first comes to a site, it's going to take them just 0.2 - 0.3 seconds, they're going to make a decision as to whether they're going to stay on your site or visit another page.

Typically there are three to five page types, so a page type might be the home page, a category page, a product detail page, a checkout page, etc. There's really only typically 3-5 types of pages on a site. You can put an extensive amount of effort into those types of pages and see dramatic results from that. So another thing I would recommend is faster page load. This is pretty simple and fundamental.

Nowadays, hardware is such a low cost compared to software development, that you can instead of running on standard hard drives you can run on solid state drives for your servers. Maybe you can increase the RAM or CPU allocation for your servers which will, in turn, improve the load speed. You can also look at resources such as CDN and cloud hosting to scale up and down to improve that load time.

Lastly here just to wrap up, a lot of visitors that come to your site are not going to know what you were thinking when you built the site. They need to know where to go on the site in order to find things. So we highly recommend that you use compelling visuals. Typically somebody's going to bounce very quickly if they don't subconciously understand what to do next in the process. You can use tools like Optimizely to do A/B testing and multivariate testing and this is going to help you play with different options and experiment very cheaply without having to leverage an IT support or IT staff to be able to change out graphics and calls-to-action and optimize your site very quickly. All of this is typically very analytical, so you can really look at the data and make intelligent decisions about which changes you want to keep.

So thank you for watching. I hope you found this video helpful!

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