Introducing a New Low-Effort, High-Reward Approach to E-Commerce
You might not realize it yet, but many of your best customers are shopping around for their parts online. Your competitors’ customers are too. Maybe they’re on a tight deadline and checking to see who has a particular part available. They could also be comparing prices or looking for convenient pickup locations near their next job site. The fact is, today’s buyers expect online shopping convenience.
If that sounds like bad news, here’s the good news: there’s now a way for independent distributors to run e-commerce from a single common repository of manufacturers’ data. This subscription-based e-commerce approach practically manages itself because any changes made by participating manufacturers, such as new product images, specification corrections or updates to installation instructions, show up automatically.
The Truth About Data for B2B E-Commerce
What prevented so many wholesale distributors from making the leap to e-commerce in the past was the overwhelming hassle of dealing with manufacturer data. Collecting, cleaning and maintaining current product information was simply too much of a headache.
If you’re a supplier or rep for multiple manufacturers, then you know how manufacturers use many different terms and abbreviations to describe products and attributes that are essentially the same. The wholesale distribution industry is notorious for wildly diverse data categories and specification formats between manufacturers. In fact, representing 30 or 40 lines often means dealing with 30 or 40 different methods of describing similar types of products.
For most family-run and independently operated distributors, the process of cleaning and standardizing manufacturer data so it all fits nicely into an e-commerce or CRM system is laborious and cost-prohibitive. However, the cost to complete a traditional brick-and-mortar sale is also high, and so is the risk of losing sales to competitors’ e-commerce sites.
Standardized Manufacturer Data for E-Commerce
The Grand Anar information exchange network was developed to change the data sharing paradigm. Grand Anar automates the process of standardizing manufacturer data so it can be shared easily along the supply chain. In other words, Grand Anar eliminates the challenge of dealing with inconsistent data from multiple manufacturers. According to Leanne Gordon, partner at Glacier Supply Group, “For example, all BTU measurements look like 24,000 or 36,000 rather than a mix of formats (like 24k or 24000 or 24,000). This saves us hours of data cleaning and data standardization for our website.”
Note that Grand Anar is an industry standardization product data platform, not a Product Information Management (PIM) system. This is important, because not many distributors have the technical capability to leverage data syndication from manufacturers’ PIM. Instead, distributors can securely log in to Grand Anar and access product information from multiple manufacturers, without needing to program their PIM (if they even have PIM) to each manufacturer source.
More Profit Without More Work
Anarus has solved a decade-old problem, taking the high cost and hassle out of sharing quality product information along the supply chain. No more inconsistent data formats or expensive database outsourcing and no more waiting for spreadsheets of manufacturers’ product information.
Wholesale distribution companies who combine Grand Anar with another Anarus product, Stellar e-commerce, can realize profitable results. With a Stellar e-commerce subscription as low as $500 per month, each location can increase revenues by $250K-300K a year. That represents an almost 50 times return on investment without adding any new employees.
Other benefits of e-commerce beyond sales revenue include:
- Open for business 24X7. Easy online access gives customers confidence that they’ve found the right products, in the right location and in the quantity they need. They don’t have to call or visit the location to find out.
- New markets, extended reach. Unlike old times when a contractor went to only one distributor’s physical location, today’s contractor shops around many distributor’s locations.
- Self-serve customer service. Instead of calling for products specs, spec sheets, installation instructions, owner’s manuals, warranty information, parts diagrams or whatever detailed information they need, contractors are saving themselves (and your customer service team) time by getting it all online.
Surprisingly Easy E-Commerce for Wholesale Distributors
The most common question distributors ask about e-commerce for wholesale distribution is, “How much work will I have to do?” The answer is, once they’ve decided which SKUs they want to include, there’s not much work left for them to do. Here are a few other Stellar e-commerce features that make e-commerce easy for distributors:
- Works with most ERP systems, as long as they have APIs to connect.
- Displays product contract prices and quantity available.
- Allows products and details to be displayed with or without ordering capabilities.
- Supports retail/walk-in customers without accounts.
Imagine never maintaining product data for your e-commerce site. That’s the beauty of Stellar e-commerce. It is the only e-commerce product running directly from manufacturer data in the Cloud, always updated with the latest product information from participating manufacturers. That means your customers see only current, up to date information on your site. Even if they’re shopping around online, you can keep them coming back to buy from you by giving them access to online product information they can trust.