As a marketer that has spent 10 plus years working in the construction/manufacturing space, I am used to hearing, “Our customers don’t use the internet….” I can tell you that this is no longer accurate as the industry continues to evolve. In researching our company’s website redesign, we learned a lot about how people are searching for products, how often they search, what they are seeking, and what sites are getting the most traction from searches. Today, more than ever, your website should make it easy for your customers to find what they need without having to pick up the phone, or worse, send a fax.
We sell many Plumbing & PVF products to thousands of companies throughout the world. They aren’t “sexy”, but the items we sell are very important to the companies who buy them and will likely remain necessary for decades to come. It’s a great position to be in…so why do so many of us make it difficult for our customers to view, compare and purchase products online? Here are some things to keep in mind as to why you should update your company’s website.
- User experience. Time is money – let people find what they need quickly and be able to purchase it easily. Understanding how people are searching is key to setting up your website in an easy-to-use fashion. Once you know that, you can have the taxonomy of your search set up and categorized in a way that helps people find things quickly be it by part number, material, item name or solution. Also, don’t overload your home page with too much information that makes it hard to navigate and try to avoid too many distracting pop-ups.
- Clean design with simple navigation. When looking at site navigation, consider your user’s goal. They should be able to educate themselves on your company, what products you offer, be able to purchase products, and contact someone if necessary. This could be achieved in a navigation as simple as About Us, Contact Us, Our Products, Solutions, Find a Rep, Blog/News. From there, you can drill down using the search we spoke about earlier or drilling down from top-level categories.
- Use of images and video. This can be installations shots/videos, video blogs, product images, company photos, warehouse/facility images, etc.
- What is the best software program for my website? WordPress and Magento have made it easy to build professional website quicker and easier than ever before. They also allow your internal teams to easily update the information on your website without paying a third party for every minor change you may need. Each solution offers plug ins that easily add features to help with blogs, SEO, security, forms, tax calculations, ecommerce and so on. Less expensive off the shelf solutions geared toward smaller businesses are also available.
- Incorporating E-commerce. We will likely go into this for our customers in a webinar or another blog post, but before you start down this incredibly expensive endeavor, do your research, or hire a consultant (we did a blend) who has extensive experience with ecommerce platforms. There are many off the shelf solutions that will ‘wow you’ with features you may think you cannot live without -but you can. Understand your goal. Will your customers be purchasing one-off products? Will they be uploading previous orders, will they be ordering at all or just checking prices? There are many directions to go and if you start down the wrong path, you could be locked into a system that does too much, or too little and find yourself committed to a multi-year contract. One-time, ongoing, and consulting fees can also add up. Survey your customers to understand what they are looking for!
- Sharing your content with other Websites. You may also find that you need a solution that can syndicate your product information to other buying group sites or media outlets. This is a feature that isn’t standard with many off the shelf solutions and would require additional software.
- Aligning your website with other company systems. If you have ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) or CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems, you will also want to have those systems connect to your website. There are ways to do this with APIs and other Web hooks.
All these ideas may seem overwhelming, especially when you are not familiar with the terminology or technology. Finding someone who can guide you could save you money and a lot of time. At Matco-Norca, we learned how people interact with our current site and can map out solutions for going forward. Your website is an extremely important piece of your business and should not only reflect the benefits of your brand, but should be easy to use, understand, and navigate!
Matco-Norca is a leading supplier of globally sourced, code-compliant Plumbing & PVF products for use in residential, commercial, and industrial applications. We are one of largest independent sourcing companies and market Matco-Norca branded fittings, pipe nipples, valves and plumbing specialties to wholesalers serving contractors and municipalities throughout the USA. Over the years, we established our company as “the” leader in providing quality products with exceptional value and service.
About SVF Flow Controls
Established in 1982, SVF Flow Controls is a recognized leader in flow control technology. They offer a full range of superior-quality engineered valves, actuators and controls for unique applications such as high pressure and high purity. Designed of exotic alloys, SVF Flow Controls serves many industries including chemical, biotech, semiconductor, pharmaceutical, petro-chem, food & beverage, oil & gas, refining, etc.