This week, Daniel Loeschen of MXD Process has returned! This week we got to ask him a bit more about eCommerce for industrial manufacturers, because MXD made a point to build their online catalog very early in the digital marketing game.
1. STARTING THEIR ECOMMERCE SITE
The company started their eCommerce with Magento, which was useful but had almost too many features compared to what they needed.
This year, they switched to Shopify – which, according to Daniel, is far easier to use if you’re in B2B.
“No one else was doing ecommerce in our industry, and we did believe that people would buy expensive items without dealing with a salesperson.”
Contrary to popular belief, the transition in its entirety didn’t happen overnight…nor did it need to.
They only started small, with some simple propellers that were easy to order; and they invested heavily in SEO.
The beginning was slow, of course…but this year, at long last, the B2B market has really started to catch up.
2. ADJUSTING THEIR ECOMMERCE SITE
Since they started building their eCommerce platform, MXD has conducted excessive research to identify where it needs adjustment…but most importantly, they’ve studied and responded to customer feedback and website analytics.
At one point, their data revealed that the average visit time for users on the website was twenty minutes! That meant they probably couldn’t find the product or information they were hunting for.
“How can we get people to spend less time on our site, but a more productive less-time? The last thing we want is someone spending 25 minutes on our site and then just bouncing.”
The more critical or expensive the purchase, the more research customers will want to do before buying. As a result, MXD decided to start building more educational resources, adding testimonials, and creating helpful content.
Adding images also helped; sometimes visitors didn’t know the proper term for the tool they needed, but they knew it once they spotted its picture.
Now their average site visit lasts for ten minutes…but is far more productive!
3. TRUST IS EVERYTHING IN ECOMMERCE
Next year is projected to be even more productive for MXD from an eCommerce standpoint, which is hardly a surprise.
They’ve continued to add more and more products to their eCommerce platform…and even further, they’ve ensured that their reputation (both online and as an industrial manufacturer) is well-trusted.
Investing heavily in cybersecurity has also been important to building customer confidence.
Customers now trust MXD enough that the site sees multiple purchases every week, some for parts that cost thousands of dollars.
The biggest single transaction they’ve ever made also occurred this year.
“One person spent about $18k straight through [our] ecommerce cart… People really are willing to spend that much online when they’re confident.”
That’s why it’s important not only to start building eCommerce, but to continue investing in it and making efforts to improve.
MXD has teams that are dedicated to constant website and SEO improvement; social media; trade shows; and email marketing. Of course, that’s still no excuse not to have sales representatives, too.
Sales teams aren’t erased by eCommerce. Many buyers still have questions or want to build a relationship.
No matter what websites can do, sometimes customers want to talk to real people instead of doing research. Chatbots, personalized to each page of the site, are one way that MXD makes sure to follow up with any visitors.
“You can bring as many people to your website as you want, but if you’re not taking care of them on the sales end, it can be useless.”
4. WHERE TO START WITH ECOMMERCE
Ecommerce for industrial manufacturers doesn’t have to start with the whole farm.
If you feel you can’t yet invest in one part-time employee to build your site or study your analytics, Daniel recommends installing a heat map to begin with, just to see what visitors are doing on your site.
Then, ever so slowly, start providing a few simple online purchase options for your customers.
“You don’t have to put all 2,000 products online from day one… I think people feel like they have to do that, but you can start smaller.”
Learn from those interactions what you should change, based on site visitor activity.
It’ll take a lot of pivoting, but eventually you’ll figure out what works. Then you can start expanding your online selection.
First nail it, then scale it!
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