What Year Is This?


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It’s hard to tell when you see the results of a recent survey conducted jointly by Thomas Net and Google. More than 900 industrial buyers (your customers) and suppliers (you) shared their collective frustrations or ambivalence when it comes to the lack of information available to (or through) them on the Web. More accurately, they’re frustrated when it comes to Web sites like yours.

Look closely at these numbers:

  • 70 percent of buyers want detailed info on product applications and uses.
  • 58 percent want CAD drawings.
  • 74 percent want pricing info.
  • 67 percent want shipping info and costs.
  • 32 percent of suppliers promote their sites on Web sites (search engines, portals, and so on) while 80 percent of buyers say they consider those tools among their most important for researching sources.
  • 97 percent of buyers who research sources online took one or more of these actions: 1) 56 percent requested a quote; 2) 59 percent issued a purchase order; 3) 86 percent recommended or selected a new supplier based on online experience.

While many of the participants’ behaviors in this survey were related to product-centric searches, their actions mimic those of process-minded specifiers researching your business online. While CAD drawings or pricing may not be perfectly relevant to your goals, accept the fact that a great level of detail regarding your business is being sought. If you’re reluctant to develop your site, that’s fine. However, if you choose not to, it will cost you money. In fact, it probably already has.

That would be acceptable in 1996, but not today. Now is the time to prepare for the next downturn. Invest in your Web site, because it will only become more useful to potential customers. Use it to cultivate the stable of customers that can help you weather the next cycle.