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Industrial Buyers Don’t Always Find What They’re Looking For on the Web

Industrial buyers seeking everything from nuts and bolts to sophisticated manufacturing equipment are turning to the Internet nearly twice as often as offline information sources, according to a study of industrial buying and selling behaviors. However, many industrial suppliers do not ensure potential customers can find their sites nor provide the kind of information buyers are seeking, the research indicates.

According to a nationwide study of more than 900 industrial purchasers and suppliers conducted by ThomasNet.com and Google:

  • 70 percent of buyers expect to find detailed information on product applications and uses, but only half of all sellers' sites (53 percent) provide it
  • 58 percent seek CAD drawings and plans, but only a 13 percent of sellers make them available
  • 74 percent expect to find product prices, but only 23 percent of company Web sites offer them
  • 67 percent want to see shipping information and costs, but fewer than 17 percent of suppliers provide this on their sites

Making sure prospective buyers are able to find suppliers' sites is half the battle according to the research. While 55 percent of industrial suppliers say they devote a major portion of their marketing budgets to their companies' Web sites, they pay far less attention to building buyer awareness and driving online traffic to them.

"Industrial buyers will guide sellers to the money if sellers ensure their Web sites think first of their user, the role they're in and the information they require to satisfy that role and put that information at their buyers' fingertips," concludes Anthea Stratigos, co-founder and CEO, Outsell, a research and advisory firm.

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