People & Skills  

The internet and industrial buyers/sellers

There has never been a better time for manufacturers to fully utilise the internet's potential, however, developing the right website is imperative
 Generating revenue through the internet

Written by Jacob Donnelly


With the Internet growing by leaps and bounds each year, more businesses are moving online to supplement their off-line revenue. However, for so many years, industrial businesses seemed to fight back against the Internet because a solution that benefited them was found lacking.


Fortunately, in recent years, there have been a growing number of businesses that have been utilising the Internet to generate revenue. And, its becoming more apparent that the Internet is actually a necessary tool for these businesses to grow in tough economic times.


Earlier this year, ThomasNet released their Industry Market Barometer which is a survey of buyers and sellers of industrial products and services. There were 3,370 professionals in North America surveyed where the majority of those surveyed were from small companies (fewer than 100 employees and less than $10 million in yearly revenue).


According to the IMB, 76 percent of respondents reported that their company’s website resulted in a significant contribution to their growth from July to December 2010. Of the group—referred to as Outperformers in the report—that had growth at the end of 2010 and had anticipated growth in the first half of 2011, 42 percent reported that their website contributed to new revenue growth.


Breaking the numbers down further, 35 percent of manufacturers and 40 percent of custom manufacturers revealed that having a website allowed them to see new revenue growth.


What the report has shown, though, is that the most important detail for businesses has been customer retention due to many going out of business. 52 percent of manufacturers and 34 percent of custom manufacturers found that their website allowed them to serve their customers better.


Unfortunately, there is still a lot that business owners can do with their websites. Of those surveyed, 42 percent admitted that there wasn’t enough detailed product information available on websites that they visited. Even more important, 47 percent disliked that there were few comparison features on websites that they purchased from.


Social media has yet to break into the realm of many of these industrial buyers, but there are a growing number that do believe it holds some importance. Listing the different types of social media, 50 percent of people admit that industry forums and 43 percent admit that blogs are the most important.


The Internet is obviously a way in which businesses can generate more revenue. Unfortunately, there are numerous pitfalls that these owners run in to when implementing their web strategies. By creating better websites that provide prices, more technical information and a method to compare products, website owners can hope to see an even greater increase in the amount of revenue generated from their websites.


Jacob Donnelly is an employee of ThomasNet, an industrial directory bringing buyers and sellers together. Their Web Solutions team is responsible for creating websites for industrial companies.  

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