Now more than ever distributors need an online storefront and Unilog can help with FastTrack
The COVID-19 virus has single-handedly changed the way we live: from how we work and play, to how we shop, learn, and interact. Consequently, we have been forced to change our behaviors and find alternative methods to help get through this medical and economic crisis.
Self-quarantines have all but eliminated face-to-face interaction in the marketplace, including the wholesale distribution sector, causing some businesses to operate at lower capacity and others to close their front counters or showrooms completely. With a lack of in-person buying opportunities, people have been turning to the Internet for their product needs. That’s good news for distributors with an eCommerce offering, but bad news for those who haven’t made a digital transformation. In fact, in a recent survey conducted by Unilog, 80% of B2B companies that have an eCommerce site say their digital channel is performing the same or better than it was prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Scott Frymire, SVP of Marketing at Unilog, contends these digitally enabled distributors, manufacturers, and hardlines retailers are providing buyers what they need during this dilemma: access to their full product catalog, online purchasing tools, and convenient pick-up and delivery options. “The reality is these businesses are more equipped to weather this storm than their non-digital counterparts,” asserts Frymire.
If you’re a small to mid-sized distributor or manufacturer who lacks a digital presence, don’t fool yourself into thinking business will bounce back once the outbreak is contained. This pandemic is going to permanently change the way people shop – regardless if they are consumers or B2B buyers. Now is the time to create a digital branch to service your existing customers and reach new buyers. While a full eCommerce site implementation is the most beneficial option for your customers and your business, it requires a larger investment and few months to get up and running. Realizing that time is of the essence, Unilog has created a new, low-cost eCommerce solution called FastTrack to get your business online in as little as two days.
As a leading eCommerce solutions and content services provider for the B2B marketplace, Unilog offers small to midmarket businesses two affordable ways to create a strong brand presence online. If you’re looking for a full eCommerce platform implementation to gain a market advantage, our all-in-one software platform comes complete with an inbuilt PIM, CMS, powerful site search, back-end system integrations, and flexible checkout options. If you’re not ready to make the leap to a full-service digital commerce offering but want to make your product catalog visible to buyers now, our new FastTrack program is the perfect way to get started in the digital arena.
How FastTrack works
Unilog’s newest offering gives you the ability to publish your comprehensive catalog online so that buyers can browse and search your products. Customized with your corporate colors and logo, the FastTrack platform provides helpful functionality like a search bar and filtering capability so visitors can find your products easily. While the site is not transactional, buyers can add items to their shopping cart and submit their online order to you. Once their request is generated, you can review the order, contact the buyer to confirm product availability and complete the transaction. Customers can choose if they want the products delivered to them or they can arrange to pick them up curbside at your location.
The FastTrack web offering is powered by Unilog CX1, our next-generation digital commerce platform that provides more scalability, flexibility, and a better user experience. With its low cost and rapid implementation, FastTrack is the perfect solution to help you serve customers during these current market challenges. The FastTrack alternative will not only keep you connected with your customers, it will also create quick wins for your business.
Big benefits out of the gate
With FastTrack, your website will be up and running in a matter of days so you can start taking advantage of these additional benefits a digital presence offers:
- Provides a digitally enabled selling tool for your reps – With COVID-19 forcing many of your staff members to work from home, your sales team is unable to make in-person sales calls and properly serve customers. But, with your product catalog online, reps can direct customers to your site and help them find the products they need. Plus, if your product data is enriched with specs, images, and attributes, sales can easily access this information from the site to answer buyer questions.
- Leads potential buyers to you easier – A website exposes your brand to a much wider audience, and greater visibility leads to increased site traffic and potential new customers. The product data in your online catalog feeds the needs of search engines that are looking for relevant information to help with a buyer’s Internet search. The more pertinent information your website offers, the higher your site will rank in search results. This type of search engine equity is worth its weight in gold.
- Exposes customers to more of your products – Some of your current customers may not realize the breadth and depth of your product offerings, so having your entire catalog available on your website gives them the opportunity to shop your different product categories and find additional items they need but didn’t know you carried. As a result, you may start seeing a higher average order value (AOV) on your website than on offline or traditional orders.
Now, more than ever, distributors need an online presence. If you can’t take the plunge and build a full eCommerce site right now, then consider getting your feet wet with Unilog FastTrack. Our rapid-response solution is available at a low monthly subscription rate with a one-year commitment. Then, once you’ve had a chance to see how beneficial a digital presence can be to your business, you may choose to upgrade to a more complete eCommerce solution.
If you’re a member of a buying group that has a master product catalog with product data, images, and clear taxonomies, we can import your items online even faster. Affiliated Distributors (AD) content subscribers have an added advantage because, as AD’s eCommerce and content services partner, we supply and support their entire eContent catalog. For most AD subscribers, your enriched product data – including your customized content – can be uploaded to your site in a day.
Frymire says it’s clear this COVID-19 crisis is changing the entire landscape of the B2B marketplace. “I don’t think anyone believes that, once this passes, things will go back to normal. Buyer behaviors will forever be changed from this pandemic, which means distributors must evolve to meet their new needs and stay relevant in the market.”
Don’t wait for the next crisis to arise to make your digital transformation; act now so you can serve your customers today and be better equipped for the future. Contact Unilog to get on the FastTrack!