|CLIENT||Bay Fastening Systems|
|LOCATION||Farmingdale, New York|
|PROJECT||Digital Commerce Growth|
For nearly 60 years, Bay Fastening Systems has steadily evolved with the marketplace. The engineered fastening and distribution business based out of Farmingdale in Long Island, NY, realized early on that if they wanted to continue to survive – and thrive – they had to change their business model and expand their offerings to meet customer needs.
With deep roots in Brooklyn and Long Island, Bay Fastening wanted to do something their competitors weren’t even close to considering: create an online storefront that would not only reach more buyers across the country, but also across the globe. Their forward thinking and entrepreneurial spirit helped them reach this goal, but only after foregoing trials and errors with multiple eCommerce service providers. It was in 2012, when they made their initial venture into digital commerce, that they realized their eCommerce platform didn’t offer the true functionality and experience their B2B buyers needed to shop and transact online.
“When we were looking to build our website, we made the same mistake as others did by going with partners who claimed to be B2B experts, but were really driven towards a B2C mentality,” explained Michael Eichinger, COO of Bay Fastening Systems. “We worked with two different eCommerce partners, but couldn’t find anybody to really fit our needs – that is, until we read an article about Unilog.”
Eichinger said he made a phone call to the author of the piece – a B2B industry consultant – to find out more about Unilog and their platform. “He told me Unilog was really the first true B2B eCommerce software to exist for wholesale distribution. That consultant’s insight and recommendation is what led us to make the move with Unilog.”
Bay Fastening Systems enlisted Unilog to do more than just implement their out-of-the-box digital commerce solution. They also asked the eCommerce vendor and content services provider to integrate the new storefront with their ERP system, Distribution One; enrich the content for their 100,000+ item product catalog; and create a better framework for their product taxonomy. As the only eCommerce vendor that provides both a leading eCommerce platform and robust, enriched product content, Unilog executed Bay Fastening’s digital transformation and made their new site live in 2015.
While Unilog was the third eCommerce company to work with Bay Fastening Systems, Eichinger said they are the only company they’ve had a successful partnership with during their digital commerce journey. “Unilog is constantly helping us to innovate and grow. I think that’s unique, in that our previous partners were not so interested in our success,” he asserted. “This is one in which we feel it’s a true partnership.”
Now, Bay Fastening has a powerful eCommerce platform equipped with the critical functionality B2B customers expect, as well as better product content and catalog classification to attract more buyers and increase search rankings. Unilog also helped facilitate a connection with online marketplaces via ChannelAdvisor to broaden the distributor’s reach. They’ve since opened sales to Amazon Business, eBay, Rakuten, Newegg, and other international platforms. Since their site launch, Bay Fastening has experienced tremendous growth as a direct result of the new online offerings – from increased revenue to operational cost savings.
To help Bay Fastening compete in international markets, Unilog also provided functionality that identifies what part of the world a customer is visiting their website from and then automatically alters the product pricing to display in that customer’s localized currency. According to Eichinger, “This functionality is not only unique, but the benefit to capture a global market through localization has indisputable benefits.”
In the first year they launched their new site, Eichinger said they experienced a 42% jump in online revenue, and that was without any marketing efforts to promote their site. The next year they nearly doubled that revenue. In addition to increased revenue year over year, Unilog has provided Bay Fastening with other impressive results:
- Web traffic increases 100% each month
- Customer online order entry takes 80% less time for employees to enter than standard orders, which require more attention and information gathering
- With all of logistics taken into account, 60% less staff time is needed to process a digital order
- While the number of staff stays consistent, the company revenue continues to grow, with sales up an additional 34% to date in 2019
- Gross profit has continued to surge since implementation: it grew 517% in 2015 and skyrocketed 1,056% in 2018
As with most companies, Bay Fastening spread out their total eCommerce investment over three years. However, Eichinger claimed if they had absorbed 100% of their total investment to date (which includes staff administration costs and third-party vendor expenditures for marketing and SEO) in the first year of their launch of the Unilog platform, they would have established a return on their investment by the end of their second year.
Having completed the core strategy of B2B eCommerce implementation, Eichinger said they now have the resources to explore improving analytics and site enhancements. They’ve also streamlined their processes and invested in new technology in warehouse software and logistics to double their capacity and continually improve their efficiency. “If it wasn’t for the ROI from our digital sales, we wouldn’t have had the resources to invest in other areas,” remarked Eichinger.
LEARNINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Bay Fastening Systems learned a lot from their digital journey. As trailblazers in their industry, they can attest that eCommerce is a total disruption of business for all B2B supply chains. But, as Eichinger maintained, eCommerce is vital for customer retention and the continued success of any business. “Vendors see much greater value in partners that embrace B2B digital commerce. Some of our vendors paid little attention to our company before we had our eCommerce site. Now we have vendors closing off direct business with other distributors and directing them to process all orders through us. Unilog’s eCommerce platform made that possible,” he said.
For those organizations looking to build or improve their online presence, Eichinger offered a few words of advice for greater ROI and success. First, an omnichannel approach to commerce is important. By providing an easy and consistent buying experience across every sales channel, you’ll meet the needs of your different customers, from those who prefer traditional phone-in orders to younger buyers who are digital natives relying solely on mobile devices.
Second, offer self-service as an option on your website. Buyers today don’t always shop during normal business hours. Those who prefer to shop whenever and wherever they like need a site that gives them all the tools, support, and functionality to do that. Likewise, buyers want the convenience of an account portal where they can access past orders, reorder items, and track orders without the help of a customer service associate.
Accessibility leads to Eichinger’s third recommendation, which is to provide total transparency on your website. Don’t create obstacles for customers by hiding their pricing and other customer-specific information. The more information you can provide on your website, the easier it will be for buyers to make a purchasing decision.
Bay Fastening System’s digital journey started out bumpy, but with their strong partnership with Unilog, it has become a much smoother endeavor that has brought their organization unbelievable rates of return. “I can firmly state that the overall benefits of establishing a digital strategy for any company undoubtedly opens new doors for prosperity and the ROI is inevitable,” affirmed Eichinger. “The longer a company waits, they will watch their competitors embrace technology, and the speed in which ROI is achieved will continuously be reduced.”
About Bay Fastening Systems
Founded in 1962, Bay Fastening Systems started with modest beginnings in Brooklyn, New York. After 50 years of growth and success in the northeast, the engineered fastening and distribution business launched Bay Supply in 2012, an online marketing division of Bay Fastening Systems. Two years later, they purchased a new facility in Farmingdale, Long Island, where they continue to be a vital partner in supply logistics for industrial supply distributors around the globe. https://www.baysupply.com/
Unilog is a global technology company that delivers powerful, affordable eCommerce solutions for the B2B marketplace. Our cloud-based eCommerce platform and product data enrichment services help distributors, manufacturers, and wholesalers increase online sales, reduce cost to serve, and enhance their digital channel. Unilog is an ISO 9001:2008- and ISO 8000-certified company with North American headquarters outside of Philadelphia, PA and international headquarters in Bangalore, India. For more information, visit www.unilogcorp.com.