To paraphrase an old saying, for SustainableSupply.com and other B2B companies selling online, the devil is in the detail pages. SustainableSupply.com, an online distributor of “green” building materials, cleaning supplies and MRO (maintenance, repair and operations) products, realized that product discovery begins on the product detail page. “For us, this is the new home page,” said Brian Fricano, CEO.
When SustainableSupply.com embarked on a recent mission to retool product detail pages the first step was to evaluate such pages on hundreds of other companies’ websites. The company was driven by a simple strategy. “The purchasing agent by day is on the web shopping at night. They have all of the great expectations of night shopping in the daytime at work,” Fricano told attendees at the B2BecNews Executive Seminar in April in Chicago. The seminar, which also featured speakers from several other manufacturers and distributors, was the first in a series of B2BecWorld executive seminars produced by B2BecNews publisher Vertical Web Media.
Product page upgrades included adding the complete name of the product and large images. To better control image quality SustainableSupply.com is producing some of the photography itself. Other improvements include an automated reorder function, customer reviews, and displaying country of origin and shipping information, Fricano said.
SustainableSupply.com wanted to provide full product descriptions, beginning with a detailed paragraph at the top followed by boiled-down bullet points and product specifications. The company’s approach to the descriptions has been somewhat fearless. “We try to write unique content for all 1 million products,” Fricano said.
Unique to SustainableSupply.com is its focus on “green” products, those deemed environmentally friendly. Not all products qualify, however, so the company created a badging system to readily identify such products as being green.
Just looking like a consumer-focused website isn’t enough, Fricano cautioned. “We want to be a source of information for our customers,” he said. “Providing a B2C experience is important, but it’s not enough.”
That’s why SustainableSupply.com includes product data the company hopes goes beyond the usual. For example, a product page for a soap dispenser includes a list of soap brands that can be used in the dispenser, and their prices. The page features links to other products from the dispenser’s manufacturer and links to categories of related products, such as restroom.
Materials that make up the dispenser appear in a grid format, along with what other customers have bought, and a brief video taken with a mobile phone, that shows what’s in the dispenser box, Fricano said. Some product pages also list repair parts and accessories.
Other online resources include side-by-side product comparisons, how-to guides and energy requirements. On the customer account side, the website provides self-service functions identifying open invoices, how much credit a customer has used and still has available, open quotes, reorders and recurring deliveries.
SustainableSupply.com, No. 202 in the 2017 B2B E-Commerce 300, also operates two niche webstores that are driving sales growth. They are Eyewashdirect.com, targeting schools and businesses, and Portablehandwashing.com, which sells to food stands. Both sell non-green products.
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