Edmund Optics—with 76 years in business as a specialty products manufacturer and about 20 years in e-commerce—has learned a thing or two about branding and merchandising online.

Edmund Optics, a manufacturer and marketer of optics and optical components to various industries and government agencies since 1942, recently took its expertise in product engineering and its long experience in B2B e-commerce to redesign EdmundOptics.com. The e-commerce site now provides a clearer branding and merchandising experience for individual as well as corporate buyers, says senior director of marketing Scott Bass.

We wanted to showcase our product engineers as subject matter experts for individual and corporate buyers, but also give business buyers the specialized tools they need to place very high-end orders.
Scott Bass, senior director, marketing
Edmund Optics

Scott Bass, senior director, marketing, Edmund Optics

Edmund carries an online inventory of 30,000 SKUs, featuring such products as multi-element lenses, lens coatings, imaging systems and optomechanical equipment, and generates annual B2B web sales in the “neighborhood of $50 million to $70 million,” Bass says. Historically, the company’s primary customers have been individual buyers from scientists and do-it-yourself microscope builders to big and small research labs.

But since the 1980s, Edmund has also focused on making and distributing industrial optics and related products and serving as a key source of information and services for optics application integration, custom lens and coating design services. With two distinct sets of customers, Edmund needed a better designed website that showcased its product inventory and expertise to two different audiences, Bass says. But Edmund also needed the new site to provide both individual customers and corporate buyers with one universal e-commerce experience, making it “easy and convenient for buyers to complete a purchase,” he adds.

“We wanted to showcase our product engineers as subject matter experts for individual and corporate buyers, but also give business buyers the specialized tools they need to place very high-end orders,” he says.

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After a year of development in which Edmund did virtually all of the work in-house, it debuted its redesigned e-commerce site in July with new and updated features: faster search, enhanced images and more content, among other upgrades. For both individual and corporate buyers that need help in finding and sizing the right products, a new product wizard helps users choose such product categories as mirrors, lenses or windows, find and select the right product specifications, then place the order. For business buyers, the product wizard also features an option to request a quote.

“The redesign was meant to get the word out that the site makes it easy to buy from us whether the customer is a hobbyist or a corporate manager with a highly complex order. Along with a new product wizard, the newly updated EdmundOptics.com features deeply updated content, especially for Edmund’s imaging tools; laser, defense and infrared optics; and advanced optics for medical devices used to diagnose such conditions as brain, eye, and blood disorders, genetic disorders, or hormone imbalances in the brain.

From a branding merchandising perspective, EdmundOptics.com was redesigned to showcase the manufacturer’s deep and global expertise on all things optics. The redesigned site also features live chat and enables buyers to receive help from a network of more than 150 software engineers to research, plan, build and buy industrial optics products.

“It’s all about showcasing our product experience and range of products,” Bass says.

The website also features a more extensive technical library that includes more videos, application integration notes and technical tools for product design. Edmund doesn’t give out many details on e-commerce sales, but expects the redesigned site to help it grow online. “We expect to see a 1% to 2% lift in e-commerce from the redesign,” Bass says.

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It’s also too early to measure return on investment from the website update. But in the end, the redesign wasn’t meant to drive web sales, Bass says, but primarily to brand Edmund Optics better to a wide range of customers in the United States and in China, France, Germany, Israel, Japan, the United Kingdom, Singapore, South Korea, Israel and Switzerland.

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