The Atero Blog

How Manufacturers are Responding to Trends in Online Research

Posted by Caron Beesley on Jun 23, 2017 7:30:00 AM

Today, we’re all doing more online research before making purchases, whether it’s dog food or a new car, the Internet is today’s go-to library for product info. But it’s not just consumers who are researching purchases online. Whether searching for food service equipment or janitorial supplies, B2B buyers and procurement officers are increasingly exploring options online before they buy. 

The trouble is, the product information that they find online isn’t always comprehensive, relevant, or even trustworthy. Just look at the data:

  • 64% of B2B buyers research half or more of their work purchases online[1].
  • Buyers place a high value on trustworthiness of their content. 95% are open to considering vendor content as trustworthy[2].
  • When visiting a vendor’s website to conduct research, the single most influential aspect is “relevant content that speaks directly to [my] company.”[3]
  • The first-place buyers go are supplier websites and search engines.[4]
  • Buyers have a strong preference for supplier websites. 83% of procurement officers go to supplier websites but are not satisfied by the information they find.[5]

If your content isn’t trustworthy or the information you provide doesn’t meet the needs of your buyers, you’ve got a problem. Because as sure as eggs are eggs, B2B buyers will find another manufacturer’s website or dealer website that has more information – just not on your products!

Why Manufacturer’s Struggle with Product Data

40285456_s (1).jpgIt’s not that manufacturers don’t have product information to share, it’s that their data infrastructure tends to be a mess.

As we discussed in a prior blog post, data is everywhere. Catalogs, images, technical specs, warranty information, even video. Some of it resides with an engineer, other times with a sales rep or marketing. Some of it is up-to-date, some of it isn’t. There’s no consistency, centralization, or control over any of it. 

Here are a couple of examples of how this becomes problematic:

  1. A Dealer Needs Information about Your Products for their Online Store

A dealer approaches you and says they are selling online to better showcase their inventory and meet demand for after-hours shopping. They need the latest product information that you have. How do you respond? How do you gather comprehensive information for your entire inventory and share it with your channels when it isn’t stored or managed centrally? Is the information even accurate?

  1. A Buyer is Looking for Information about Your Products and Enters a Black Hole

Consider another scenario. A buyer is looking to research the latest reviews of a commercial range that you happen to sell. It could be a piece of medical equipment, food service equipment, or the latest wet vacuum to clean the office floor. They find themselves on Google and see that you manufacture this product. They click on your website and find there’s no product information or what’s there lacks detail. They try another route and search Google for a dealer who stocks your products. Bingo! However, when they navigate to the dealer website, yet again, the product information is lacking. What do they do next? They move on in search of another manufacturer. Because of your data problem, the chance of a sale just went down.

Aggregate, Organize, Share – In Real-Time

But how can manufacturers organize and make all the data they produce useful in a world of online research? The key is real-time, accurate product information.

Let me explain. If end buyers had access to a platform that integrates and continuously updates product data directly from food and restaurant equipment and supplies manufacturers, this would help manufacturers meet consumer demand for digital content. Such a solution would automate product information delivery and ensure the dissemination of content across a variety of channels. With it you can:

  • Share accurate, up-to-the minute data with dealers who seamlessly add your products to their online stores.
  • Feed your data into buying group websites.
  • Enable sales to easily access and share the latest product information from anywhere – on any device.
  • Sell your products through specific group purchasing organizations (GPOs).

The possibilities are endless.

It’s not just buyers who expect a digital experience. Product managers and marketers need and expect access to user-friendly tools that let them manage the product information with accuracy and transparency, so that they can get products into the hands of customers quickly.

If your data is a mess or you’re struggling to organize it, learn about how Atero's suite of products can help you meet demand and get in front of more of today’s B2B buyers.

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[1] Forrester / Internet Retailer Q1 2017 B2B Buy-Side Online Survey

[2] Demand Gen Report 2016 Content Preference Survey

[3] Demand Gen 2016 B2B Buyers Report

[4] Accenture Interactive – Point of View Series 2014 State of B2B Procurement Study

[5] Accenture Interactive – Point of View Series 2014 State of B2B Procurement Study

 

 

Topics: Data Services