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Is Your B2B Industrial Website Ro/Po ready?

I keep hearing the same thing

Recently, I’ve been having conversations with both marketing and sales professionals in the industrial manufacturing sector. I’m meeting folks at shows like the Industrial Marketing Summit and IME and hearing a common refrain. It’s usually something to the effect of, “My buyers don’t want to purchase online.” Or, “My products can’t be sold online.”

Research reveals a different story

This is a risky perspective for manufacturers according to a recent Gartner survey of B2B buyers,

“...when buyers were familiar with a product or service, 64% preferred a 100% digital buying experience.”

That’s a lot of people wanting to make complex product and technology buying decisions online. Yet, we’re still seeing brands that are skeptical about using the web to offer online experiences to both customers and sales professionals. Research suggests this reluctance is misplaced and dangerous for industrial brands.

Consider this finding from PwC:

“Unlike traditional online retailers, most manufacturers will likely sell through a mix of purchasing models including pure direct online sales (research and buy online) and Ro/Po (research online, purchase offline).”

Researching online to buy offline is now the minimum

That Ro/Po model is what these skeptical industrial brands need to consider first. It fits right into our guide, Eight Stages of B2B Industrial Website Evolution. This means a manufacturing brand’s website needs to be at a Stage 3 at a bare minimum (have PDF product sheets available for download) and, more likely, they need to be at a Stage 4 (a full product catalog available with search and browse capability).

Many manufacturer websites are only at a Stage 2 with brochure-style websites. Moving up the stages can seem daunting and expensive. Though at Solspace we know this doesn’t mean you need to rebuild your entire website. Using a progressive, composable approach we can augment your current website by including data you already have from ERP and inventory systems. You may even just start with your simpler offerings online and not need to put your entire product catalog on at once.

Just take it step by step with confidence

Enterprise solutions offer many of these capabilities and more. And, they probably work. But, the time and money needed to implement them is high and costly. It’s better to stick with your current platform and build complexity from there.

It’s all about the steady 20-mile march. Just keep moving step by step, progressively with intention (and measurement). We already have Solspace clients doing this with great success. If you do, you're sure to meet your buyers where they already want to be - on your website.

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