Just like in retail, when a customer walks out the door it is never a good thing.
Imagine for a moment that you’re going to your local office supply store to buy a new desk chair.
You walk in the store, ask an associate to point you toward the chairs, and meander to the correct aisle. There are a dozen options and you need to make some decisions—High or low back? Leather, fabric, or mesh? What color? Lumbar support? Price point?
After reading the specs that are posted for each chair you call over the clerk and ask to see the floor models—you’ve narrowed it down to two or three options but you just want to sit in them and see which is most comfortable.
But the clerk’s response is surprising:
“Oh! You can buy a chair here, but we don’t have any assembled floor models, so if you’d like to try them out you’ll have to go to our partner showroom down the street.”
She gives you directions and you set off down the sidewalk, willing to invest a little extra time and effort to make an informed purchase. But let’s say the directions are bad, you get lost, the showroom employees are rude, and it’s crowded with other customers so you have to wait just to sit in a few chairs. This has now become a frustrating ordeal and you’re probably pretty disenchanted, to say the least. To top it all off you have to walk back to the original store to make the purchase.
On your walk back, you happen past another office supply store and you see the chair you want sitting on the showroom floor and a smiling associate ready to ring up a purchase. Don’t you think you’ll happily abandon store #1 and make your purchase at the one-stop-shop?
This scenario probably sounds pretty ridiculous, but it happens in digital commerce all the time.
A crucial component of an industrial manufacturer’s website is its interactive part configurator tool. Customers want to be able to digitally configure parts and test designs before they can make confident, educated purchases.
In a 2015 case study on e-Commerce KPI by Wolfgang Digital, CEO Alan Coleman concluded, “if you can increase pages viewed and time on site it will push up your conversion rate.” (You can read Coleman’s summary on Moz or the full study here)
What does this mean for you? If you want to increase sales or conversions, keep clients on your site through the entire process.
As a manufacturer, imagine the potential for distraction and confusion if your website is sending customers to a third-party site for digital part configuration.
Here are 4 possible landmines:
1. You can’t manage your message. The partner site has different branding and a different kind of user interface. Worse, it may have ads for your competitors or other features that draw customers away from your business.
2. The configurator site isn’t user-friendly. Do you trust that your customers will have a good experience on the partner site? If the interface is clunky or if their server is down, YOUR sales hang in the balance.
3. The configurator site doesn’t integrate with online store. If there’s any trial-and-error involved in their digital design, the customer may find themselves bouncing back and forth between sites, making sure every part in their “shopping cart” matches the configuration they’re testing.
4. They get lost on the way back to your site. Once the design is tested and they’re ready to make a purchase, they have to be redirected back to the manufacturer. Is this seamless? Was their progress saved? Who knows.
Why would you put your customers in the hands of another business midway through the sale?
CADENAS PARTsolutions offers a better way withtheir eCATALOG platform:
This technology uses an embedded configurator directly on your page, using “Iframe” or “lightbox” code to flawlessly integrate the interactive part configurator tools into your online presence. There are no confusing redirects, so your customers can build and test part designs right there on your site. (The dangers of redirects have been well documented, for example here and here.)
Digital commerce is challenging. There is an overwhelming amount of information available to your customers, and even the slightest glitch in their purchase experience could send them running for your competitors, who are just a click away. Creating a user-friendly, streamlined customer experience is a must, and PARTsolutions has the tools to help.
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