The more native CAD downloads the manufacturer offers, the more engineers it will attract, delight and turn into loyal customers.
Customers like it when you make it easy for them to get exactly what they want. What they want is downloadable CAD models in their native CAD format.
The problem is: There are hundreds of different CAD platforms available, and engineers use different software across the industry. Providing native CAD downloads to all of them looks expensive, even for the largest manufacturers.
But with engineering customers using a range of different software (not to mention different versions, devices and browsers), manufacturers can’t afford to pick and choose which downloadable CAD formats to provide.
So, what’s the solution?
While engineers know exactly what I mean when referring to native and neutral CAD files, most marketers may not. First, let’s take a deeper dive into what that means.
Native CAD vs. Neutral Files
Looking at the two documents above, the information is the same, but the usability and impact is dramatically different. On the left is a Word document with enhanced readability features: colored headlines, images and different text sizes. These features make it easier for the reader to digest the information on the page. On the right is a generic TXT file, all those readability features go away, and the reader is left with just the plain text.
The difference here is similar to the difference a customer sees when she downloads a CAD model in her native CAD format (the Word doc) or in a neutral file (the text doc). This difference can be the enough to steer the buyer away from a manufacturer that provides product downloads in a neutral file format.
The Dilemma for Manufacturers
Engineers want to download and use CAD files in their native file format, and each has a different CAD preference. However, many companies don’t use the same CAD system as their primary competitor or the company next door. And at large corporations, engineers often use multiple, non-compatible CAD platforms internally.
For customers who use software other than what the manufacturer can provide native downloads for, they have to download their CAD models as a neutral file (aka: step file). The customer experience for these engineers simply doesn’t meet today’s standards, and they may choose to find their parts with a different manufacturer who can give them native CAD downloads.
If a component manufacturer limits themselves by only offering a few CAD formats, they are either limiting the customers they can provide data to, or limiting the accuracy they provide, or both.
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Provide Over 100 Native CAD Formats
Manufacturers build customer loyalty when they provide CAD downloads in the native format their customers use. With this mindset, the more native CAD downloads the manufacturer offers, the more customers it will attract and build rapport with.
For manufacturers selling parts to a diverse range of clients, each with a different CAD format preference, having the ability to provide instant digital downloads in different file formats is game-changing. With over 100 native CAD formats available, the parts configurator widens the manufacturer’s reach so it can delight even more customers.
By providing customers with the downloaded part in the native CAD they use, the manufacturer also creates a better digital customer experience for their customers, who are then more likely to return to that manufacturer for future business.
Customers like it when you make it easy for them. And when it’s easy to do business with your company, leads become customers who then become promoters.
Providing native downloads in the CAD formats engineers use is essential to growing your reach and building customer loyalty. But as CAD software upgrade each year, the number of browsers grow, and new devices hit the market, providing native CAD downloads in the newest format is challenging.
Manufacturers need a solution that enables them to provide customers with the downloads and online experience they need: the online configurator. No other digital solution can offer native downloads in as many file formats as our eCATALOGsolutions, and no other online catalog makes those downloads easily accessible and free.
What are your thoughts on native v. neutral file formats? Or, share with us how your business builds customer loyalty from your website.
Follow the blog series: Digital Customer Experience for Industrial Manufacturers
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