E-commerce Website for Distributor
The situation prior to our engagement and marketing challenges
Brian DeSpain, President of Global O-Ring and Seal, LLC. (GOR&S) contacted us because he was looking for a local (Houston, TX) industrial marketing firm to help him with an overall marketing strategy and implementation. GOR&S is a master distributor of O-Rings, Backup Rings, X-Rings, Cord Stock, and related seals. They supply to other distributors, MROs, and OEMs worldwide.
Our role initially was to be their outside marketing consultant but evolved into much more than that as we worked closely with Brian and his team.
Strategic and technical consulting
The existing website was a hybrid of Magento for e-commerce and WordPress for the front-end site. The site was integrated in the back-end with the client’s ERP system. The ERP integration had to stay because their entire operation was based on it.
The ERP integration and custom coding for the hybrid website were done by an outside IT/ERP consulting firm. We participated in conference calls with the consultants and our client to understand how all the pieces worked together. This required us to look at the proprietary coding and review screenshots from the ERP system.
This led to discovering several technical issues that the client was facing in maintaining the site. For example, the newsletter subscription form was broken and other static content did not display correctly. A big issue was that GOR&S had to go back to the IT consultants each time they needed any updates or changes done. This was time-consuming and expensive.
Next, we did an in-depth review of the top five competitors’ sites and emailed our findings to Brian. His comment…
“Interesting analysis. Seems like this was a good exercise”
We were also involved in consulting calls with the ERP vendor and several other consulting firms that specialized in integration. After all these discussions, we recommended completely rebuilding the front-end and e-commerce site using WordPress and finding an expert programmer who would do the ERP integration. Our recommendation was accepted by the client and we moved forward with redeveloping the entire e-commerce site.
This also included writing new content for messaging and positioning. At the outset, we realized the e-commerce portion couldn’t be built just with off-the-shelf WordPress plugins. We interviewed several programmers who were WordPress experts and recommended one who we felt would be the right fit. Brian was happy with our selection and we concentrated on creating content and developing the new site.
Messaging and site redesign
We crafted new messaging and copy for the Home page based on the conversations with our client and the competitive analysis we had done. We needed to quickly answer the What, Who and Why questions for visitors.
- The masthead answered what GOR&S does
- The headline defined who they sell to
- The first row provided key competitive advantages and differentiated the company – extensive inventory, same day shipping and online tools for finding the right O-ring from the expansive catalog
Bill DeSpain, Co-Founder/Advisor had this to say…
“You hit the nail on the head with that headline. It is a super strong statement to make, especially the ‘Trusted Supplier’ part.”
One of the major strengths of the company was its knowledgeable and experienced sales team. These people not only knew a lot about O-rings and sealing products, but they would regularly take the extra step to search for a rare or a special O-ring that a customer wanted that the client didn’t carry in stock. We wanted to bring this aspect to the forefront by implementing Live Chat to get such conversations started quickly instead of using the standard online form.
The middle half of the Home page has a Quick Quote form with a strong benefit statement. The company responds to RFQs within 24 hours which is faster than the competition. Featured products provide 1-click access to the online store and the reasons to do business with GOR&S.
Making e-commerce central to the new site was very important because the client wanted to aggressively grow his online sales. This was motivated not just by revenue but to free his people to devote more time to large specialized orders that required more of their time.
The bottom part of the Home page was set up with a blog for industrial content marketing, a newsletter subscription form integrated with MailChimp and an RFQ form. These were implemented for SEO and top of the funnel leads.
Typical product page with content
We created two kinds of product pages – static non-store pages and database-driven product details pages. Static pages required new copy that balanced the need between information and buying online. Here’s are examples of a static page and a store page.
These are important pages for product specifications and were some of the most visited pages according to Google Analytics. We created an overview page which acts as a Table of Contents page with links to individual pages for size charts. These pages required creating custom illustrations and importing CSV files for creating responsive tables.
The new site was launched in Q4 2017. Since then, the site has performed well according to Google Analytics. Instead of quoting site statistics, we’ll state the results for one of the important goals – grow online sales.
Online sales have grown by double digits every month in Q1 2018.