5 ways to sell more industrial automation parts online
For many years we have seen a tremendous increase in the value of the e-commerce segment, and it is now too big to ignore when creating sales strategies. In the United States alone, it occupied 13% of the B2B commerce market in 2019, and that figure is projected to grow to 17% by 2023. The industrial parts sales business, which has been growing at its own pace so far, can no longer remain indifferent to e-commerce. Not when physical meetings are hampered, forcing transactions to be done remotely.
So what can be done to increase online sales of industrial parts?
There is no single path that leads directly to great financial results. However, some simple techniques can get you closer to that goal.
1. Let yourself be found.
The vast majority of potential buyers search for spare parts using public search engines such as Google or Bing. That is why it is very important to properly position your website. Above all, focus on specific key phrases. A company in need of specific items will know exactly what they are looking for, so already by choosing keywords and using multi-word phrases will filter out a huge number of vendors. It is a good idea to be featured on websites that bring in together companies that trade parts. On Automa.Net you can upload your full stock, including new and refurbished parts. This will make your products visible to any company searching for specific items on this platform, without the need to practice SEO magic.
2. Sell yourself as a product.
Inform the customer about all the things that are important to them. To achieve high sales results you need to build trust with your business partners, which will lead to an increased number of businesses using your services. In order to do this, you need to show reliability, which in practice comes down to telling the truth. So whether you’re selling online or in-person separate new and used parts. In the case of the latter, inform about the production date, state what has been refurbished and what has not. Don’t hide possible product defects. Additionally, if you are selling items online, give true information about the stock to avoid possible delays in delivery.
If you only trade in brand new parts, you don’t have to worry about the visual condition of your goods. On the other hand, if you also sell used or refurbished items, it is very important to take care of this aspect. The parts should be thoroughly cleaned and secured for transportation. It is also a good idea to provide the buyer with the possibility to see up-to-date photos of the actual condition of the used parts before they decide to conclude the transaction.
In commerce, regardless of the industry, one of the key elements is the cost of purchase. Therefore, if you want to have high results, you need to have a good understanding of the trends in the market. Of course, I am not saying that you should go below the profitability threshold or try to maintain the lowest price among all dealers offering a particular product. I also know that it is common practice in the industrial parts trade not to give a fixed price, as this is set independently for each customer. However, observation of the market on an ongoing basis will help you set the terms of cooperation with others in such a way that after analysis of all additional costs associated with the purchase of specific items, the choice of your company will be considered profitable.
3. Verify who you are selling to.
Sometimes less is more. A large number of potential customers interested in cooperation with you doesn’t necessarily translate into considerable profits. It’s not even about what goods and in what quantities someone wants to buy – it’s about whether they want to buy them at all. In other words, it’s easy to run into scams on many e-commerce platforms. People who are unwilling to pay, impersonating other companies. In such a situation, you may struggle to get the invoice paid for a long time. So it is good to verify your customers. On Automa.Net access to the service is limited to the companies that sell parts, resell and are system integrators. Using the service requires payment of a subscription fee, which, although small, deters fraudsters. Even at this stage of verification, we make your task easier because you don’t have to think about whether you are negotiating with an existing company or with some scammer. In addition, you decide for yourself whether you are going to provide someone with information about your stock, or rather you don’t want anyone to see what you’re selling. Such filtering may limit the number of customers, but in return, it leaves those with whom cooperation will be safe and long-term.
4. Analyse the demand.
If you just want to dispose of excess inventory, there isn’t much you can do. You’re left hoping that someone will need something that you have lying around. However, if you base your business on parts trading, it is important that you have goods that are in demand or are very rare. In case of a standard sales procedure, this isn’t so important because usually, the whole process looks completely different. The period from the start of negotiations to the scheduled delivery of goods is longer, the seller has time to get the right amount of the right items from the manufacturer or the company distributing the parts in specific markets. When it comes to online sales, speed is key. The customer is looking for items locally or available immediately. The best way to use this to increase your sales results is to simply have the items that are in the highest demand at any given time. This is fine if we’re talking about fast-wearing, space-saving parts – they are cheap to stock. Sometimes, however, it can be a good idea to import parts that are hard to find or that you usually have to wait several weeks for delivery. By being one of the few or the only supplier, you will be able to attract a customer, and the great opportunity to negotiate the price will allow you to compensate for the costs associated with taking up space in the warehouse. Remember, however, that this model is very risky, and basing your entire business on it can result in huge losses.
5. Process orders around the clock.
Industrial machines don’t know the rhythm of the day; they aren’t subjected to the standard 9 a.m. to 5 p. m. work. This means that a malfunction that brings production to a halt or disrupts logistics chains can happen at any time and according to Murphy’s Law, it will most likely happen outside the working hours of most stationary warehouses. In such a situation there is no time to lose, you have to act quickly to minimize losses. In the classic sales model, the solution would be to wait until the morning for the warehouse hotline staff to be able to answer the phone. The internet never sleeps, so by using it you can place your order even in the middle of the night. Many carriers offer the option of hiring a dedicated courier or even chartering a transport plane. By using it you will be able to ensure the right supplies for the most critical situations, which will, of course, result in high profits – but above all give you the reputation of being a supplier who can be counted on in any situation.
There is no universal formula that produces high sales results. A lot depends on the nature of the industry you’re in. It is a good idea to get a few partners for whom you will be the exclusive distributor of parts – this will give you some stability. However, you don’t have to cling desperately to sales techniques that worked well in the days before e-commerce. Above, I have given examples of actions that could have been taken even before the internet era, but which can only now make a real contribution to improving sales results.