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Blog: What Electrical Contractors Want From Distributor Websites – Richard Hall

By Bridget McCrea

Ever wonder what your electrical contractors are looking for when they visit your company’s website, and whether they’re really finding what they’re searching for during those visits? In this series of short articles we’ll hear straight from the contractors themselves about what they want, whether they’re finding it (or not), and how the online experience impacts their buying decisions.

This is the fourth installment in this series of articles. Click on the names below to read other contractors’ comments on distributor websites:
Ray Nebiker
Terry Cool
Jimmy Baltodano

Electrical Contractor:  Richard Hall, vice president and general manager, Tennessee Associated Electric, Knoxville, Tenn.

What are you looking for when you visit an electrical distributor’s website?

We’d like to see a more standard approach to distributors’ websites. We want to be able to visit a site, look at what’s in stock, and then get the standard pricing. From there we can either use established multipliers or log in under our own names/passwords to get our specific pricing.

We’d also like to see product categories, manufacturers, and specific SKUs that are easily searchable. This is a fairly simple thing to do and Edwards Supply in Oakridge, Tenn., is one distributor that’s already moved in that direction. In fact, the other day a customer ordered a fuse that we’d never heard of before. After keying the product details into a general Google search, I was directed to the Edwards Supply site to see the pictures, part numbers, and everything else I was looking for.

Do you generally find what you’re looking for on the websites…or not?

I was on a distributor website the other day and when I clicked on “wire,” it directed to pricing for a completely different product. So some distributors have it down and others do not. For example, both Graybar and Wesco list pricing on their sites, but many other companies do not.

How does the online experience impact the way you shop for electrical products and services?

While we aren’t looking up prices online for bid jobs, there are times when we’re dealing with emergency situations and we need to find something and source it quickly. Being able to go online and search for part numbers, pictures, specifications, and pricing makes our jobs a lot easier.

What could distributors be doing better when it comes to their websites?

Just make it easy for electricians to operate and do business with you. We need something that’s user-friendly, uncomplicated, and intuitive. With a little money invested, distributors would probably gain some market share as a result.

McCrea is a Florida-based writer who covers business, industrial, and educational topics for a variety of magazines and journals. You can reach her at bridgetmc@earthlink.net or visit her website at www.expertghostwriter.net.

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