Boost Online Sales & User Experience

How manufacturers can easily embed their 3D CAD Catalogs with interactive 3D previews onto several distributor websites to boost online product sales.

Mnet 207452 Online Cat
Doug KorneffelDoug Korneffel

Your online product sales need a pick-me-up. As a manufacturer, you might look first to the tools in your workshop: 3D CAD catalogs, lead-tracker tools, press releases and paid social…

How long do you search before you look toward your own ecosystem—your distributors?

Your relationship with your distributors is symbiotic. You want to work with the best distributor to get your products in front of more people; they want to work with the manufacturers that sell the product engineers want most. The manufacturer and distributor are teammates—so why not share the same tools?

If you have a 3D CAD catalog, consider the impact that 3D CAD downloads and product visualization can have on your distributor purchases.

Boost Revenue by Enhancing Product Data with 3D CAD Catalogs

The online product catalog with digital downloads feeds two birds with one scone. It meets customers’ expectations by delivering 3D CAD model downloads, 3D visualization and purchasing information directly from the manufacturer’s website. By streamlining the pathway to purchase, 3D CAD catalogs enhance the customers’ online experience, giving them a reason to return for future purchases.

The tool also sets-up manufacturers for success. The catalog does the work of a team of CAD experts—maintaining your product data and delivering CAD to customers—while also looping in marketing and sales with real-time data and customer insights. Additionally, some of today’s 3D Catalog technology can actually future-proof your content so that your products stay current with each new browser, software version and device.

With digital product download and 3D visualization readily available through your CAD catalog, your website is optimized for online product sales. But, what about your products on distributor sites?

Next problem: Replicate your enhanced product data on distributor and portal sites.

It is possible for manufacturers to easily embed their 3D CAD catalog onto their product pages of distributor websites. Here is what that enables distributors to provide on your product pages: Enhanced product information (rich data); up-to-date CAD data; exact 3D product visualization and metadata; and free downloads in all 100+ CAD formats, plus a PDF datasheet.

When you use a third-party vendor that builds and maintains your catalog, achieving this is easy. That vendor can publish your “master” catalog data one time then use that to insert your catalog to many other locations where you sell your products. In this way, we help you scale your business through your 3D Catalog without requiring any additional work on your team’s end.

Why Manufacturers Need 3D Previews and CAD Downloads on Distributor Sites

You have your digital CAD catalog on your website—why do you need it on distributor sites?

If your answer to the first question about where your online product sales come from was distributor sites, you already have an incentive. Here’s more justification for boosting your product data on distributor sites: 1) Engineers still use distributor websites for product searches; 2) It’s a differentiator for both manufacturers and distributors; and 3) rich product data drives sales for the manufacturer and distributor.

Engineers Use Distributors

The trend for direct purchases vs. distributor/wholesaler purchases has swayed to and fro over the last few decades. Today, the typical path to purchase is rarely a straight line. Engineers bounce back-and-forth from distributor websites, third-party vendors, component suppliers and the manufacturer’s website before making a purchase. Here’s a graphic from Godfrey that illustrates this concept well:

This graphic from Godfrey shows the different pathways a manufacturer’s product can get into the hands of customers and end users.This graphic from Godfrey shows the different pathways a manufacturer’s product can get into the hands of customers and end users.

The bottom-line: you’re missing out on sales if you disregard distributor sites.

To sell your products online, you must understand your buyer’s journey. That means not just answering their needs and pain points but also being available where they go to meet those needs.

It’s a Differentiator

Online engineers want to see products with rich content.

Therefore, they will choose a product from Manufacturer A with rich content over a product they can’t from Manufacturer B. Similarly, engineers will go to Distributor A for product searches if they know they know they can get the exact product they need if Distributor B doesn’t offer it.

Notably, having a free CAD download they can test in their design helps engineers determine whether or not to purchase that product. It’s no wonder they prefer products from manufacturers that provide this. It’s insurance for the engineers that the part they see is the part they get, and it’s a differentiator for manufacturers.

Rich Product Data Drives Sales

Since engineers will prefer to purchase from manufacturers and distributors that provide rich data, they will return there for future purchases. And, they’ll tell their engineering friends and colleagues where they go to get parts.

Where to find trusted product data is no secret, and using 3D CAD catalogs to deliver it is no secret weapon.

In our Industrial Sales and Marketing Report, we asked engineers how often they purchase a physical product of a CAD file they downloaded. Their answer: 82% of downloads convert to sales. Adding your 3D Catalog to Distributor sites is great idea, but it still sounds like a lot of work. Lucky for manufacturers, our “one-to-many” program offers a simple solution.

In Summary

There’s no need for manufacturers and distributors to have a complicated relationship. Streamline your sales efforts and redefine your relationship with your manufacturers by sharing rich product data. You know the end results: happy customers and multiplying sales.

Scale your online product sales with a digital CAD catalog.

Doug Korneffel is vice president of sales and technical strategist at CADENAS PARTsolutions.