Phone orders and distributor websites losing share to other channels
In a major new research study, Distribution Strategy Group (DSG) surveyed more than 6,000 distributor customers about how they shop and buy products. One early finding shows that distributors continue to fall behind in building websites that meet their customers’ needs better than other choices, such as search engines and manufacturers’ digital offerings.
When asked where they shop “very frequently,” 49% of respondents working for manufacturing firms answered, “search engines,” 27% chose “manufacturers’ websites,” and only 23% said they relied on distributor websites.
Buyers working in the construction industry also ranked distributor websites third (29%), behind search engines (44%) and manufacturers’ websites (30%).
“Shopping” includes searching for the product, application information, etc., but not placing the order, which our study analyzed separately.
Inbound Phone Calls Shifting to Marketplace Searches
Phone ordering dropped the most of any of the 10 channels included in the current survey, compared with the last study conducted by DSG, which presented data collected from 2018 to 2020. Marketplaces, which were not included in the previous research project, was the fourth most frequently used place to shop for manufacturers (21%) and seventh for construction-industry buyers (17%).
“We think this shows – again – that distributors have to figure out their ecommerce strategies and invest in solutions that meet customer needs,” said Dean Mueller of DSG, who led the research. “The technologies available to build a great website have become better than ever in terms of capabilities and ease of implementation, but many distributors still aren’t giving customers the best tools to shop for the products they need.”
The study explored topics related to distributor customer buying and shopping; the full results are available in our a webcast, now on-demand, and in a subsequent detailed research report.