While it's easier – and less expensive – to launch an e-commerce platform than ever before, distributors are still polarized about the value of that investment. But not doing it now could be costly, says Jonathan Bein, managing partner of Real Results Marketing, in The Cost of Not Providing E-Commerce.
"I'm sure there are some companies that don't need to do e-commerce, but they're few and far between," Bein says.
Most of the reasons distributors come up with are just excuses, he says. There's plenty of evidence already out there against holding out.
But while e-commerce is less expensive, cost remains a concern. Just because an option is affordable doesn't mean it's right for a distributor.
"I've seen some distributors spend $50,000, and it doesn't do what the customers are looking to do," says Burt Schraga, president of Bell Electrical Supply, Santa Clara, CA.
That doesn't mean that distributors shouldn't be investing in a functional Web platform. Rather, they should approach the investment strategically and make sure what they're buying is what their customers actually want and will use.