Industrial Market Untapped Online

Many buyers of industrial equipment look to the Web for research and acquisition, though according to research co-sponsored by Google and ThomasNet, the Web presence and marketing of industrial equipment falls far short of demand.

ADM Marketing conducted the survey of over 900 industrial purchasers and suppliers. It finds buyers use the Internet over offline sources like distributor’s catalogs; trade publications; and sales reps.

Seventy percent of buyers expect to use the Web for information on product applications and uses, but only 53 percent of suppliers provide such information. Meanwhile, though only 23 percent of Web sites supply prices, 74 percent of buyers intend to look up the cost of equipment. Sixty-seven percent expect to find shipping information that’s supplied by only 17 percent of industrial product sites.

The study found 68 percent of industrial sellers plan to increase spending on their Web sites and 78 percent will redesign their sites in the next year. Search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) should be part of the implementation, researchers conclude.

“One is completely dependant on the other,” said Erin Clift, vertical manager of business and industrial markets for Google’s business and industrial markets group. “Put simply, people have to be at the right place, at the right time, and get the right information.”

Linda Rigano, Thomas Industrial Network’s director of strategic alliances and new business development, reinforces the need for equipment suppliers to have a strong Web presence and optimize it for search. “We’re suggesting they may need to make online and search a larger part of that media mix,” she said.

Advertising is another potential tool that’s underutilized by industrial equipment suppliers. Only 32 percent of sellers currently advertise their Web presence on search engines or industrial content sites, but 46 percent have plans to increase spending to promote and drive traffic to their redesigned sites.

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