How To Sell Industrial Products Online In A B2C World

Business-to-business consumers are no longer satisfied with data that is difficult to find or poorly organized.

The online landscape for product sourcing has changed.

Business-to-business consumers are no longer satisfied with data that is difficult to find or poorly organized. Instead, they expect the same dynamic, user-friendly experience that they find when shopping online for products. This should be filled with compelling data.

Companies are investing in digitized catalogs so that their customers can have a good experience when they are online. If your company is not doing this, you are behind. Now is the time for B2B businesses, manufacturers, and industrial companies to shift their online strategies so that they can sell their products effectively. If you need help doing this, we will tell you how.

Digital marketing for industrial products

#1. Be where your buyers are searching

Search engines

Most people start their search for a product by using a search engine or a website that is specific to what they are looking for. As you may know, Google is the most popular search engine. It is very important to be found on search engines because that is where your audience will be looking. They will use specific phrases that contain 3-4 words describing what they want.

An example of a long-tail search term an industrial buyer might use is "metal stamping in Indiana." The search phrase is precise, and if the search was for "metal stamping," irrelevant results in different industries or locations would not appear.

Destination websites

According to a Forrester report, e-commerce sales activity in the B2B sector within the United States is projected to top $1.8 trillion by 2023. This means that 17% of all B2B sales will happen online. If you want to see the future of B2B e-commerce, look at the top-rated consumer sites.

Keep in mind that not all B2B buying activity is strictly transactional. Most e-commerce activity revolves around product discovery like investigating products, evaluating configurability, determining what a given product can be used for, exploring customization options, etc.

Business-to-business buyers are spending more and more time online looking for information about products. If you don't provide information on your products that is easy to find, engineers and other professionals will not bother looking any further. It is especially important in the business-to-business market to provide detailed data so that buyers can make informed decisions. In the business-to-consumer market, people may be able to afford to buy the wrong type of shoes, but in large industrial operations, purchasing the wrong parts or equipment can be a very expensive mistake.

This is why 68% of industrial buyers search for information on websites that focus on industrial products. These websites provide a lot of information about products, sourcing, and CAD downloads.

#2. Meet the new B2B buyer behavior

As more people buy things online, there are less opportunities for salespeople to meet buyers face-to-face.

A Gartner report found that the most successful sales reps are those who "help customers sort through information readily available — acting as an 'information connector.'" This approach is more anonymous, meaning salespeople don't pressure buyers, and it's also much more convenient.

Your sales team used to be able to speak for your products. They knew how to position them and what benefits to emphasize. But now, as B2B habits cross over into the B2C field, you need to provide data that can do the talking for you. Every detail needs to be readily available to buyers at the click of the mouse or the tap of a finger. This includes measurements, material options, customization, and use cases.

Distributors are adapting

Many distributors have realized that people are buying products differently than before. So, in order to stay relevant, the distributors are changing their businesses. However, some distributors are still having a hard time getting rich and complete product data from manufacturers. Even though the market is changing, it is still important to offer informative and helpful product data to your customers. This will not only help your customers but also help your distributors and in turn, your bottom line.

#3. Develop a content-driven website

It is important to create content that reaches the right people in order to increase sales. However, buyers look for different types of content depending on where they are in the buying process. While some people might want quick and informative videos, others might prefer reading guides. Offering a variety of content allows your business to connect with and develop relationships with more customers.

Today, it is important to think about more than just the right audience. Consumers are familiar with the amount of information available about products online. This includes products sold through retailers like Amazon. Business-to-business buyers are also consumers. They expect to have access to information 24/7.

Most buyers will seek out detailed technical information sources, like product catalogs, by the mid to late stages of the buying cycle. A recent survey shows that 82% of industrial buyers find this information influential when making a purchase decision.

As people's buying behaviors change, industrial manufacturers are changing their online catalogs to look more like Amazon's. They are selling their products directly to consumers. In order to make it easier for engineers and technical buyers to find what they need, these manufacturers are filling their catalogs with technical data and specifications. Suppliers need to do the same if they want to stay competitive. Many engineers and buyers require downloadable CAD drawings, so it is important that suppliers provide this content if they want to make a sale.

Your website should include at a minimum: 

  • About Us Page
  • Contact Us Page
  • Product Categories and Descriptions
  • Interactive Product Catalog

#4. Communicate how your products solve problems

Buyers nowadays use the internet to search for information about potential products before they decide which ones to buy. This is why it is important for manufacturers to have their product data in one easy-to-access place. This will make it easier for engineers, procurement professionals, and MROs to find what they are looking for when they need it. They need to be able to quickly determine whether your company offers a good fit for their needs so your product discovery and selection experience should be streamlined.

People will be more likely to share their contact and project information with you if you can give them the data they need. This will result in high-quality leads for your business. 

Make sure that your website and product catalog include this information:

Delivery performance

Different types of buyers look for different things when they are looking to buy a house. But there is one thing that most buyers look at: whether the house was delivered on time. If you have a good track record of delivering on time, make sure to highlight that in your marketing materials. Give numbers and examples to back it up.


Sustainable procurement, also called green procurement, is an important topic for many customers when choosing a new supplier. As a result, many businesses are becoming more environmentally-friendly. If you have environmentally-friendly business practices or an ISO 14001 accreditation, make sure potential buyers know it.

Job samples

In order to win business in the future, it is important to provide potential buyers with information on your past performance. This includes providing project samples with photos, a list of materials, specs, tolerances, turnaround times, etc. as well as describing the industries you have served and including testimonials whenever possible. The more information you can provide, the more likely you will be successful in winning business.

Press releases and news 

Even if you are not in the news business, it is important to have public relations for your manufacturing company. Buyers who are evaluating you want to see what is going on with your company. They also want to see the whole story. This is why it is a good idea to have a place on your website for press releases. Press releases can be about new hires, innovations, acquisitions, product releases, and other things that are important to customers, prospects or staff members.

Safety is important

If a supplier doesn't take safety seriously, it can be very risky for buyers. You can let them know that safety is a priority for your business by expressing your commitment to workplace safety and following OSHA and other regulations.

#5. Product catalog system built for industrial products

You have valuable products and services to offer, but what can set you apart from the competition is your knowledge.

Being able to go beyond what is in your catalog and showing your understanding of the big-picture issues that buyers face - and how you can solve them - will make a difference. 

Make sure that you have an online system in place that will support your product catalog. The right online product management platform will give you backend tools for self-maintenance, as well as allow your customers to be in control with a self-serve interface that allows them to configure and select the exact products and components they need for their project.

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Greater sales tomorrow begin with your decision now.