Some 78% of industrial professionals say they go online first to find new distributors, according to the 2007 “Distributor Buying Trends Survey,” GlobalSpec‘s annual nationwide study that polls engineers, technical buyers, scientific professionals and other members of the industrial community.
The study indicates a gap exists between what respondents consider important features of distributors’ online presence – such as up-to-date content, technical specifications and a searchable online catalog – and their satisfaction with how distributors’ websites deliver such features.
The study also considered how industrial professionals choose new distributors and found that availability, delivery and customer service ranked ahead of price as reasons for choosing a distributor.
Survey findings include the following:
- 96% of respondents reported sourcing products from distributors in the past year.
- 55% reported sourcing products from seven or more distributors.
- 78% of respondents go online first when searching for a new distributor.
- 45% of respondents stated the main reason they contacted distributors they have not purchased from in the past was that a current distributor did not have the right product (see chart, below).
- 87% of respondents purchase parts online.
- 69% of respondents search for parts using a part number at least once a month.
Availability & delivery was the most important factor when choosing a distributor (mean score of 6.2 in importance on a scale of 1-7, with 7 most important).
Most respondents stated the most important features on a distributor’s website were up-to-date content and technical specifications.