Distributors Lay Their Futures Online
Industry professionals talk about the reasons and the results behind their interactive Web sites.
Make no mistake. The World Wide Web has become the impetus behind greater business communication. And, although the initial incorporation of the Internet into daily business practices can be long, tedious and quite expensive, many distributors are more than willing to foot the
e-commerce bill in return for e-business potential. Interactive Web sites that allow customers to in-put and retrieve information on the status of their orders, as well as communicate with distributors, are proving to be efficient tools that should eventually level out upfront costs.
To find out just how worthy interactive company Web sites are, BFL&S called on the following panel of distributors to report on their findings and expectations:
• Mark Davidson, president, Professional Forms, Blair, Neb.
• David Duysen, president, Business Products Management, Richmond, Calif.
• Shawn Gminder, general manager, Professional Graphic Communications, Cranberry Township, Pa.
• Bill Kaufmann, founder and CEO, ImprintStore.com, Tacoma, Wash.
• Janis McNeal, president and CEO, McNeal Graphics, Memphis, Tenn.
• Greg Turner, president, TBF Graphics, Saginaw, Mich.
Why did you decide to invest in an interactive Web site?
McNeal: "For one thing, we wanted to simplify what we do. Right now only one of our customers will use the site [which is currently being designed]. We wanted our customer to be able to pull up a form instead of sending it to the corporate office where it is then typed and processed."
Duysen: "We started three years ago when a customer asked to order items from the warehouse online. It just took off from there. Soon another customer wanted the ability to order business cards and other custom items online, so we developed templates for importing graphics and text blocks."
Turner: "One of our biggest clients wanted a company with electronic capabilities to serve their needs. So for us, it was a strategic move to solidify our position."