E-commerce is a viable selling strategy for building material suppliers in India, with the presence of key dedicated construction procurement platforms online. It is a direct route to engaging with buyers, as well as to tap into a new customer base that can explore their product range. A building material supplier can also perform extensive industry research, by analysing the products offered on the top procurement marketplaces.
Construction material sellers should focus on maximizing outreach when leveraging an e-commerce model, to benefit from the scale of opportunities available to them. It is also important for sellers to focus on key questions that buyers may have about their product range. Integrating quality imagery, providing lead time data, showcasing reviews, displaying technical specifications, etc. are essential to selling through e-commerce the right way.
With digital buyers rising in number across categories such as steel, ready-mix concrete, AAC blocks, electricals, construction chemicals etc., suppliers need to tap into the right platforms with the right e-commerce strategy. Listed below are the smart E-commerce strategies that they can consider:
1. Selling via reputable marketplace platforms
Building material suppliers can experience greater benefits of digital selling by opting for reputable and industry-oriented platforms for their portfolio. While developing your own e-commerce store may be cumbersome and resource-intensive, establishing a customized store on an existing platform can save time and cost long-term.
These platforms already have a sizable customer-base that is highly engaged with sellers on a regular basis. They are also more trustworthy within the industry and can offer scale-driven benefits to a building material supplier of any size.
Ideally, sellers should review marketplaces based on the following parameters –
- Size of customer-base and reach across categories.
- Usability of platform from a buyer standpoint.
- Ease of integration of sellers on the platform.
- RFQ management and order closure experience.
- Integration of technology (AI, chatbots, mobile apps, etc.)
- Quality of customer/technical support.
- Availability of credit facility for entities.
2. Maximizing digital marketing outreach
Building material suppliers can promote their e-commerce store across relevant channels, including search, social, and other mediums. They should start by defining a concrete online marketing roadmap that includes key messaging and brand outline. Suppliers can then perform extensive research on the construction buying community and target highly relevant outlets, blogs, and trade platforms where they can gain maximum visibility for their products.
Suppliers need to also focus on retargeting specific audience sets on online portals, to maximize their e-commerce sales efficiency. With demand for key building materials set to rise in FY 22 (e.g., cement by 20%), sellers need to gradually scale up key digital efforts to meet demand in a highly strategic and timely manner.
3. Developing trust through information
A key barrier that e-commerce selling removes for distributors is accessibility to buyers. Construction material suppliers should consistently engage with incoming leads to provide as much detailed information as possible for an optimal procurement experience. They should also provide key documents, product information, images, and other materials digitally in a timely manner to generate trust within the buying process.
Post-sales processes, such as invoicing, logistics, updates, and tracking should also be optimized so that buyers are fully satisfied with their purchase. Sellers can establish a consistent stream of orders from repeat customers when they establish a trust-based sales value chain for their portfolio.
4. Regularly updating e-commerce portfolio
Suppliers wanting to optimize their e-commerce selling strategy can focus on offering unique and feature-rich products that have higher demand. Through online product and price discovery research, sellers can identify the right products to sell via e-commerce that already perform positively on existing channels.
Additionally, with seasonal shifts and dynamic industry trends, new requirements for unique products will emerge frequently. A building material supplier can tap into rising customer demand by updating their portfolio regularly with unique and market-oriented products at a faster rate.
With more real estate and construction firms adopting technology to optimize procurement, building material suppliers are looking for the right strategies to enhance sales. By focusing on the right platform, optimizing outreach, and engaging with quality leads, sellers can maximize their e-commerce initiatives. BuildSupply, a comprehensive construction procurement marketplace, offers sellers the right tools to get started with e-commerce at-scale while giving them key capabilities to manage their catalogue, add technical details, manage RFQs, and update order status seamlessly.