The Information Superhighway: It's Making Business Easier
This is where the Internet, and access to manufacturer and distributor websites, is vital. And if the selected manufacturer does not have a website presence, you can always try the online Sweet’s catalog (www.sweets.com). The offerings are extensive, with more than 25,000 products from 1,600 manufacturers included. Not a bad source — available 24/7 and as close as your computer.
Closer to our industry, the National Floor Trends 2000 Annual Directory & Buying Guide can be accessed by you from your computer screen, whether on the road, at home or in your store. If you’re looking for a specific manufacturer, distributor, sales agent, inspection service, buying group/franchise, training school, or association/market, our online directory brings the information to your fingertips.
Plus if you’re not certain of the name of the manufacturer, you can search by the product category to lead you to the various manufacturers and their particular distributors. Or if you know the name of the manufacturer, you can locate the local distributor through a sort by state. Think of the situations that can be solved quickly and easily by using the online version of the National Floor Trends 2000 Annual Directory & Buying Guide.
And, the use of the Internet is not limited to searching out information. B2B (business-to-business) and B2C (business-to-consumer) sites are being introduced each and every day for e-commerce. Major manufacturers are spending lots of money to create a gateway for you to electronically order product over the Internet and ship product to you from either the local/national warehouse or distributor. Unfortunately, a standardized method of communicating the purchase of product has not been agreed upon. A method of standardization must be determined immediately as partnerships are being made.
In a recent National Floor Trends study (June 2000), 59% in the industry use the Internet/worldwide web as a source for floor covering industry information. That represents a nearly 80% increase over the 33% who, in a September 1998 study, said they used the Internet in this manner. Definitely a quite impressive gain in Internet usage.
Are you ready for doing business on the Internet? Make sure you are, whether you’re a retailer/contractor, designer/architectural specifier, distributor, or manufacturer. I’d like to hear your comments and ideas. I encourage you to send them to me.