Best Practices

Customers Can’t Buy What They Can’t Find: How Search Impacts Building Product Specifications and Sales

By August 12, 2020 No Comments

Do you remember the end of the movie, “Raiders of the Lost Ark”? After Indiana Jones recovered the Ark of the Covenant, it was brought to Washington, where it was put in a crate and stored with seemingly thousands of other crates in a massive warehouse.

Don't make it hard to find your building productsThe implication was that the Ark would remain “lost” in that mass of crates.

This is similar to how many building product manufacturers present their building products when they use third-party listing sites, or aggregators. 

A poor user experienceThe product in question is often one of hundreds or thousands listed, which makes it challenging to drill down to the specific product that the Architect, Engineer, or Contractor (AEC) needs for a project.

Let’s be honest – that’s a terrible user experience. If this is what you’re offering to your customers, don’t be shocked if they move on to a website that provides an intuitive user interface, and which makes it easy to drill down to the precise product or products needed for the project in question.

Granular Search Makes it Easy to Find Specific Products

We’re not trying to denigrate those third party listing pages, but the very nature of what they do make is exceedingly challenging for the AEC to find exactly what they need. 

Why? Because third-party building product listing sites limit search capabilities to brands and categories. While that might seem sufficient, it still leaves a wide range of results to wade through. That results in a frustrating user experience for your  AEC customers.

Think of it like this – imagine you were searching for footwear on an eCommerce site. Would you be satisfied if your search options were limited to a brand and “footwear” as search options? Probably not.

If you’re looking for rugged work boots, as an example, it would be a poor user experience to have to scroll through all of the results for sneakers, cleats, or dress shoes. They are irrelevant to what you want. You also would likely to be able to specify the materials used in the boot, and you might want them in a specific color. 

Should an eCommerce site make it hard to find what you’re looking for, you will likely go to another website, and do business there.

The same holds true for building product listing sites – it’s a poor user experience to force your customers to sift through irrelevant results, and it’s virtually impossible to drill down to specific colors, materials, or other attributes beyond the category and the brand.

Concora surveyed AEC customers about their digital experiences, and they told us that they will find another manufacturer if you don’t meet their expectations:

Consider what Jannette, an interior designer from Idaho had to say:

“If a manufacturer’s website is not easy to use or doesn’t have the correct content or tools, half of the time I’ll choose another manufacturer’s product to select.”

Make it Easy for Your Customers

It really doesn’t have to be that hard to deliver what your customers want. If you know they need refined search options, then you should provide refined search options. 

You might also want to focus the spotlight on your products, not your competitors. That’s another issue with the aggregate sites – your products are going to be presented alongside those of your competition. Unless your customers are brand loyal, sending them to a listing site means that they will potentially select your competitor’s product over your own. 

Combined, these are compelling reasons to provide a method to search, select, and to specify your building products on your website, rather than sending them to an aggregate site.

The Concora Digital Experience Platform Makes it Easy to Find the Right Building Materials

The Concora Digital Experience Platform (DxP) was built to address the unique needs of building product manufacturers who are seeking to have their commercial building products specified in the design and then sold for use in construction.

Similar to an eCommerce website, users can easily drill down to the precise products they need by just ticking a couple of checkboxes. They can go from thousands of results to a refined group of relevant results in a couple of seconds.

Does that sound interesting? If so, we invite you to book a live demonstration of the Concora DxP to see how it works for yourself.