Nearly one-half (45%) of North American industrial businesses reported positive growth in the second half of 2010 and among them, more than three-quarters (76%) said their websites made a significant contribution to that growth, according to ThomasNet's Industry Market Barometer. Meanwhile, in a tough business environment, most industrial companies credit a strategic focus on customer service and retention for their success.
Below, additional findings from ThomasNet's Industry Market Barometer (IMB) report, based on a survey of manufacturers, custom manufacturers, and industrial distributors in North America.
Websites played even a more important role among "Outperformers," top-performing companies that reported growth in the second half of 2010 and expected more growth through the first half of 2011. Such businesses—roughly 39% of surveyed companies in 2011—reported the following:
- 88% said their website contributed to growth, compared with 76% of all industrial companies.
- 42% said their site contributed to new revenue growth (vs. 18% of all companies).
- 53% said their site opened up new sources of business (vs. 48% of all companies).
- 54% said their site helped them serve customers better or more efficiently (vs. 46% of all companies).
Top Growth Strategies: Customer Service, Retention
Among companies that reported positive growth in 2010, 78% said a focus on core customer service and retention strategies "very much" contributed to that growth, while 56% cited competing more aggressively in core markets and 34% credited new products/services offerings.
How Manufacturers Use Websites