Act now to seek online sales channels, says Bob Kraisner, president of Strong Tool, an industrial hardware distributor in Cleveland. "Unless you do something like this, I don't think you'll make money" in the future, he says.
Web marketplaces can unlock the value of your database, says Paul Baier, director of the business-to-business segment at Open Market, Cambridge, Mass., which sells commerce and catalog software. But don't ignore print catalogs in your rush to the Web, he warns.
Explore all of your possible venues, says Bob Chenoweth, supervisor of technical communications at the Ultrasonics Division of Dukane Corp., St. Charles, Ill. "We've been with Industry.net since January 1995," he says, "but we're not exclusive."
Prepare for international business when you go online, says Mark Tulin, president of Perma-Type Rubber, which makes industrial and medical rubber products in Plainville, Conn. "We've had inquiries from parts of Europe, Asia and South America" since going online with Thomas Register last year. "It's been very beneficial."
You can build your own marketplace, with software from firms like TRADE'ex Electronic Commerce Systems, Tampa, Fla.. Director of marketing Marc Young says TRADE'ex now supports electronic data interchange transactions through a recent deal with EDI network operator Harbinger Corp.