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Swagelok.com

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Company: Swagelok Co., Solon, Ohio  Target audience: Design engineers Key Web executive: Tom Gubanc, director of e-business  No. of employees who work on the site: 5 to 7 Last major redesign: 1999. The site went live in 2000 (additional work done on an ongoing basis)  No. of pages on site: More than 13,000 product pages and more than 2,000 additional content pages  Web developer: Several small consultants


 Swagelok doesn't want its Web site to be fancy. In fact, Tom Gubanc, the company's director of e-business, said he takes the phrase "no-nonsense site" as a compliment.

"Our typical user is a design engineer, or someone in purchasing or a maintenance exec who comes to the site for highly technical support," he said. "That's why one of our site's key applications is we can get you to the product you're looking for quickly and in multiple ways."

A customer can drill down by product category or literature search, for example. They can also search the site in seven languages-English, French, German, Spanish, traditional or simplified Chinese and Japanese-which all originate from the main U.S. site. Even esoteric literature, such as CAD drawings, comes in these languages.

Swagelok has also included an innovation that many b-to-b sites shy away from: the online price quote. Customers and prospects can spec out and purchase thousands of types of fluid system components such as tube fittings, hoses and sealants.

The product catalog is another bright spot. Each of the dozen product categories breaks down into specific subcategories, each illustrated with photographic images. Users can refine their selections, choosing characteristics that become more granular as the user goes deeper into the site. Once you arrive on an individual product page, Swagelok makes no mistakes. Users see every minute detail available, including part number, price, specifications and related data-usually in PDF format. And orders go directly to the local distributor of the customer's choice.

This depth of knowledge is exactly what site visitors were asking for, Gubanc said. Now that they have what they need to do their jobs, they are staying longer and accessing more site information, he said.

"People find our site very Amazon.com-like," he said. "Our customers like the self-service aspect."


 Expert 2¢

Chris Nodder: The product catalog has clear photos, which will help users identify component types much better than words alone. Product search can be easily refined by filtering on component characteristics. There is a wealth of support material available online. Kate Everett-Thorp: Swagelok has a very precise site to match its very specific “fluid systems components and solutions” industry. The site is incredibly easy to use in response to its customer base and gets to the point.

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