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The Heavy Duty Parts Report Ep 202: Streamline the Ordering Process Using a Product Configurator

Learn how to streamline the ordering process after setting up your digital sales channel.

Episode 202: Kris Harrington is the President of GenAlpha. In this episode, she explained why it's critical to set up a digital sales channel and how to streamline the ordering process.

Episode Transcript

Jamie Irvine: I’ve been looking forward to this conversation. As I mentioned before we started recording, I specifically wanted to learn about this new feature that you have or talk about a product configurator, what it’s all about. But before we get into that, let’s talk a little bit about the results of that survey that we did. Are you surprised that 74% of people are buying heavy-duty parts via e-commerce now?

Kris Harrington: Yeah, not at all. As we have been, you know, GenAlpha’s been in business 11 years, it’s hard to believe that sometimes. And we’ve really seen the transition. We’ve seen advancement, we’ve seen adoption. So when you mention statistics like that, doesn’t surprise me at all. I think about sites that many of us are familiar with. If we think about the Graingers, the Fastenal, the McMaster cars of the world, they have really been increasing their online sales year over year. And these have been reported, heavily reported on the success that they’re having. And I think for those of us that are in the heavy-duty parts industry we have in our purchasing departments, people who do business on those sites. So, you know, our own businesses are doing it. It shouldn’t surprise us that our customers, our dealers, our distribution network, they’re all doing it as well. So that doesn’t surprise me at all.

Jamie Irvine: So I just got introduced to a daily email called The Morning Brew. If you are interested in checking it out, by all means, go and check it out. It’s a very concise summary of what’s going on in the business world and in politics, kind of all in one place in a morning email that you can kind of blast through in just a couple minutes. And it’s really cool. But the other day they talked about kind of the collapse of some of the eCommerce companies. When I say collapse, I mean they were on these massive growth trends through the pandemic, and then the numbers have now dropped down quite a bit. But what’s interesting is those numbers didn’t drop below where they were before the pandemic. So yes, there was a big surge and now people are doing a little bit more shopping in the real world and maybe a little less online, but the overall numbers are still trending up. So my question is to you, do you really think that just the pandemic was the reason that we saw so much adoption of e-commerce, or is there something more fundamental going on?

Kris Harrington: I still think the pandemic advanced things, but I think one of the outcomes and you could blame the pandemic for it, is the supply chain challenges that people are having. Those supply chain challenges have really created this need to look for alternatives and in today’s environment, you know, the world has changed and where we go when we need an alternative is we go to the internet and we search. I think what really has changed significantly is the way we search for information. And that search for information brings us into these other environments. Sometimes you get to a solution that is an eCommerce site. Sometimes you get to a solution online that is just an information informational site, but you need to take another step to either email, to get more information about price or availability of something, or you have to contact somebody to get that information. But the advent of the search is what I think is really creating this opportunity for people to be looking for alternatives that they haven’t looked for before and for companies to step in and take that business. So I think that’s been a big driver, especially when you have inflation. So you have inflationary pricing, you have supply chain constraints. You know, people have to look for alternatives just to do due diligence for their own companies, make sure they’re making the best buying decision and that’s what’s happening.


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