Mars Supply sees 70% increase in online sales after deploying digital-first strategy and launching new eCommerce site loaded with AD eContent
"We launched our new eCommerce website with AD Strategic Partner Optimizely in 2020. Our biggest hurdle was matching our data with AD eContent. The AD eCommerce team provided services to help us complete the matching, which has made it so much easier to populate our new site with the enhanced product content our customers need to research and buy the products to run their businesses. Since launching our new site with updated AD eContent and a new commitment to eCommerce across the company, we realized over a 70% increase in online sales in Q4 2020, a 25% increase in online orders, a 37% increase in average order value, a significant increase in conversion rate and a decrease in bounce rate." - Pete Naleid, Marketing & eCommerce Manager at Mars Supply
Established in 1924, Mars Supply is an independent, family-owned company offering a wide variety of industrial supplies throughout the Upper Midwest. They carry over 25,000 SKUs of brand-name supplies at two distribution centers, providing local delivery and same-day shipment to foundries, machine shops, mining companies, railroads, power companies and manufacturers. Mars Supply is an AD member in the Industrial & Safety – U.S. Division.
Mars Supply launched their first eCommerce site in 2002 to help satisfy the needs of a few of their key customers. The original site allowed Mars to establish a digital presence and begin learning how to incorporate a new customer touchpoint, enabling them to provide their customers a higher level of service. However, the site faced several challenges and ultimately Mars Supply’s key customers stopped using the site, causing the sales team to abandon its promotion.
With this original site, the Mars team had a very manual process of building and adding SKUs and adopted a custom taxonomy that required a time-intensive manual process to assign products. They knew that in order to scale their eCommerce business, they needed to streamline their processes.
Mars Supply also knew that in order to ensure their eCommerce site was successful and that they could compete with national chains, they needed to make an enterprise-wide commitment to digital adoption, which would require an investment in personnel as well as the new eCommerce platform. Their goal was not just to have an eCommerce website to convert orders, they wanted a platform that offered better B2B self-service for their customers, including order and invoice history from both online and offline orders and shopping lists for quick and easy reordering. Additionally, they needed to find a way to better communicate directly with customers who were visiting their webstore and guarantee more administrative control over their site to manage user account activation and permissions. In order to accomplish all of these goals, they would need to invest in a digital leader who would take ownership of their digital efforts to support their customers and drive sales.
A new eCommerce site for Mars Supply would need to improve customer experience and make product discovery easy. This would require a comprehensive product taxonomy, enhanced SKU content and a webstore partner with strong onsite search capabilities. Mars decided to partner with AD’s eCommerce Solutions to leverage AD eContent, AD’s network of best-in-class partners, and their consulting services.
As a first step, they leveraged AD’s Industrial taxonomy and moved away from their custom taxonomy, allowing them to include category data as part of their export from AD’s Member PIM, making content processing much easier for their team and saving them hours of work. To improve the quality of their existing data and expand their online SKU count, Mars partnered with AD’s consulting team to match their ERP data to AD eContent. With the AD matched data, they would be able to spend their time curating the data they want on the site and simply drop it into a folder for their website to process, allowing their team to spend more time on the business and skip the matching process.
With their content strategy in place, Mars decided to re-platform their site to AD strategic partner Optimizely. The new platform gave their customers robust onsite search capabilities that leverage AD enhanced eContent and taxonomy to improve product discovery. They also built in AD competitor part number data which would return a Mars product when a customer searches for a national competitor’s part number on their site. On this new platform, they implemented the data connector between the Optimizely webstore and AD’s Member PIM, allowing seamless data ingestion between the two systems.
To solve their goal of better communicating with their customers who are visiting their site, Mars Supply worked with AD partner Olark to implement customer chat functionality, providing their customers another way to communicate directly with the customer service team in real-time on topics like product questions, administrative functions and quotes for products that aren’t web-enabled.
Lastly, to help drive the entire effort and focus on growing the digital business, Mars hired a Marketing Manager to lead their digital strategy efforts and then created additional positions to focus on digital marketing efforts, and website platform and content.
Since the launch of the new Mars Supply eCommerce experience with AD enhanced eContent in July 2020, Mars has seen an increase in customers using the website daily for placing orders, as well as tracking orders and their aging buckets. There are currently over 775 active website users and that number is growing weekly! Their customer service representatives have participated in more than 325 website chats in 2021.
The adoption of the site by the sales team, as well as the overall commitment to digital, has led to greater digital adoption within the company, which has been reflected in the positive site performance. In Q4 of 2020, Mars realized a 70% increase in online sales and a 25% increase in online orders. That trend continues in 2021, with a 61% increase in online sales and 38% increase in online orders through October 2021! Mars has more than doubled their eCommerce percent of total sales in 2021 and has eclipsed $1 million in online sales for first time in their history! Other positive KPIs include a 37% increase in average order value and significant increase in conversion rate and a decrease in bounce rate.
Mars plans to continue to build and improve the online customer experience, by increasing their overall SKU count from 69,000 to 200,000 by the end of 2021. They will always look to stay one step ahead by leveraging AD eContent 360 spin images, better personalization, lead generation and launching their mobile app. As Mars continues to advance their digital maturity, they will always implement customer feedback to create the best user experience possible.
AD eCommerce Solutions leverages AD’s scale and community to enable members to achieve their eCommerce objectives and win in an evolving digital world. To learn more about AD eCommerce Solutions, contact Caroline Ernst at email@example.com or (610) 977-3162.