By now, many of you are used to reading the monthly web site reviews that appear in the second half of this column. This month, I have chosen to evaluate a couple new e-commerce ventures that could definitely affect the way your shop purchases finishing supplies. The first one provides materials to the powder coating and painting industries and the other site to the plating industry. These two sites show promise to be leaders in this new world of business-to-business e-commerce for finishers.
The first site is OneSource Coatings™, www.onesourcecoatings.com. This e-commerce solution from PPG, one of the world’s largest producers of industrial coatings, was primarily designed for users of paint and powder coating technology who buy 50 to 500 gallons of industrial coatings per month. The products offered represent PPG’s paints, powder coatings and pretreatment chemicals.
There are many features I like about this site. The shopping system is smooth and makes ordering easy—this is truly the most important part of the online purchasing experience. In addition, PPG has developed OneSource Coatings to feature two-business-day delivery of small volume, custom color products within an eight-state midwestern region.
This site has developed into much more than an effective e-commerce service for PPG. In addition to products, this site offers MSDS sheets, technical data sheets, environmental/safety information and application training information. This site also provides easy access to requests for free fan decks and color cards, which makes it possible to evaluate colors before ordering.
PPG has gone the extra mile to ensure that its site is quick and easy to navigate. The graphics are sharp and colorful, and overall, the site is very effective. PPG does require its users to complete a simple registration form in order to gain access to products and pricing. However, the form is easy to use, and I can guarantee that you will not mind the minute it takes to complete.
The second site is SULFURIC.com, www.sulfuric.com. This e-commerce venture was started by Palm International in January 2000. They manufacture nickel commodities such as nickel sulfate, nickel chloride and nickel sulfamate. Palm International markets anodes, anode accessories, plating equipment and various other plating chemicals to the metal finishing industry.
The main feature of this site is the product catalog. You could spend a great deal of time browsing products of all types from chemicals to equipment in this extensive database. According to the president of SULFURIC.com, Jeff Peterson, “we intend to be the largest online distributor to the finishing industry”.
If there was any question in your mind whether commodity chemicals could be successfully sold through the Internet, think again. This site, within the first 24 hours of online operation, processed orders in excess of $200,000.00. In its first month, SULFURIC.com saw over $1 million in sales. Although these figures reflect a substantial amount of existing business for Palm that has shifted to online purchasing, over 60% of the online sales represent the purchase of products that Palm International had never handled before SULFURIC.com.
There are several reasons that I like this web site. First of all, it is extremely easy to use, and the transaction instructions on the site are easy to understand and follow. The online products catalog loads quickly, and the graphics are crisp. In addition, the diverse line of product offerings shows that this site is poised to be a leader in the online sales of finishing supplies.
In order to use this site, you must register. That’s because orders can be quite substantial and membership allows potential buyers to be evaluated before the actual transaction takes place. Membership is also necessary because SULFURIC.com offers a “pay with purchase order” option in addition to the standard Visa and MasterCard transaction model. This site is well done and is definitely worth a visit.
Both of these sites are “secure” and each of them offers shipping solutions to meet the needs of the end user. Both OneSource Coatings and SULFURIC.com provide essential contact info that is readily available in case of ordering difficulty or user questions—a major plus. The bottom line is that each of these e-commerce services has been professionally developed with the purchaser (you) in mind. I hope you enjoy your visit.