How Bay Fastening Is Migrating to E-commerce
Bay Fastening Systems is generating 35% of its sales via ecommerce and expecting online sales to grow about 30% this year, says chief operating officer Michael Eichinger. Based in Farmingdale, New York, Bay Fastener has been selling a wide array of fasteners to big and small companies since 1961.
Bay Supply offers one of the largest warehouse and inventory management systems in the industry, to serve its customers with instant order processing and tracking. Bay Supply is also a factory authorized repair center for virtually all tool manufacturers it sells.
Bay Fastening is a snapshot of the changes coming in custom engagement in parts distribution (and outlined in a recent McKinsey Report, the Coming Shakeout in Industrial Distribution, including fasteners. Fastener Fair USA sponsors a webcast on the subject as well, presented by Nelson Valderrama, CEO of Intuilize.
Profiled recently in Fastener News, Bay Fastening was an early adopter of B2B ecommerce. It wasn’t until about 2015 when the company fully swapped out a couple of early ecommerce systems for a better technology infrastructure from Unilog Content Solutions, Eichinger says.
“When we were looking to build our website, we made the same mistake as others did by going with partners who claimed to be B2B experts, but were really driven towards a B2C mentality,” he says. “We worked with two different ecommerce partners but couldn’t find anybody to really fit our needs.”
At the same time that Bay Fastening was updating its ecommerce technology on the Unilog CIMM2 ecommerce platform with a built-in product information management system, the distributor also began the laborious process of updating its site taxonomy.
That required it to transform hundreds of static documents from manufacturers into web pages, giving business buyers many options to search for products ranging from fasteners and adhesives to power tools and accessories.
Bay Fastening developed product and category pages with search options for buyers that want to shop by manufacturer, brand or product category. It still faces an ongoing challenge to update web pages, however, as it manages a range of product data that comes in a variety of ways through manufacturers by Excel spreadsheets, PDFs and some automated data feeds, Eichinger says. “Even today it’s still not a timely process.”
But with a better ecommerce platform and a decade of learning from past mistakes, selling on the distributor’s ecommerce site, BaySupply.com, is now generating multiple benefits for Bay Fastening beyond just more web sales, Eichinger says. Web orders placed directly by customers are processed 80% faster than the time it takes a Bay Fastening service rep to process a phone or paper order, the company says. Read more about Bay Fastening Systems’ journey to e-commerce at DigitalCommerce360.com.