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Success story

Boosting a distributor’s competitive advantage in ecommerce


Boosting a distributor’s competitive advantage in ecommerce

Our product data and ecommerce technology solutions empower S.P. Richards’ dealers to increase their online sales.


In the mid-2000s, S.P. Richards saw an opportunity to take a leadership position in the industry and help its 2,500 dealers to more effectively sell their products online. Most of these dealers recognized that ecommerce was an efficient and growing sales channel with larger order sizes and fewer product returns. However, many were concerned about directing customers to their sites due to weak search functionality and basic product descriptions that would not drive conversions. To help drive higher adoption of ecommerce among dealers, S.P. Richards realized it would need to improve the quality of its product data and its content distribution capabilities.


We initially worked with S.P. Richards to more efficiently aggregate content from hundreds of suppliers and to standardize it in a format that its dealers and Application Service Provider (ASP) partners could utilize and optimize for search relevancy. We then collaborated to introduce a dealer delivery model that created a straightforward entry into online business for resellers. We advised S.P. Richards to host the data online rather than distributing physical media, and suggested stripping product data management out of dealers’ ecommerce software and incorporating it in our solution. The solution includes SearchproTM, an S.P. Richards sponsored search engine, developed and hosted by GfK and integrated as the internal site search in the ASP’s shopping sites.


S.P. Richards’ dealers are competing more effectively with bigger players and increasing online sales. They have the freedom to design their websites according to their needs, based on the data we provide, and can easily merchandize common and custom products in one solution. Dealers retain flexibility to customize the search and the products they want to list and sell online. With better content and search functionality on their websites, most dealers have increased online sales from around 10% of their revenue to 55% and above.

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