In the next 17 months, it expects 10% of its B2B customers will be transacting on the web, an executive says.
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Once consumers land on a site, of course, it's crucial that they have a good shopping experience. WholesaleMarine.com runs performance tests with Dotcom-Monitor, a provider of web site and application performance monitoring services, to ensure customers get smoothly working applications that help them find the right item among the more than 20,000 that Wholesale Marine sells.
To put its new parts search tool to a test, for example, Bissman uses Dotcom-Monitor to record his own clickstream as he personally searches for a product, then sends a recording of his online session to Dotcom. The vendor then notes areas where actions such as pulling images from a database need to be improved, such as with updated software coding, to ensure that pages load quickly.
Dotcom also alerts the retailer when actual shoppers experience problems. Bissman notes one case where Wholesale Marine had changed its hosted site search tool to a new vendor. But the URL the new vendor uses to host the site search feature had not been updated on the list of URLs the retailer's Internet service provider uses to direct Wholesale Marine's web traffic.
"We were alerted by Dotcom-Monitor and were able to quickly respond and resolve the situation," Bissman says. "Knowing where the problem lies is half the battle."
Locating the source of a performance problem may become even a bigger part of the battle as retailers keep on adding sales-building features to their sites.