A little bit about Lura
I’ve been with Van Meter for five years, starting as the Vice President of Organizational Effectiveness and then moving to my current role as Chief Operating Officer. I’m passionate about driving a strong people- and performance-based culture in this organization, to encourage overall efficiency throughout the business. During my time with Van Meter, there has always been strong communication with IDEA. They’re great to work with, and I have personally been impressed with the quality of our partnership.
Why she loves the IDEA Connector
In the past, we gathered product data – such as images, spec sheets, attributes – piecemeal from multiple sources to get the full set of data we needed. But in recent years, IDEA has been working intensively with manufacturers to load more complete information into the IDEA Connector. The quality and availability of Connector product data has gotten so much better that I believe we may be able to move away from a hybrid data collection method altogether and get everything we need from one centralized location, the Connector.
When we conduct trainings or product roll-outs and need to answer a customer’s question, the IDEA Connector gives us the ability to easily find the information needed and show it to our customer on-the-spot. The ease of sharing accurate information with a customer to help them make informed decisions provides a huge advantage for our sales team, particularly if we’re trying to recommend a product substitute or take the lead over competitors.
The industry working together works for us
As more manufacturers and distributors actively use Connector, we learn a lot about how we can work better together. We all have our own systems and processes, but IDEA’s eBusiness standards provide consistency and a common ground so we know the type of product data we can expect to receive and have a starting point to bounce off of when we speak to our vendors. As opposed to spending a lot of time and resources completing this work independently, our team works closely with IDEA to link up with other manufacturers and distributors. Our collective strengths and expertise are combined to find more cost-effective ways to conduct business and compete with big box companies.
Serving more customers with the IDEA Connector Web Storefront Tool
eCommerce affects how we interact with our customers – we must have the ability to provide a complete “do-it-yourself” model that offers more than a single-function web order entry system. Our ability to serve customers over the web is growing, and our partnership with IDEA is a big contributor of this success. After speaking with distributors using other web storefront applications, we selected the IDEA Connector Web Storefront Tool because it’s easy-to-use, has more capabilities and is pre-populated with product content from Connector.
Moving forward with the implementation and creation of our new web storefront, our goals are to double sales, line-item activity, number of orders, and customer logins in the next year, and then continue to grow. Ultimately, we want Van Meter’s site to be the preferred site of our customers. Even if they don’t end up choosing to place their orders through our site, we want customers to easily find the information they need so that Van Meter is top-of-mind for all their electrical supply needs.