“Required” vs. “Optional” Options in Product Information

DistributorCentral was designed to allow Suppliers to provide Distributors complete  product information so that paper catalogs are not required AND to provide Distributors product information for their  websites. Supplier product information in DistributorCentral is used on over 10,000 websites  that are either hosted by DistributorCentral, linked to DistributorCentral, or use DistributorCentral for product information feeds. Over 35,000 Promotional Products industry members have DistributorCentral logins so that they can do product research.

What we are learning as we gain more experience in the e-commerce world is that results on websites increase as the shopping experience becomes less complicated. Ideally once a Buyer selects “Order Now” and starts the shopping experience the fewer steps they experience the more likely they will be to complete the purchase. The offsetting issue in conflict with this is that Suppliers in an effort to eliminate the need for their paper catalogs are including every possible option that might be considered if a product is to be ordered. Suppliers want Distributors to be aware of every possible charge or option a product may have to ensure that the order is placed correctly.

How can these conflicting goals be handled in the DistributorCentral model?

When Suppliers setup their product information in DistributorCentral we advocate that all text copy is Buyer friendly. There should be no references to “contact the factory” or “call for details”. All text copy in the general product information is seen by Buyers on thousands of Distributor websites. There is a “Distributor Only” section on every product for Suppliers to provide Distributors with specific product information that they should know.

We encourage Suppliers when adding the Options to their products to think thru whether each Options is “Required” or “Optional”. We are encouraging Distributors with e-commerce websites to turn off the “Optional” options in their shopping cart. This has resulted in higher success rates as the shopping experience is less complicated and requires fewer steps.  It is important that Suppliers do have the Options they need to manufacture selected as “Required” but are mindful that Options selected as “Optional” are turned off on most e-commerce sites.

Distributors, to turn off the “Optional” options for products in your shopping cart on your website:
– Go to Add/Edit Websites
– Click on the Preferences link for the website
– Go to the Orders tab
– Select “Yes” for the “Do you want the shopping cart to only display required options?” preference
– Click on Save and then Publish your website

If you do choose to simplify your shopping cart by turning off the “optional” options it would be suggested that you review these before submitting your order to the Supplier.   There may  be opportunities to show your value to your Customer and to increase the total revenue of the order by suggesting some options that are available on the product that are not showing on your website.   Your role as a Distributor is important in the sales process.