BI MD, Bart Schoevaerts

Leading supplier Bearings International (BI) is entering the fast-growing realm of e-commerce by expanding its current website to provide more detailed information. “The aim is to create a 24/7 access experience for our existing customers, as well as reach out to new customers, including those in remote areas,” says BI MD, Bart Schoevaerts. The e-commerce platform was launched in May during the 2022 Nampo agricultural exhibition. 

The development process involved research, gathering information, and framework development. The functionality of the e-commerce platform allows for building quotes, adding out-of-stock items to a wish list, and placing actual orders. It links directly to BI’s ERP system for accuracy and direct transacting, says BI Business Systems Manager, JJ Jansen van Vuuren.

Customer benefits of using the new e-commerce platform include24/7 access to pricing, product range, and stock availability. Existing customers will have the ability to trade on agreed pricing. Apart from purchasing, the website will be a ‘go to’ platform for technical information, product selector tools, installation guides, maintenance advice, and a wide variety of applications to help the customer make a well-informed product selection.

Self-educated young engineers

It is anticipated that the platform will give broader exposure to BI’s full product offering and leading brands. “We expect any past perceptions of BI’s product offering to change due to the exposure to all our top brands and complementary products, both locally as well as to the export market. In future, we will be able to offer access to our engineering services such as bearing alignment, with links to email and other communication methods to allow for enquiries,” says JJ.

“It is critical that customers understand that, since Covid-19, the world has changed a lot, and new ways of interacting are critical,” adds Bart. “We can see a clear trend in how efficient young engineers have become in terms of self-education and research. In many cases, the need for specific technical advice and the classic sales approach are no longer required. We now see those engineers become more independent.”

Availability as well as speed of delivery at competitive pricing is important. “In this new business world, our private and work lives are more and more interwoven. We believe that companies need to find ways to be able to interact 24/7. Our e-commerce platform is a good way to not only have information about product and price on hand, but extras like installation, training, and maintenance tips and tricks,” Bart concludes.

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