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This Week in IDEA | March 28, 2013

Our eNewsletter, This Week in IDEA, keeps you informed with the latest news and education about IDEA, our solutions and services, and our customers and partners. IDEA’s knowledgeable staff and other contributing writers share insights, resources and special offers to help you Unleash the power of e. Subscribe now to receive This Week in IDEA in your email inbox every other Thursday and add our RSS feed to your reader.


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Open for Business: Best Practices in Website eCommerce

Representatives from IDEA and other IMARK Member Service Provider companies were interviewed in the feature story of the IMARK Now magazine March issue. They discuss the importance of robust eCommerce capabilities and best practices for growing an online presence. The article includes insightful analytics from industry research, advice on managing results, and tips to avoid common mistakes.

Sneak peek of the article:

“Some distributors think they’re too small to have a web storefront that could ever compare to sites like Grainger and Amazon Supply, but we’ve seen it happen and are helping many distributors compete with these online giants.” – Mike Wentz, VP of Marketing & Operations, IDEA.

“Contractors and institutional customers are increasingly demanding online access and order entry capabilities from their home or mobile phone, and if their favorite distributor can’t provide it, they’re finding a new favorite.” – Rich Schmitt, VP, Schmitt ProfiTools, Inc.

View and download the IMARK Now article on the IDEA website>

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New IDW Webinar Available On-Demand

The last live webinar, “Better Data. Better Business: The Industry Data Warehouse” is now available on-demand. Submit your request to watch the recording of this session, featuring J.R. Tapper, Director of MIS, J.H. Larson Company and Dennis Linden, National Sales Manager, Electri-Flex Company as the guest speakers.

This session will give you a closer look at how manufacturers can use the Industry Data Warehouse (IDW) to easily communicate accurate product and pricing content to their trading partners in near real-time. View the webinar to find out what’s being done in the channel, and globally, to help manufacturers increase sales with high-quality marketing data in the IDW. You’ll also gain access to an exclusive demo of the IDW, including the new Supply Chain Analytics tool that manufacturers can use to pinpoint data quality issues in real-time and fix them at the source.

Here are a few session highlights from our Twitter :

  • The #IDW scrubbing process validates your data so your distributors receive accurate, complete info. IDEA DQAs can help! #IDEAWebinars
  • J.R. Tapper, J.H. Larson Co.: Staff can get all the product info they need from the IDW system. They use and pass it onto the customer
  • Populating IDW is a huge time-saver, makes our partners happy, and prepares for the future – Dennis Linden #IDEAWebinars

Request the webinar on-demand>

All past sessions of IDEA webinars are also available by request on-demand. Once we receive and approve your request, you will be sent an email with a link to watch the webinar. Keep an eye out for our next webinar coming soon on the iCIMM2 web storefront software. 

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Tags for this post: idw manufacturers webinars electri-flex j.h. larson

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What to Know about AmazonSupply

With the beta release of AmazonSupply in full swing, the impact of this online retail giant is on everyone’s radar. We’ve gathered information from industry publications offering their predictions and analysis to help you evaluate how you can position your company in this new distributor landscape.

3 Observations on Amazon's New Industrial Marketplace: This blog post from Modern Distribution Management provides an initial synopsis of AmazonSupply’s potential when it was released. The post discusses a background of AmazonSupply’s features, possible competitive advantages, and initial feedback on its adoption in the B2B market.

Grainger’s Take on Amazon & the Latest on the Distributor’s Growth Drivers: Modern Distribution Management interviews Ron Jadin, senior vice president and CFO of Grainger, about his perspective on AmazonSupply. He discusses how Grainger’s multichannel model and product expansion will continue to grow the business. Grainger’s presentation and webcast is also linked in the article and available on the Grainger website.

Amazon Makes a Splash: Jim Lucy, Chief Editor of Electrical Wholesaling, shares his electrical industry perspective on the impact of AmazonSupply on companies like Grainger, Fastenal and other distributors, in addition to the increasingly digitizing electrical contractor market.

Big Strategies for Big Distributors: Industrial Supply magazine features this article reviewing the strategies of Fastenal, Grainger and AmazonSupply in developing their presence in the wholesale distribution channel. The article breaks down several key factors and encourages distributors to adopt similar strategies.

Trials and Tribulations of Sales Growth in an AmazonSupply World: In an online series, Industrial Supply magazine analyzes the supply chain model and sales challenges of wholesale distribution in an AmazonSupply world and opportunities for distributors to differentiate themselves.

Have additional resources about AmazonSupply or another perspective on how your company is approaching this new competitor? Please share your feedback in the comments.

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Tags for this post: electrical wholesaling distribution industrial supply magazine trend report fastenal amazonsupply grainger

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Your Digital Domain

The cover story of the March issue of Electrical Wholesaling magazine shares how distributors are embracing new technology and digital marketing. According to the article, distributors should not risk missing out on the competitive advantage. The electronic equivalent of traditional methods for distributing information to customers can offer numerous benefits for field sales support, customer engagement and supply chain coordination.

Representatives from ElectricSmarts, Madison Electric and Leff Electric share their success stories and insider tips on successfully implementing a digital marketing strategy. The article covers in-house videos, mobile apps, social technology, and cloud platforms. ElectricSmarts, an IDEA partner, also notes how IDEA’s Industry Data Warehouse (IDW) is contributing to mobile-friendly content.

Read the Electrical Wholesaling article on> 

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Tags for this post: electrical wholesaling marketing social media electricsmarts madison electric products leff electric

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E-Biz Forum Speaker Applications Due Tomorrow

Don’t miss this chance to attend the 2013 E-Biz Forum in Orlando, FL as a guest speaker and position your company as a leader at the electrical industry’s only event dedicated to eBusiness professionals. If you have insights on a trending industry topic or have unique solutions to share for common industry challenges, submit the 2013 Forum Speaker Application by this Friday, March 29th.

Some benefits of speaking at the next E-Biz Forum:

  • Complimentary registration (a $695 value) which includes access to all conference activities, scheduled meals, social functions and conference program materials
  • Promote your company as an expert on educational topics
  • Professional career development
  • Network with eBusiness, IT, marketing, operations and senior leadership contacts in the electrical industry

The 2013 theme is “Dream it. Do it. Let the innovation begin.” Presentations should be 45 or 50 minutes long. Or, new for 2013, speakers have the opportunity to engage in 20-minute "Speed Briefings." Some topics to consider for your session content include:

  • eBusiness strategies, organizational anecdotes and success stories on how your company (manufacturer, distributor or end-user) is utilizing and communicating product data throughout the supply chain
  • Best practices for industry trends including eBusiness, electronic data interchange (EDI) and data sync
  • Courses on leadership and creativity to rejuvenate your career

If you or someone at your company is interested in speaking, please download and submit the IDEA E-Biz Forum Speaker Application or direct your questions to

Speaker applications due tomorrow, Friday, March 29: Complete and submit the Speaker Application>

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