An outdated manufacturing facility is being shut down. What happens to the heavy equipment and even the building itself? If you think a lot of the facility's contents end up in a local landfill, you're right.
"Our entire business revolves around being able to ship at a reasonable cost and how fast we get the product there."
NRI Industrial Sales of Toronto wanted to change that outcome. The company, a division of the NRI Group of Companies, decommissions large industrial facilities and sells the parts, equipment or even the entire facility to resellers and end users.
"We wanted to find a way to market these products and keep them out of landfills," says Jamil Rahman, sales director for NRI Industrial Sales.
That's just what the company did. Using UPS technology, NRI Industrial Sales created an e-commerce site to sell its industrial parts and equipment. The site has increased top-line revenue by 25 percent, helping NRI Industrial Sales maintain a 100 percent year-over-year growth rate.
Beyond a product catalog
In 2009, NRI Industrial Sales began exploring the idea that industrial products – ranging in price from 99 cents to $3 million – could be sold directly to end users online.
"We find that in the industrial surplus world, the parts that we have are required in emergency situations," Rahman says. "A company may have a machine down and they need to get that part ASAP. When they see a part online, they know that they can call us and ask us about it. And they know they will have that part in hand the next morning."
After it began selling its products on other e-commerce sites, the company saw an immediate boost in revenue. "The web channel allowed us to give more value to customers who were looking at selling a facility and/or its assets," Rahman says.
Given the positive outcome, NRI Industrial Sales decided to expand and open its own online store but knew it needed to do more than put up a product catalog.
"Your customers judge you by how quickly you get product to them and how reasonable the shipping costs are," Rahman notes.
NRI Industrial Sales counted on integrating UPS technology into its e-commerce site to make the expansion to a stand-alone, online store as easy as possible so that online buyers could see shipping costs and choose the shipping option they needed. UPS Developer Kit application programming interfaces (APIs) enabled NRI Industrial Sales to incorporate these features, along with shipment tracking.
Why shipping matters
"When you're doing business online, you have to establish a level of trust and respect with your customers," Rahman says. "People are purchasing items that cost $15,000 or $20,000 sight unseen (on our site), so customer service is critical."
To enhance customer service, NRI Industrial Sales often runs a promotional offer: Buyers of high-value items receive free shipping.
Selling online often grows a business geographically, which is the case with NRI. The company typically ships 100 packages a day and has expanded from a single warehouse in Canada to another in Ohio. The company chose UPS as its primary carrier not only because of the ability to integrate shipping options into an online shopping cart, but also because of UPS's reliable, consistent shipping service in both countries and cross-border.
"Our entire business revolves around being able to ship at a reasonable cost and how fast we get the product there," Rahman says.
Taking the step yourself
Want to move your own business from simply putting your product catalog on a website to offering an engaging customer experience that grows sales? Take advantage of UPS Developer Kit APIs to enrich your customers' online buying experience.
UPS APIs are programming instructions and standards for accessing and integrating UPS functionality into your e-commerce site. Possible applications include:
- Ordering: Improve order accuracy with Street Level Address Validation, Rating or Time in Transit APIs.
- Shipping: Automate fulfillment and global shipping processes with Pickup, Shipping and UPS TradeAbility® APIs.
- Customer Service: Provide visibility to customers and your employees with Quantum View®, UPS Signature Tracking®, and Locator APIs.