How To Select The Best Ad Platform for Your Business
By Tom Wintaugh
Modern ecommerce features can help your science supply business thrive—if you know how to leverage them.
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Learning how to sell lab equipment online can be almost as complex as the products the scientific supply industry sells. Laboratory equipment can be delicate to ship, challenging to merchandise, and difficult for B2B customers to order. From pipettes to PCR testing supplies to liquid handling products galore, it can be tough to create a comprehensive B2B and B2C sales strategy around medical ecommerce that reaches the right audience and drives conversions.
However, the ability to sell medical equipment on ecommerce websites has made it possible for a greater number of laboratory and scientific supply merchants to sell their products online at a professional level, for clients ranging from schools to government agencies to private businesses. In this article, we'll explore why a thoughtful approach—and thoughtful ecommerce—is essential for selling lab equipment online, with examples of issues and potential customers for this type of seller, plus some tips for how to build a great laboratory or medical equipment ecommerce website shopping experience.
All kinds of medical and research laboratories operate worldwide, requiring a constant supply of specific equipment to carry out tests on liquids and other materials. This has resulted in the growth of a large professional industry to sell these supplies. However, even with a market size of about 14 billion dollars in 2022, there are several unique issues around how to sell lab equipment for merchants to navigate, especially when via an ecommerce site. For independent sellers and liquid handling companies entering the lab equipment business, here are four important baseline requirements to consider:
Managing inventory for a laboratory equipment business can be challenging, as large SKU counts are common, often with many dependent SKUs, each with exacting handling requirements. Products made with glass and delicate machinery tend to be fragile, and some chemical compounds may have strict safety protocols for shipping and handling. Coordinating the supply, location, and movement of goods is far easier when the process is digitized and integrated into an ecommerce platform that has been customized for very specific product requirements. Inventory management can be further aided by laboratory inventory management software features like real-time stock level updates, automated reordering for frequently-purchased products, and customizable dashboards that make it easy to monitor and manage inventory. An agile inventory management system ensures that you always have the products on hand that your customers need.
Selling laboratory equipment can be challenging because many orders may require customization, with multiple and/or intricate parts, special packaging, temperature control, and contamination protocols. When selling to labs, it’s also common to offer pre-negotiated prices, bulk prices, multiple shipping addresses, and accurate advance price quoting tailored to client approval processes.
A modern ecommerce platform can help sellers offer customized solutions to meet customer needs and efficiently manage processing and fulfilling orders. Additionally, a well-built ecommerce platform can offer secure payment processing and data protection, ensuring that sensitive customer and order information is kept safe. This is especially important in the laboratory equipment industry, where data protection is critical for compliance and regulatory requirements.
Selling laboratory equipment to scientists and medical professionals requires a tailored approach for the specific buyer or channel your business specializes in. Selling DTC direct to university students versus B2B to institutional or government accounts requires different merchandising, order forms, pricing, and marketing. The more dialed-in a sales strategy is, the more likely it is that a specific audience will find what they need from a business. At the same time, the easier it is to control all of the different channels you do business with, the more your team can accomplish with less resources.
With uniquely configured ecommerce platform features, it's possible to optimize your website for selling scientific equipment to your specific target audience. For example, if you primarily sell to B2B customers, you can create a dedicated portal which provides account pricing, bulk ordering options, and a streamlined checkout process. If you sell to both B2B and B2C customers, you can create a flexible platform that caters to the needs of both groups.
An intuitive shopping experience is key to any successful ecommerce platform, and that's particularly true for laboratory product sales, which can be challenging to merchandise effectively. It must be easy for customers to search for products, compare options, get a price quote if needed, communicate with sales teams, and make a purchase.
Wholesale laboratory supplies are a significant market for laboratory equipment suppliers. As these products are frequently used by other businesses, developing a B2B wholesale channel is an essential part of ecommerce for laboratory equipment industry professionals. Sellers might create a portal specifically for different groups of wholesale customers which provides them with customized content, pricing, payment terms, buying methods, and fulfillment options.
When formulating your plan for how to sell lab equipment online, don’t neglect site speed. Many lab product ecommerce businesses are selling to scientists who work on time-sensitive tasks. They need to quickly find the exact products they need to complete their experiments and research. A slow website can hinder their ability to do so and impact their work.
Additionally, site speed is a key factor in SEO. Fast-loading pages are rewarded by Google and rank higher in search results. Site which have slow page speeds create poor user experiences and lead to lower rankings, meaning that less people will visit your site.
To increase site speed and foster better experiences, better rankings, and the higher traffic that comes with it, laboratory equipment sellers can take several steps, including optimizing visual content, reducing HTTP requests, and of course choosing a modern ecommerce platform that prioritizes site speed.
To compete with the used equipment market and other sellers of lab equipment, it's essential to leverage the data, flexibility, and creativity of your ecommerce platform. Here are several ways that ecommerce for lab supply can drive conversions and build loyalty from a great shopping experience:
1. Create product bundles that offer a complete solution for specific customer needs.
For example, you could assemble the various component products that might typically be purchased together for a common task, such as a liquid handling starter kit or a PCR testing supply bundle, and offer the full set at a single bundle price.
2. Make sure your product descriptions are accurate, detailed, and include all relevant specifications and features.
Use high-quality product images, eye-catching promotions, and videos to showcase your products, with exact specs and clear use cases.
3. Draw on the power of reviews to become an authority for customers.
Display these reviews prominently on your website to help customers trust your scientific equipment company and make informed purchasing decisions.
4. Offer exceptional customer support that is built-in to the ecommerce experience with tools like live chat, how-tos, and even on-site technical support for larger customers.
This helps you differentiate yourself from competitors and build long-term relationships with your customers.
5. Employ data analytics to track your sales and optimize your sales strategy.
Look for patterns in your sales data and adjust your product offerings and pricing accordingly.
By leveraging excellent ecommerce features, it's possible to create a streamlined sales strategy that targets your specific audience. Optimizing your product listings, implementing search filters, offering custom pricing and discounts, and providing exceptional customer support all help to create an intuitive website that helps customers find the products they need quickly and easily. With the right platform and a solid sales strategy, you can successfully execute a great laboratory equipment business plan and sell scientific equipment to a range of customers, from individual researchers to large-scale facilities. From this great foundation, learning how to sell lab equipment like a pro is…academic.