In today’s crowded digital marketplace where customers have seemingly endless options for online shopping, e-commerce components distributors must find ways to stand out. Because customers have so many sites to choose from, Digi-Key chooses to focus its time on earning customer trust, making the customer experience as personalized, seamless and easy as possible, and providing the level of detail each customer needs as key differentiators.
Furthermore, during this challenging time when supply chain disruptions are common, we know how important it is for customers to be able to source products that are not only in stock, but also access all the information they need about components to ensure they’re getting the correct product the first time, rather than needing to spend time on returns and finding new replacements.
We value and listen to our customers’ feedback and input, and have made significant investments in continuously improving the Digi-Key website to meet the changing needs of engineers, procurement professionals, students and makers who rely on us to deliver the components they need when they need them.
Trust is Essential
Our e-commerce strategy begins even before getting to the digital platform: Digi-Key prioritizes making the shopping experience as smooth as possible for all customers, while providing access to the details customers need to make informed purchasing decisions.
We want every electronic component shopper to start their search with Digi-Key. Our most loyal customers have come to trust us for having powerful search tools, accurate product data, industry-leading inventory levels, and same-day shipping. Everything we do online is focused on getting customers to the right part as quickly as possible and making it exceedingly convenient to check out with Digi-Key rather than continuing to shop around.
That said, even if they ultimately do not end up buying products from us, we aim to provide industry-leading information about each component we stock along with tools, resources and support.
We have a team of industry experts who specialize in certain technologies, that carefully vet the parts we offer to ensure they meet specific criteria around usability and longevity. From there, our team invests thousands of hours into researching every part that is available on the Digi-Key website, ensuring that customers have access to verified product specs, compliance details and more.
Beyond earning trust, user experience is of utmost importance. With that in mind, Digi-Key has developed a site that is designed specifically for engineers and procurement professionals, to help them do business as quickly and easily as possible.
Rich Search Features
What good is an e-commerce site if you can’t actually find what you’re looking for? Searchability is key to providing an effective user experience, and is something that Digi-Key has invested in heavily over the years.
As one of the pioneers of the high service components distribution industry, we originally mailed out physical catalogs that were sometimes several inches thick – they simply had to be, in order to list the millions of available products while providing the essential specs needed to make informed purchases.
Today, that catalog now lives online as Dig-Key’s website, where thousands of users search for parts every day. When it comes to electronics components distribution, there are many considerations that must be kept in mind: engineers and procurement professionals need very detailed, specific, and technical information about the parts they are purchasing.
Throughout the years, we have continually enhanced our shopping experience to ensure that customers can easily find, research and order the components that meet their exact specifications, as smoothly as possible.
A prime example of this is our rich parametric search filters. In each product category of our website, we provide many different parameters that visitors can use to filter results in real time, in order to find the exact part or parts that they need. If desired, customers can even save search filters for the next time they visit, saving valuable time and energy on re-entering the various filter preferences.
We’ve also built out a robust feature to help identify similar products: our database has 45 million proprietary cross-references, meaning that if you’re looking at a certain part, the site can show you all the other parts that are identical or similar that you may want to consider.
Even small updates, such as “Elastic Search,” which has type-ahead features that provides instant recommendations on which parts a user may be searching for, can help make the shopping experience more streamlined and effective.
Personalized, Localized Experience
Because we do business with customers in 180 countries around the world, our e-commerce site must be able to support multiple languages and currencies, at the minimum. Digi-Key also localizes experiences for different countries and regions, to provide the most intuitive user experience to each customer based on their location.
This includes comprehensive language and currency options, allowing customers to transact in their local currencies, using their local language. In Europe, for example, Digi-Key’s world-class website accepts payment from locally preferred platforms and follows online privacy and security laws specific to that region. Digi-Key also has local technical and customer service support in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, giving international customers a local point of contact should they have any questions or requests.
We also spend a great deal of time tailoring custom experiences based on their roles, interests and the level of detail each customer wants to see. Some users come to our site knowing exactly which parts they want to purchase down to the exact product number, while others are still researching which components are the best fit for what they’re working on. We designed the Digi-Key site thoughtfully to make sure that each user can access the level of information they need, without feeling overwhelmed as well as turn on more complexity as their needs evolve.
Our e-commerce strategy is always evolving and improving: we’re constantly looking for ways to enhance our digital platforms and offerings.
The Digi-Key Marketplace, which we launched last year, gives customers access to hundreds of thousands of new products direct from suppliers – including bare PCB boards, industrial automation, test and measurement, IoT solutions and virtually all things related to technology innovation – through a singular shopping experience.
We also recently introduced the myLists feature, a consolidated list management system that streamlines customers’ BOM Manager, Price and Availability (PANDA®), and Favorites into one convenient solution.
Furthermore, we have enhanced our online returns and order issues portal to create a more user-friendly model that allows international customers to fully self-service returns, including printing return shipping labels, making corrections, submitting part shortage requests and resolving order issues.
Digi-Key aims to provide a user experience built on customer trust, and ultimately keeps them coming back to our site for all their procurement needs, from research, to purchase and beyond. We always invite feedback from our customers – please feel free to share your thoughts with us by submitting a feedback form on our website here.
Tim Carroll is Global Head of Marketing and eCommerce at Digi-Key Electronics. Digi-Key is both the leader and continuous innovator in the high service distribution of electronic components and automation products worldwide, providing more than 11.7 million components from over 1,900 quality name-brand manufacturers.