eCommerce System Powers Direct to Customer Rivet Sales

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Fastenix built it’s business on eCommerce and now is growing rapidly.

Fastenix.com

There were just too many middlemen in this industry. Once the manufacturer has built the rivet and added in their margin, another 30% or more is added during selling and distribution. No value is being added. In the end, the customer has paid too much.

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Mike Wayte has spent his entire career selling and marketing rivets. For the average person, rivets go unnoticed. Without them though, the world would fall apart – literally. Rivets are one of the most widely used but unappreciated fasteners. They help hold things together such as a pair of Levis (6 rivets) to a Boeing 747 (over 1.5 million rivets). While rivets themselves haven’t changed much during Mike’s career, the average customer’s expectations towards buying them has changed dramatically.

Over the past 20 years, Mike’s customers increasingly wanted to inventory less. They demanded “just in time” delivery. At the same time, they wanted better pricing without sacrificing quality. Mike realized the way rivets were traditionally sold, customers would never be satisfied when it came to price. According to Mike, “There were just too many middlemen in this industry. Once the manufacturer has built the rivet and added in their margin, another 30% or more is added during selling and distribution. No value is being added. In the end, the customer has paid too much.”

Mike saw this as a great opportunity to have his own venture that would excel at providing what his customers wanted. As Mike puts it, “I just needed to be the best at Price, Delivery and Quality”. Sounds easy enough, right?

Mike took the plunge and founded Seattle, Washington based Fastenix with Victor Carlson, also an industry veteran. Carlson is the former President of the National Association of Fastener Distributors (NAFD). With their combined industry knowledge and technical expertise, they designed new toolings and geared up for their first production runs. In 2009, after extensive testing, the Clinch Engineering™ and Clinch Rivets™ self-punching sheet metal fasteners were ready to be sold. Mike and Victor were confident they had reached a quality level that easily matched the major name brands.

In order to deliver the best price, Mike decided to go direct to his customers, using the internet as his selling platform. He believed his operations needed to be as efficient as possible. He looked for an internet solution to optimize automation and keep the labor component of his overhead low.

Mike found his solution with the iHost Stores shopping cart system from iHost.Net. iHost helped Mike set up his ecommerce storefront and configure his payment gateway and shippers like UPS, FedEx and USPS. The new system is his virtual “inside sales person”. The iHost ecommerce solution processes all of Mike's orders. It automatically manages all of his customer payments and is setup to deposit funds right into the Fastenix bank account.
iHost Stores is integrated with Mike’s QuickBooks Accounting system, so all of his order info is entered properly and eliminates the need to have his bookkeeper re-enter the data.

In the rivet industry, customers are given special discounts based on high volume purchases. Using iHost’s Wholesaler mode, Mike can give his high volume customers a private login that displays their pricing. These customers are able to have a customized view into their pricing, and there is no need for them to call in for special terms – it’s always up to date and right in front of them.

The Fastenix.com site takes advantage of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to help reach new customers. According to Mike “My web presence alone is paying for itself through new sales.” Using iHost Stores ecommerce system, Mike estimates he has eliminated 80%
of his overhead costs. He has improved cash flow and reduced the need to manage accounts receivable.

The Fastenix story shows how iHost Stores can help Make Small Business – Big. Mike had the vision for the business opportunity and the foresight to use right tools. With iHost Stores, Mike is now enjoying rapid growth – and he expects to double revenues in 2012.

For the complete article, please go to: http://www.ihost.net .

This article may be republished, in part or in whole, without permission.

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