eCommerce 101 for Manufacturers

In this MFG eCommerce Success show to hear Nancy O’ Leary,  Vice President, Custom Direct Inc., discusses what manufacturers should consider before implementing their ecommerce sales strategy.

In this MFG eCommerce Success show to hear Nancy O’ Leary,  Vice President, Custom Direct Inc., discusses what manufacturers should consider before implementing their ecommerce sales strategy.

Nancy leads and develops client-focused, results-driven SMART goal-based marketing initiatives that drive millions in sales opportunities for Custom Direct Clients.

Custom Direct, Inc. is a full-service marketing agency providing small to medium-sized manufacturers with innovative brand-building strategies and solutions. Custom Direct’s efforts are fueled by technical expertise and methodology combined with powerful storytelling to help clients stand out in crowded marketplaces. Their work spans strategy, website design, SEO, SEM, social media management, catalog design and production, public relations, and trade show marketing.

Download our free business valuation guide here to understand more about business valuations and view our business valuation FAQs to answer the most common valuation questions.

Curt expresses excitement and nervousness about the event, describing it as a “powerhouse” and stating that he had butterflies in his stomach. The hosts welcome Nancy. Curt asks the guest about her upbringing in Chicago and requests her to talk about her hero when she was growing up.

Nancy names Lou, her father, as her hero while growing up and mentions that she was the youngest of three girls. She describes herself as being a carbon copy of her “dynamic” dad and shares that she now has four sons, with the fourth one being her clone.

Nancy narrates that her mom used to tell her and her siblings that she hoped they would have kids just like themselves whenever they misbehaved, and she joked that her wish came true with her son Charlie.

Do you want to know if your business is ready for your exit or what you should do to prepare? Learn this and more with our business exit assessment here.

Her father was a plastics mold engineer who had his foot crushed in an accident but refused to have it amputated and found a surgeon who saved it.

Similarly, Nancy talks about her father’s wisdom on motherhood and a heartwarming story about how he surprised her mother with a wedding band hidden in a box of Cracker Jacks. She also shares about her four sons, who are passionate about different fields, including history, politics, pricing analysis, rocket science, and global economics.

Curt praises her for raising such accomplished children and talks about how her son in the military was recruited for his gift of languages. Nancy reveals that her son didn’t like Spanish in high school but joined the military due to his passion for history. After taking an aptitude test and scoring high on a mock language exam, he was recruited for his linguistic abilities.

Get the most value for your business by understanding the process and preparing for the sale with information here on our Selling a Business page.

Curt recalibrates the Livestream to its right course and asks Nancy about her work with iMac, Illinois MEP, helping manufacturers with digital transformation and e-commerce. He asks why Nancy and her team are passionate about helping manufacturers.

Nancy says that Customer Direct has been in business for thirty-five years and recently started working with the industrial sector. They take a goal-oriented approach and work with manufacturers to help them achieve their growth goals, rather than starting with tactics and putting clients on a retainer. They believe this approach resonates with manufacturers and have seen positive impacts from their work.

Curt asks Nancy to describe the term “impact” in the marketing context for manufacturers. To describe “impact,” Nancy gives an example where 28 manufacturers invested around $5,500 per project, resulting in an ROI of $78,000. IMEC ensures that projects remain goal-oriented and clients receive the desired impact. They follow up 90 days, six months, and one year later to ensure the project’s success.

The host asks Nancy to discuss ecommerce 101 and dispel the myth that e-commerce is only for Amazon. Nancy maintains that it has been the fastest-growing sales channel for the past 18 months. She clarifies that ecommerce involves cart functionality, but there is also a version that doesn’t require it, called a “configurator.”

A configurator is a powerful tool that helps visitors make preliminary decisions about the product or service they’re interested in and provides specific options within each area. Nancy believes that configurators are the future and crucial for staying competitive in the market.

Curt requests Nancy to guide the audience through the process.

Nancy has dropped a downloadable checklist for companies considering ecommerce. She recommends managing time and using WordPress as the platform to build on, specifically WooCommerce for ecommerce. Nancy goes over the checklist, which includes four key steps: shop details, product details, payment and shipping, and post-launch.

Nancy touches on the key considerations when setting up an ecommerce site. She talks about integrating the ERP and payment processing systems to streamline processes. The most time-consuming part is preparing product details and categorizing products.

In the same breath, Nancy suggests an iterative approach to introducing products to the site and advises secure payment methods. She suggests considering product taxonomy before building the site.

Damon comments on taxonomies to ensure customers can easily find what they want on an e-commerce platform like eBay.

Curt, declaring her the perfect guest on Manufacturing eCommerce Success, gives a shout-out to Nancy. He is overjoyed to receive some nice comments from the audience.

Nancy talks about attending the Illinois Manufacturing Association’s business day event and learning about AI tools that can provide exceptional information to customers and prospects. She also talks about the concerns regarding AI and its political implications.

However, she says that AI can be used to ensure that customers get validated information about a company and not that of competitors. Nancy advises keeping an eye on AI, playing with it, and being patient because AI tools are being developed rapidly, and in less than a year, there will be many open-source tools available.

Curt asks Nancy for advice on how manufacturers just starting in e-commerce can get into the game. He suggests they need a trusted guide source like Nancy to help them.

Nancy believes in conversations with trusted guides like herself or IMEC to help manufacturers get started in the “ecommerce game.” She encourages them to review the checklist, evaluate their readiness, and not be afraid to get started because it’s usually easier than they think. Procrastination should be avoided as it takes up unnecessary space in their brains.

Damon agrees with the guest, suggesting an iterative approach and starting with the top-selling products instead of tackling everything at once. He notes that many companies fail to implement e-commerce because they don’t prioritize it and procrastinate.

Nancy mentions that they are success-driven and want to see companies succeed. She highlights the success of the twenty-eight projects they worked on last year, which positively impacted three and a quarter million dollars.

Curt finds Nancy’s accomplishments praiseworthy. He advises taking the 20% that drives 80% of sales and contacting Nancy for help. He asks Nancy how much WordPress costs. “Less than two hundred bucks,” replies the guest. She explains that WordPress is open source and can be customized according to the user’s needs. They encourage their clients to make changes to their website, and they provide training and resources to help them do so.

Curt asks Nancy whether manufacturers will decrease their reliance on distributors and retailers.

Nancy says that reducing dependence on distributors and retailers is a tricky question. If a company wants to sell directly to the customer, it presents an exciting relationship shift. The most positive solution is an open and candid approach, explaining that the company is doing this to grow its business and benefit everyone.

Damon suggests that in industries where speed to customers is essential, manufacturers should consider treating their dealer distributors more like Amazon by focusing on quick delivery times. By doing so, manufacturers can gain a competitive advantage.

To prove her stance, Nancy cites Shopify and its limitations for manufacturers who need to do more than just sell products. While Shopify can be successful for simple selling, it is not integrated and can add complexity to processes such as ERP and payment processing. Nancy suggests that Shopify is more suited for building simple websites and is popular because it is straightforward and plug-and-play.

Before departing, Nancy wishes that young people and women should participate in manufacturing. She applauds the resurgence of shop classes in high school. Still, she believes that the focus should be on reaching children earlier so they can consider manufacturing as a viable career option.

Damon thanks everyone for their comments and passion for manufacturing. He asserts that ecommerce is the fastest-growing sales channel for manufacturers and urges them to get on board to stay ahead of their competitors.

Damon and Curt end this Livestream by thanking Nancy and the viewers again and wishing them a great weekend.

MFG eCommerce Success

Learn from the experiences, methods, and tips of other business owners from all niches within eCommerce. Get to know their success stories and get ready to achieve yours.

All The Faces of Business episodes are


Check out this episode on LinkedIn
The Faces of Business on Twitter:
Listen to this episode of The Faces of Business on these podcast channels


Exit Your Way® provides a structured process and skilled resources to grow business value and allow business owners to leave with 2X+ more money when they are ready.

You can find more information about the Exit Your Way® process and our team on our website.

You can contact us by phone:  822-BIZ-EXIT (249-3948)   Or by Email:

Find us on LinkedIn:  Damon PistulkaAndrew Cross

Find our Companies on LinkedIn: Exit Your Way®,  Cross Northwest Mergers & Acquisitions, Bowman digital Media 

Follow Us on Twitter: @dpistulka  @exityourway

Visit our YouTube Channel: Exit Your Way®

Service Professionals Network:  Damon PistulkaAndrew Cross

Facebook:  Exit Your Way® Cross Northwest Mergers & Acquisitions

Other websites to check out:  Cross Northwest Mergers & AcquisitionsDamon PistulkaIra BowmanService Professionals Network (SPN)Fangled TechnologiesB2B TailDenver Consulting FirmWarren ResearchStellar Insight, Now CFO, Excel Management Systems  & Project Help You Grow



nancy, manufacturers, e commerce, product, manufacturing, damon, building, checklist, configurator, talk, mep, wordpress, ecommerce, woocommerce, distributors, dad, kids, dropped, information, mom


Nancy O’Leary, Damon Pistulka, Curt Anderson


Damon Pistulka  00:01

All right everyone, it is Friday. And we are here once again with manufacturing ecommerce success. I am Damon Pustaka one of your co hosts and right over there that the man Ryan Anderson, my co host take it away Curt


Curt Anderson  00:22

Damon dude it’s just so good to have you back man I met you can’t leave me again like that so So Nancy Damon goes on this wonderful two week vacation with his wife he’s up and down the west coast so God bless him what a great time and then I was just banned so I’m just glad to have you back my friend so yep. Hey guys. Happy Friday. Man and my fired up demon Ivan. I don’t know if you guys noticed like I even did my hair for today like this.


Damon Pistulka  00:47

I did. Big about it. Yes.


Curt Anderson  00:49

This is such a powerhouse event today. Man. I am like I demon is like I have butterflies. I don’t know if I’ve ever had butterflies on this program before. It’s like,


Nancy O’Leary  00:58

You’re too kind. But you know, this has been such a long time in coming. It feels like we’ve known each other forever. But we haven’t. But gosh, I mean, it was like from the first two seconds we spoke. Oh, we gotta we gotta do a link.


Curt Anderson  01:12

Yeah, dude. So Nancy, you had me at hello. So guys, I’m a big introduction to Nancy O’Leary from Chicago. So Nancy, happy Friday. Welcome to the program.


Nancy O’Leary  01:23

Thank you. Thank you. And I just want to mention, yeah, Mrs. O’Leary from Chicago. And yes. Born and bred Chicago, and there are dairy farm roots in my family on my mom’s side, but we are no relation to the original. This is Alarie and it was not her cow. It was actually pegleg Sullivan who kept moonshine in his pegleg that caused all the problems. And,


Curt Anderson  01:49

you know, drop the mic, dude, I wasn’t going there. But she did. We’re like, we’re not even two minutes into the program. And Nancy just like spouted out, she dispelled the myth. It was not Mrs. O’Leary’s cow. Thank you. Yes.


Nancy O’Leary  02:04

And you weren’t expecting a history lesson, but there you go. Boom.


Curt Anderson  02:07

Well, and here’s the thing for full disclosure. Kate O’Leary the Kyle, that was gonna be one of my first questions. I didn’t know I knew she read my mind. So Nancy, man, we are just so it were my you’re my soul sister. We have so much fun to talk about guys. Hey, Gary woods in the house. I met Gary in person this week. Damon we got it. And what a rockstar he is. Jon Burge Leno’s here. Diane is on this here, guys. Happy Friday traveling note in the chat box. Let us know that you’re here.

Nancy is super fired up. She’s an E commerce guru for manufacturers. Encourage you invite you welcome you to connect with Nancy on LinkedIn. We have a lot of good stuff to cover. Nancy, as we came in, I am still going my first question though. I’m still gonna Yes, Nancy. So I’m not very original. I had the same question I ask on every program. So are you sitting down may


Damon Pistulka  03:03

have heard of before? Are you ready? I’m ready. Okay, are we ready for Nancy as


Curt Anderson  03:07

a little girl growing up in Chicago, not part of the tragic fire that went on? That is not in your family heritage whatsoever. You just clarified that for all of us. As a little girl growing up in Chicago, could you please share with us? Who was your hero? Who is your hero as a little girl growing up that created this powerhouse that you are


Nancy O’Leary  03:29

without a doubt my dad. I’m the youngest of three girls. And they used to call us the twins. Because I’m literally just a carbon copy of my dad. Oh my. That’s awesome. I have four sons. And three of them really take after my husband and the fourth child who wasn’t necessarily expected but welcome and thrilled nonetheless. Yes, because he is my clone. So my mom used to always say when we were misbehaving to whichever one of us. I hope you have a child just like you. Did. Now you do and Charlie because I mean, he’s me. It’s


Curt Anderson  04:05

the game through in what’s dad’s name? Lou? Lou. All right, big shout out to Lou and Dana and I are huge girl dads. So that’s one of our favorite answers. Nancy, so big shout out and love to Lou. What what made why was Lou such a hero? Let’s go. Let’s hear about Luke.


Nancy O’Leary  04:24

He really took on the responsibility of having a family and shoulder that without complaining with just being a really dynamic, fun guy that he was the guy that you wanted at every party. The neighborhood always came to our backyard. And he could have cared less even though he was an Eagle Scout.

He loved camping. He was into all of the you know, what we see is really guy stuff. He loved having kids and it was relevant to my dad and my mom, that they had girls and so in my dad’s mind, we were just raised to one had to do all the things that he felt was important.

So we had to change tires, rotate tires, hang gutter, roof, the house. You name it, we did it. And we all learned how to use power tools. And, you know, that has served us well. All of my sisters. But really, I think more than anything, um, he was a plastics mold engineer. But when he started, oh, wow, he had just come out of the army. He served in the Korean War. And he was looking for a career. And so he got a job working on a press break.

And they were moving one of the really heavy pieces of machinery around, and then that last second right before they dropped it, it nudged just a couple of inches. And that nudging when it dropped meant that it fell on my dad’s foot and crushed his right foot. And he had just met this captivating woman named Anita ballroom dancing the weekend before. Oh, no. Well, friends at the Aragon ballroom, it’s infamous in Chicago.

And I immediately was told that his foot would need to be amputated or at a minimum, probably at least two or three of his toes, starting with his big toe. And he absolutely refused and said no, he had had polio as a kid, and did not walk with a limp he had fought through to make sure that his gait was steady. And so he found this is before the internet before you had any of that at your fingertips, found an orthopedic surgeon who was willing to take the chance and save his entire foot and his toes.

My mom comes to find out she goes for dancing in this captivating Lew isn’t there and finds out he had this horrible accident. So she shows up the next day at the hospital with a Popular Mechanics and with Cracker Jacks. And he was so touched that a woman that he only met once his own friends hadn’t even come. And she’s looking at really, there’s mald foot that suspended with all the stuff, she was raised on a dairy farm. So I mean, you know, she was a strong woman really was all about just making sure he was comfortable.

She didn’t bring flowers or candy she intrinsically knew to bring them a Popular Mechanics, and then to bring the Cracker Jacks. And so um, you know, that was it, he was bound and determined to come fight and back. And he did. And ultimately, without a college degree, he went on to become a plastics mold engineer. And I just so admired him even from a little kid, just his presence, his sense of humor. And just the way his mind work was so operationally logic, it resonated to me. And as it turns out, that’s just how my mind works.

So I mean, I was super comfortable with that, you know, he could, he could explain something to me in terms that I understood. So you know, when you’re a kid, you’re told, you know, go do that go, whatever? Well, I was set up an anxious child that had to keep asking why? And he would look at me, and he would say, because if you don’t do this, then this this, and this doesn’t happen. And I said, Oh, okay. And I would go do it. And I can remember my mom repeatedly saying, Why does she have to be like that the other girls aren’t like, my dad. Well, Charlie, Charlie’s always done the exact same thing.

So it’s kind of funny, it all comes back. But that’s why I mean that that man was just a mountain of a man, and yet as gentle as could be. And, you know, there was a point in time when he sat me down as a, as a young teenager and told me, you know, being a woman is probably the greatest gift that God could give anyone, you are going to have the ability to hopefully, go on and carry a child and birth a child, and there is no bigger miracle than that.

And so, you know, whatever you go through whatever, you know, you hear in life, just remember that, you know, you’ve got this amazing gift. And, you know, that really hit me, you know, you don’t often hear dads talking to their daughters about that, but I gotta say, gentlemen, it, it really hit me between the eyes, there was a lot of hormones and emotions going on, when he sat me down, and we had that conversation.

And I really pulled a lot of strength from them. And unfortunately, he only got to meet our first two kids before he passed, but they’ve all heard the story. They all know it and they talk about Pilu in the president, you know, like power lose this power lose told tool. You know, power lose words of wisdom come up pretty often. So anyway, that was a long winded answer, Kurt. I apologize. That


Curt Anderson  09:19

was that was such a blessing. Are we getting little feedback? That was an amazing, incredible. I am so touched now. Like I’m at a loss of words. Yeah. I don’t know if I’ve ever been at a loss to words like you gave me chills that so. Lou, thank you for all you did to raise this gift of a woman. Yes. Oh my god, if I could be Daymond if we could be a fraction of the Father that Lou was yeah, I will consider myself a massive success. Thank you, Nancy. Thank you for sharing that story. So guys, what? All right, you’re just getting like we’re just Start


Damon Pistulka  10:00

where do we go from here?


Curt Anderson  10:04

Well is here Val we got yeah


Damon Pistulka  10:08

we got James’s here we got Gary


Curt Anderson  10:09

says, you’re very solid a great story. So


Damon Pistulka  10:14

yeah, I don’t know who this is, but change your account so we can see you next time j one. We got Vicki, Gary again saying was a great story. Yeah.


Curt Anderson  10:26

So well, let’s go. So again, if you’re here connect with Nancy on LinkedIn All right, Nancy, I know you’re gonna make us cry today. I’m tell it’s easy for me. I already did that. That was such a moving story. I am so much right now. So you have four sons that I hear you say that correctly. You have four sons. Now if I’m not mistaken, you might be a military mom, can you just can we we’ve got a ton to unpack on ecommerce. I wanted to give a shout out as a military mom. Let’s give a shout out to the boys.


Nancy O’Leary  11:01

So so um, you know, I wound up there’s a there’s that that funny kind of old wives tale that you know, you wind up marrying somebody just like your father. You know


Curt Anderson  11:11

about Nancy. I bought this apartment here. I loved it. You know what? You like you fired off so much like,


Nancy O’Leary  11:18

Yeah, okay. Mechanics. Okay, so we still have that subscription. When my dad passed. We switched it over to one of my son’s names. And, and now we still get it as a family. It’s a really different thing. And really quick, I got to just tell you this because this one’s gonna really make you cry.


Curt Anderson  11:37

Let me find my Kleenex.


Nancy O’Leary  11:39

You know, I was mentioning to you about the Cracker Jacks. So that became like a little insight thing between my parents. They got married, they had two kids right away. They lived in an apartment in Evanston up of a grocery store, a one bedroom, my sister got the bedroom, and they slept on a pullout sleeper sofa. When they were expecting me several years later. They knew they had a they had a buy house, and they’d been really careful with their money and saving.

And so what my mom didn’t know is that my dad had been saving money for years. And a can that he kept hidden in this little tiny apartment. And he had gone and bought her a beautiful wedding band that had no stones or anything, because when they got married, she had gotten this beautiful traditional wedding set that had diamonds. Well, there was no way she was wearing that day to day schlepping the girls up two flights of stairs to get to their apartment. So she never had a wedding ring on and that really bothered her.

So they went to the park across the street from where their apartment was. And she didn’t know that my dad had taken an exacto knife, open the bottom of one of the boxes of Cracker Jacks pulled out the price had carefully sliced it open, slipped the ring and re glued it re glued the whole thing then kept track of which box it was because they were all in one for them.

Hands have heard the box and she was like, Oh, I’m not gonna have any right now. And poor Lou was like, Oh, come on. I feel like having some and she goes well, you open it because then I’ve just kind of have some. So she opens it because we got to see what the prizes and she’s like, Yeah, okay. And my sisters are all excited. So my mom pulls it out. She rips you know, rips it open. And there sits the ring? Yeah. Oh, man, that engineer? Yeah. Dan, did Lou


Curt Anderson  13:14

set the bar high? Or what


Nancy O’Leary  13:17

you did without? So So you know, yeah, what do I do, I wound up meeting a man that I didn’t realize at the time was a lot like my dad. And he was very different. And he was not he was the same. And he had all of the best qualities and engineering mind and just very operationally related. And so as a result, we waited a while to have kids. And then when we did have kids, we had four sons within six years, and then kind of set Okay, that’s probably a pretty good number, I think a good place to start.

So we tend. And so anyway, I’ve got these these four boys. They’re real close and age, they are extremely close. And the first two kids very passionate about history. And to a certain degree, political science, not so much the politics but more the economic impact that changes occur throughout the world, depending on who’s running things and who’s pulling strings. My oldest is in his fourth year in the army.

He was a history poli sci double major, and then jumped into the army and is a linguist with the army. And the next kid is very much on the upside into pricing analysis. But my third son is a rocket scientist. He’s building rockets out in the Mojave Desert, and my fourth son is in college right now. And he is really interested in global economics and how those get influenced. So he’s studying


Curt Anderson  14:59

well Perfect. All right. So if you’re just joining us, we’ve got Nancy O’Leary vice president at Custom direct and Daymond. Did you did you pick this up? We had a rocket scientists conversation on Monday with guys. So if somebody ever says like, oh, geez, Nancy, it’s not like you raise a rocket scientist, you’re like, Yeah, I did raise a rocket scientist.

And what’s fascinating her son, it’s in the military. Thank you, God bless you, you’re serving our country, proudly. I know you are super proud. And I believe that I have the story correctly. It was not like he was a master of languages, it was discovered that he had a gift for languages and demon like they recruited him. Can you? Can you share that real quick, real funny,


Nancy O’Leary  15:39

um, he had two years of high school Spanish and he hated it. And I mean, and that was it. And ironically enough, just his passion for history, he saw the military as a great opportunity to serve his country and to really just get in you really wanted to get in and and really understand the commitment and in some of the strategy that goes behind some of what we do.

And so one of the things that they had them take was a was an exam and ASVAB and then from there indication that perhaps he might have some ability with languages and so then he was put in a room and with a monitor and a keyboard and all the fake language was put up, and he had to read it and then answer a whole bunch of questions and he came out and he had scored extremely high. And they said, We want you to do this and he was just laughing He was like, No, I’m not really sure


Damon Pistulka  16:34

that’s awesome. All right. So


Curt Anderson  16:35

let’s let’s dig in. Alright, man I


Damon Pistulka  16:41

want to talk about Yeah, we’re gonna talk about e commerce.


Curt Anderson  16:44

Yeah, if you want to talk about e commerce we’re gonna be here till like five o’clock. Eastern. Yeah. All right. So Nancy, let’s go here. You work with manufacturers you do an amazing job with iMac iMac is the Illinois MEP.

Any friends of the show, if you’re not familiar, the MEP Manufacturing Extension Partnership, if whatever state you’re coming from there is an N E. P near you, Nancy and her team accustomed direct are doing amazing work, helping manufacturers figure out this whole digital transformation, sheep commerce. So Nancy, let me start here, like why manufacturers? Why why you and your team at customer direct? Why are you so passionate about moving the needle for manufacturers,


Nancy O’Leary  17:24

you know, customer brought customers around for a little over 35 years. And we really started weaning into the industrial sector several years ago, really shortly before I joined the team about six years ago now. And I’ll be honest with you, there is such a balance between the creative side of marketing, and then the operational side of manufacturing, both of them follow a process, both of them look for measured results.

And so it was such a natural fit. And what we found was, we were speaking the same language, you know, we take a goal oriented approach, you know, what is your what do you want your growth to be? And let’s work together to get you there. We very much this is the one thing I’ll say we don’t start with tactics. And then say, here’s this is what you need. And let’s put you on a retainer. That’s X amount a month and all the rest of it, we feel that that’s really kind of like a random x and marketing.

We’d love to lean into what your goals are, what’s your growth goal, and how fast you want to get there, because that’s really going to determine, you know, what your investment is going to look like. And that resonates. I mean, everybody wants to have a say in how much they’re going to spend and everyone wants to see results. I mean, honestly, and so for us, manufacturing is such a such a cool, comfortable fit. And I don’t we must be doing something right, because we’ve got some phenomenal impacts.


Curt Anderson  18:47

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Absolutely. So 28 I know you’ve been posting I saw 28. For folks out there describe impact. And I, you know, we will geek out too hard, because I know that’s like more MEP language, like for our manufacturers here. And just from a marketing standpoint, what do you mean by impact?


Nancy O’Leary  19:06

So you could think of it like a like an ROI. So you know, you’re putting on average we worked with in just one single program, we had several lectures, but just one, and it was with 28 Different manufacturers, and they had a an investment of around $5,500. Now, there were some of those manufacturers had more than one project. So the numbers, you got to know that there was just under 50 projects total, but it was 28 manufacturers, their investment per project was around $5,500.

But their ROI was more like 78,000. Yeah. So when you multiply that out, so that’s really what an impact is in IMEC is such a tremendous partner. So they really work very hard to ensure that every single client of theirs is getting exactly what they were looking for, and hopefully even a little bit more than that. And so they keep all of us kind of out like this They keep us all honest, they make sure that we’re all remaining goal oriented.

And that projects don’t necessarily scope creep or that they don’t fall back. And that really at the end, that client is seeing the impacts that they were hoping for. And maybe again, even better than that, by the time the project concludes, and they do tremendous follow up. They follow up 90 days later, six months later a year later. And that’s why we’re able to really conclusively say that the numbers were pretty darn good to be honest.


Curt Anderson  20:28

Definitely. And so we’ve had Izmir effect. We’ve had many friends from IMEC on the program here, Damon we’ve had and I I’m always I’m almost like regret not regretful I’m almost like reluctant to mention because I know I’m gonna leave somebody out. But of course, Dave Belay is their fearless leader, Melissa Michelle fossa, Jacqueline. Paula has been on the program we’ve had Cameron on the program Cassie has been on the program.

Grey’s a guy No got you know, our buddy Reagan’s the guy and also Christie John’s I’m trying to hopefully I if I, if I’m missing anybody, man, please forgive me. But just an incredible team. And again, if this is you’re like, Wait, who are these people? What are you talking about? So it’s a manufacturing extension partnership, whatever state you’re in, boy, Google MEP, drop me a note job, Nancy to know, and we’ll get you connected with your local MEP.

If you are in the great state of Illinois, you definitely want to connect with Nancy definitely want to connect with IMEC. So Nancy, let’s dig in E commerce 101. I’m a manufacturer out there me you know, maybe I’m a job shop, I bend metal, I cut steel, whatever I do spin How does you know when I hear ecommerce? I think and that’s just for Amazon. Can you walk into Can you dispel that myth?


Nancy O’Leary  21:39

Absolutely. You know, first and foremost, if you’re joining us, or you’re watching this later, kudos to you pat yourself on the back, because you are understanding that as a manufacturer, ecommerce is vitally important to your growth. Right now, e commerce is the fastest growing sales channel for the last 18 months within manufacturing. And I’m going to repeat that it’s the fastest growing sales channel.

And it supports your sales efforts. It doesn’t replace anybody, but it supports it. So I think it’s helpful to kind of have two schools of thought going here. Keep in mind when we talk about e commerce, absolutely, we’re talking about cart functionality, somebody can go on your site, and they can purchase a product.

But I want to be sure that you realize that there’s also another version of E commerce that does not involve cart functionality. So if you’re joining us, and you’re thinking to yourself, I don’t know that I want to go through everything that’s involved with, you know, e commerce and building out the cart, which we’re going to tell you how straightforward it is. But perhaps you know, that just for the products that you provide, or even the services, that’s not going to be anything viable for you in the foreseeable future. There’s something called a configurator.

And what a configurator is, in the most simplest terms is it’s a conditional logic RFQ form. And it is a powerful tool to have on your website that nurtures a visitor through making some very preliminary foundational decisions. And then based on those decisions on what they might be interested in getting a quote on, it walks them through what their very specific options are within each of those areas. So for instance, if you’ve got, maybe you’ve got a system that you sell, and your system might have 10 Different levels of decisions that need to be made. Let’s say it’s something that has rollers, and it has lubrication.

And if you’ve got all these different elements, a user could walk through a sophisticated, but very user friendly form that helps them decide what components they want for their system. And they hit Submit at the end, and that goes to your sales team. So no longer are they just getting maybe just a dialog box, or you know, with just text in it, and maybe a couple of radio buttons, like I think I want this and I think I want that now they’re actually walked through what a person would do.

They’re walking through all those decisions, they hit submit, and now now you can have a very intelligent conversation about exactly what that person is looking for. And they’ll let you know Yeah, I want to be contacted by phone or by email. And there is a textbox oftentimes, you can say, you know, I wasn’t sure about this one level, I selected these kind of rollers, but I don’t know should I select the other ones for what I’m looking to do that kind of a thing.

And you get such you’re you’re taking your sales funnel and you’re you’re literally three quarters of the way in now because now you’ve got a very clear idea of what they’re looking for. You already have the pricing the person filling out the form doesn’t necessarily see the pricing but you do your sales team does and they can come back with a really learned response and wildly successful.

So I just want to say keep in mind if you’re thinking in the back of your mind, you’re not really a kind of accompany. Consider the fact that configurators are probably the way to go. They’re definitely what’s to come. We got a contact form, and that’s great. I’m not going to you know, coupe When you’re gonna need more than that you really are to be competitive because if you’re not doing it, your competitors are, because it’s it’s what’s happening.


Curt Anderson  25:10

All right, drop. I’m not sure how many mics? So many notes here. Yeah. My mic is broke like I’ve dropped it. Yeah, I’m so far. So in just to kind of recap, Nancy, what you just said, mission critical e commerce is no longer a nice ad. It is mission critical. In the last thing you just said, if you’re not doing it, Nancy, what did you say?

Your competition is your competition is doing. So if you’re out there, if you’re just like, hey, I’m kind of getting this configurator What are you gonna like, be it’s just like, hey, if you want to, you know, I got this funky, really expensive shirt. Damon, I think I bought it Navy for like $5.

But anyway, if you want to get the shirt, and you want different colors, different size, different, whatever, something you know, like, you go online, like, hey, I want a small, I want an extra large, I want this, I want this color.

I want that. I mean, that is a configurator. That’s what she’s describing. This is super cool. Daymond. And we just booked the guest for next month. It’s a solar panel company, they have an extremely sophisticated configurator. And they’re going to come on in June. And they’re going to show a case study.


Nancy O’Leary  26:13

Really, it’s going to it’s going to open your eyes to so many possibilities. And here’s the thing, you may have a situation where you have products you sell, and you may need a configurator for some of the bigger areas, bigger products. And so it’s not mutually exclusive, you know, the true cart functionality. And you know, I know that we’re a little bit, you know, short on time, but I’m gonna go ahead and hit share if I can,


Curt Anderson  26:38

please do. Yeah,


Damon Pistulka  26:39

I’ll do put it up there for you. Here we go. But I got up here. And you know, we got it. You know,


Curt Anderson  26:45

we’re coming. We’re coming right at the top of the hour. So again, if you guys if you just jumped off a call and you’re joining us a new Cold Anneliese here today,


Damon Pistulka  26:51

Damon right. Here’s the solar Yeah,


Curt Anderson  26:55

that’s the solar. And so guys, if you’re just joining us


Damon Pistulka  26:58

tornadoes here, awesome. It’s great seeing you do. Hey, Dale.


Curt Anderson  27:03

And Gary Woods says, Hey, we’re running out of mics.


Damon Pistulka  27:06

So real quick, nada mics. Yep, we keep breaking them. They keep building them.


Curt Anderson  27:09

We’re with Nancy O’Leary. She’s in Chicago. She’s vice president of customer direct ecommerce and digital marketing expert, very passionate. And what we’re doing is we’re walking through E commerce one on one, Nancy, take it away. Let’s take everybody right through this process.


Nancy O’Leary  27:23

And I’ve dropped the link here in the chat as well for everyone. So this is a downloadable checklist for anyone to take a look at to use. And what we’ve done is we have streamlined the process.

So that for a company that’s considering e commerce, and I’ll be honest with you the first question we hear every single time, and it’s not what is this gonna cost? It’s how much of my time do I have to give it. And so we’ve, we’ve developed this list, because really, at the end of the day, you know, time is money. And so it’s a great conversation to have, everybody can go to the link, and you can download it.

And more or less, we really, really lean into using WordPress as the platform that we build on. We are an agnostic agency. So we can work on any platform. But we lean into WordPress for a couple of reasons. Number 170 5% of the websites in use in the entire world are built on WordPress. And not that we’d like to follow what everyone else does. But when it comes to e commerce, and the huge, huge vital need to keep that data secure.

Really WordPress is the gold standard. They’re their aspect of E commerce is called WooCommerce. That’s WordPress. And so it’s it’s, it’s the gold standard. I mean, they’re they have 24/7 support, and they are a phenomenal partner to work with. And so enough about WordPress, but just so that you’ll see all of the information that’s on here, we’ve got a WordPress foundation in mind on it. First and foremost, I’m just going to casually mention this checklist is going to be really specific.

But at the very beginning, everyone take a look, these are just some of the basic assumptions that we make here on our team. Things like you know, dimension units are in inches and the weight unit is in pounds and things like that, you know, when we think about shipping, we’re assuming the continental United States, you may think the continental North America, which would then naturally include Canada, or maybe it’s international, but these are conversations that you want to have with your partner.

When it comes to building an E commerce site. Make sure that you’re all on the same page. No pun intended, when it comes to what these key assumptions are. But now we’ll just touch on the nitty gritty oops, I’m so sorry. I didn’t do that right today. And here we go.

There’s gonna be some basic steps here. There’s four key steps very first one shop details. So this is where we’re really leaning into your expertise. This is the information you’re going to need to put together. I know everyone can read and you’re going to hopefully go and download this checklist for yourself. But you can see that the configuration details These are special effect to the shop, not the product and not the car.

This is how your shop will work, for instance, things like are you going to allow customer reviews? Are you going to have shop notifications? So that if there’s any kind of an issue with an order, somebody’s going to get notified? And if so, who is that person? Here’s a key one product stock. You can have your ecommerce linked to your ERP system so that it notifies you know you’re out of stock or low stock, or when it’s


Damon Pistulka  30:28

time what to do. What does it do? Does it keep showing that or does it take it down for people to buy that take it down, or that’s a huge thing we’ve run into before


Nancy O’Leary  30:37

the end, they have to talk to each other. Yeah, want to make sure that when you’re moving forward with a solution, your ERP system, as well as and we’re going to get to it with the payment processing, your financial system is linked. You know, the whole idea of this is to streamline not to make things more complicated for you, you know, this is to support your sales effort not to give somebody one more thing that they have to do.

And then Terms and Conditions and Privacy like you need those kinds of pages. You know, whenever you start talking about commerce online, product details, this is so deceiving, this is the most deceiving part of the entire checklist. There’s like like eight or nine things I got to come up with, Oh, crap, I can bang this out in five minutes. I gotta tell you, this is where the heavy lifting occurs.

Yeah, client, we’ve got a template that we provide, that’s really an Excel spreadsheet. And you can import all of your products right into it. And you can see all the kinds of information that you need to have ready to go, I will mention this. Let’s say you have 5000 products, and you’re thinking, oh, gosh, you know, we’re never going to be ready for this, I’d like to make a suggestion, we really embrace the idea of an iterative approach.

So maybe you don’t put all of your products online right away, that might be too much for you guys to handle, especially if it comes to like you need an image for each one, why don’t have a specific product line, or if that’s still too big, narrowed down even more, get your feet wet, see how it works, you know, iterative is absolutely okay.

And there’s great ways to let any visitor your website know that there’s more products that are available, you know, complete a form, you know, reach out, you don’t have to have everything ready right out of the gate, if that’s just going to be too big of a project for you. And then, you know, we talked a little bit here, just a little FYI, you know, when you’re taking pictures, this is the size you need. We’re gonna touch base just a little bit at the end, about product categories, and kind of what that really means. But let’s just keep moving.

Okay, so you’ve, you’ve already figured out your shop, you’ve got all your product details. Now accepting payments. And basically, you’ve got three main options. And you can really do any combination of these. If you already use Pay Pal, you may want to continue to use that or you may use stripe on you may want to continue to use it, I’m going to tell you, we really lean into WooCommerce because you can have all of that in there.

And it integrates seamlessly with a WordPress site. And when I stress the word seamlessly think security, you want to keep things as tight as possible, you know, everything locks in, and you’re not going to have any naughty business going on. Not that PayPal or stripe isn’t secure. I’m not suggesting that at all, I’m just saying, if you’re looking for the most secure method on a WordPress site, WooCommerce is the way to go.

And you’ve got lots of options there. And we clearly tell you what the fees are, and we keep it updated. So you know, you kind of get an idea of what your volume might be, you know what you’re going to be spending and then shipping. Boy Who doesn’t love to talk about shipping, shipping, options, domestic International. So we cover FedEx, we cover ups, and we offer USPS, here’s what I’m gonna say about it, you can you can choose all of them as a carrier or one of them.

At the end of the day, there’s an annual costs beyond just hosting any commerce sites, you know, which tends to run about $125 a month, there is the cost of ensuring that the plugins that these carriers charge, so it would integrate with your existing account with any of them. But they’ve got a charge.

Usually it’s around 50 bucks a year. But you know, keep in mind wanting to do all three, you’re adding another 150 on to whatever you’re spending. And then last but certainly not least, just want to touch on this really quick on the appendix. If you’re going to look at the whole checklist, the terms and the privacy policy, again, you got to have those pages. Anybody can help you, your attorney, your corporate attorney, there’s just a lot but you need to have those like you cannot launch an E commerce site without those pages.

Product taxonomy if you’re not familiar with it, wow, that could be an entire conversation. Yes. But maybe with this thought, you know, to your point, Kurt, you know, you’re bringing up like buying a shirt. So I’m gonna bring up the word Amazon. You know, if you think about it when you start filtering down. That’s really what product taxonomy is. It’s the categories and then that’s the attributes.

So easiest way to think of it as if you have a specific product, but it comes in different sizes or in different colors, you know how you handle that within your company, they would more than likely all have completely different skews, or they should, what do you do them in that kind of a hierarchy? Or do you just see them as completely standalone, separate products, and it’s important to kind of get your head around that before the build occurs on the site, because it’s really determined and influenced how that information gets displayed to a user.


Damon Pistulka  35:33

Yeah, cuz your product tree is real key to that into how you’re, you’re going to, you’re going to have people looking for something and it’s not in the right place. Because like, if you go on to eBay, I think eBay is one of them. Or you can really see how they go down to the product tree. And, or whatever you say, taxonomies. To get to where you want to go, that you got to think about that.


Nancy O’Leary  35:54

And you know, there’s there’s cool ways to kind of help with that to where you could have similar items, or people also look at, you know, all of those that we’ve all become really familiar with. So you know, that can all be there. So you don’t have to worry that somebody’s only going to see one product, but you want them to see these three other that might also fit, you know, there’s ways to display that information, so that it’s helpful, but it’s not an overload.


Curt Anderson  36:16

Matt Damon, I don’t know about you, but I, what’s the name of the program? What do we call this show?


Damon Pistulka  36:22

I think we call it manufacturing ecommerce success,


Curt Anderson  36:25

man. Did we do we have the perfect guest? Oh, my goodness, gracious. Hey, real quick, Damon, let’s give a shout out. We’ve got some really nice comments coming in. Yeah, Nicole drops, you know, hate reduces the overwhelm great advice. Gary’s dropping a comment. saggi dropped a comment. So guys, keep those comments coming. I thought, comment about AI needs to let’s say I, you know what, I know, we’re sort of coming to time. Yeah. So a while back, we were chatting a little bit about AI. You know what, let’s, let’s hit that real quick. Nancy, if you don’t mind, David,


Damon Pistulka  36:54

I was actually talking about with a client this week.


Curt Anderson  36:56

Okay, this AI drastically improved customer service. Nancy, we won’t go super deep, because I want to come back to your checklist. But your feedback on that question.


Nancy O’Leary  37:05

So, you know, we just attended, ima Illinois Manufacturing Association had their huge Hallmark event on their business day on Wednesday. And so we attended that down in Springfield. And, you know, I have to admit, we had a we had a working knowledge of AI as an agency, we would need to but we walked away from that learning so much more.

Here’s, here’s, here’s the Evelyn would speed reading synapses on it. There are incredible tools, which are being developed very rapidly, that will enable you to provide outstanding information to your prospects and your customers. And there’s, you know, there’s a lot of concern about AI in general, and is there a political leaning to it, here’s the information that I honestly didn’t even know, you can use an AI tool to only use your own proprietary information as its source of information.

Repeat that your information is the source of information. So start thinking three steps ahead to SEO to all those other things, you can ensure that folks that are coming to your website are going to find the information about you that you have validated and you don’t have to be concerned that maybe they’re going to get information that’s going to take them to a competitor site.

So it’s kind of like a library on steroids. Yeah. And the stuffs getting developed so fast. So yes, I would say right now, you know, we’re, it’s, it’s going so quickly, and you know, you’re hearing so many different opinions on whether it’s good, bad, or, you know, what should we do? I would say keep an eye on it, um, play with it?

I absolutely, you know, there’s some some competition coming to chip GPT. I think that the concept originally was that it was open source that everyone would be able, you know, to take a look at how things were put together. And you know, chat, GBT is not open source anymore. It’s closed. And so that’s where a lot of the pushback is occurring is folks are saying, Well, what did your test protocols look like?

And when you research those test protocols, which I did, I used to do test protocols a long time ago, I gotta admit, even I was concerned, you know, you’re you’re only getting information, kind of from one perspective, and it’s heavily influencing the answers that you’re getting. But be aware and be patient because things are being developed so rapidly, I would expect in less than a year’s time, there’s going to be a plethora of tools available for everyone to be able to use that are going to be solid and open source.


Curt Anderson  39:40

Okay. All right. So hopefully, I hope that answered that question. Let’s come back into E commerce. You have this checklist manufacturer out there just starting like, you know, boy, Nancy, thank you for the checklists. It’s a DIY, I still don’t know what to do. What advice do you have for the manufacturer to reach out they need a trusted guide source like yourself, like, how can they get into the game?


Nancy O’Leary  40:03

I would say, have a conversation, honestly, you know, we’d love to talk to you. But there, there are some really phenomenal third party resources through IMEC. Kurt, you know, you just know a whole plethora of folks. But I would really encourage you to take a look at the checklist, and talk to your team and say, Are we ready for this, you know, how much of it of our brain space is it going to take to put this information together, but then just find out because oftentimes, there is a solution, iterative solution that gets you in the game.

And then you can keep moving on that, you know, don’t, don’t be afraid to get started, I’ll be honest with you, it’s usually a lot easier than you think. And you know that procrastination hurts you, it takes up space in your brain that you shouldn’t even waste time on.


Damon Pistulka  40:51

Well, and I think you make a great point to Nancy is that, in the beginning, there’s this huge hill that you need to climb. And I really think that’s the time when the outside resources can provide you the things you need to get started and get over that hill. And if you’re taking the iterative approach, I’m not looking at putting all 5000 skews, as you said on once we’re going to put our top 250 or 1000.

That are that are our best sellers. And we’re going to start there, and they’re going to help us do that. And we’re going to learn the templates that we need and everything we need to add the others over time. And it becomes a great thing that you can get done. Because I think what companies do a lot of times they say, Okay, we’re gonna do it, and no one has the time to do it. And they sit there a year later, and that’s not done.


Nancy O’Leary  41:40

Man, you’re preaching to the choir.


Curt Anderson  41:43

Like David just dropped his own mic.


Nancy O’Leary  41:48

And honestly, you know, we’re, we’re success driven, you know, we want to see you succeed. Those Those 28 projects that we worked on last year in that one program, the impacts were three and a quarter million dollars.


Curt Anderson  42:00

I’m sorry, Nancy, you know, I’m not a young man anymore. I didn’t hear you correctly, how much


Nancy O’Leary  42:05

three and a quarter million three.


Curt Anderson  42:08

Little Round of applause for Nancy right there. So three. And again, you know, if you guys are just joining us, she mentioned earlier, 28 manufacturers, there was a 12 fold, return on investment, on average, with every single product, I’ll take that return all day, every day.

And I love what you’re describing Nancy, so you know, we do you know, folks that come to our program, you know, like we do our webinars jam sessions, to get everybody I call myself, I’m like the crazy uncle, get your kids all juiced up. And then what we’d like to do is, then we’re gonna hand you off to the expert like Nancy and her team to implement and get this party started. Right.


Nancy O’Leary  42:45

And that’s really it. I mean, it’s the I don’t have any tattoos, but if I did, one or one might be just get started. Truly just get started. Because it’s, the unknown is so much scarier than the known. And that’s what this checklist does. We hope that it just opens your eyes to the fact. Okay, yes, some of this looks a little intense. But But now, you know, you know, now it’s not in the back of your mind, like, oh, yeah, we gotta get that done. You actually. And it’s not that bad.


Damon Pistulka  43:14

And there’s, like you said, it’s not that bad. And it’s something that honestly, a lot of internal teams could do. You could do it. And I think this is, this is a struggle. And I want to mention again, you could probably do it, but someone that’s doing it every day can do it a lot faster, and probably with a lot less mistakes, and you’re gonna have in the beginning, right to get this stuff going. Because as you said, ecommerce is the fastest growing fastest growing channel sales channel in manufacturing right now. And yet, gotta get on because your competitors are going to do it.


Curt Anderson  43:49

What I heard the stat and I repeat it, like Amazon last quarter for b2b sales is just an insane I don’t know, Google it, look, look it up. I won’t repeat it, because I know I’ll probably butcher it. But it is insane. And so a date. And by the way over your shoulder, you have my mom’s favorite book right there. And in that book, there’s there’s Nancy’s by my mom’s favorite sign.

And in the book, I shamelessly had to go here. For that configurator are exactly what Nancy is describing in the book what you know, here’s, here’s the last tip. And then Nancy, we’re going to slide in another topic real quick as we wind down, take the 20% that drives your ad. You know, like what, like what Nancy described is, we don’t need to take on the whole project.

Damon, I need a new cliche, because I don’t like saying eat the whole elephant. It just doesn’t sound very appropriate or very polite. We need a new one. But instead of tackling that whole project, take the 20% Take the 20% that drives the 80% of your sales that drives 80% of your products your profits. You reach out to a Nancy Nancy and I’m sorry, how much does WordPress cost? I forgot


Nancy O’Leary  44:58

the building a whole site or just


Curt Anderson  45:01

not your cost. But if somebody wanted to get on WordPress, like what does WordPress cost? Right? negligible? You know?


Nancy O’Leary  45:08

I mean, I’m talking, I think it’s less than 200 bucks. Right?


Curt Anderson  45:11

Right. It’s not your right WooCommerce negligible. A lot of these plugins, plugins are negligible. Need your pain for Nancy’s experienced expertise, that guidance to get through that process? But I mean, it’s not it doesn’t need to be a massive, oh, my goodness, how are we going to fit this in a budget project. So that was, that was my point, I just wanted to share.


Nancy O’Leary  45:33

Open source I mentioned it with WordPress is open source. Now, some folks can build in WordPress, and then they can customize it and turn it into something that it’s not, but WordPress in its nature, is open source. And so what that means to you is you can go in, and you can make changes to your own website.

That’s what we encourage. So when you build a campsite, and perhaps we’re only doing a small portion of it, at the end, we train you, we show you we provide your video, so you can add your own products as time goes on, you can update your products, you can change pictures out, you can change anything on your website, because we don’t want anyone to feel beholden to us, we want to open the gate and let you run because you know your business.


Damon Pistulka  46:14

That is the mark of a true profession preach. Educating


Nancy O’Leary  46:23

and go because, you know, we’d like to say, you know, we really understand manufacturing. And you know, I’ve got a personal information and background in it a little bit with my dad and all but like, you know, I, I certainly don’t know how to operate a CNC machine, I can talk the talk, I know, there’s polystyrene and polypropylene, when we talk about plastics, I can spell them both. But I mean, at the end of the day, I’m not running a manufacturing company.

And so, you know, gosh, hand the keys over, just get you going and then run with it. And you know, whether it’s our agency or another one, they can be there to help support you. And if you hit it hit something that you’re not quite sure how to do or you forget or what have you. Sure. But at the end of the day, if you are growth oriented, and man, that’s the key. If you’re looking for growth. That’s what you’re looking to do get started, and then just keep going.


Curt Anderson  47:08

Nancy, what do you think of this question here? Will manufacturers reduce their dependence on distributors and retailers? Any thoughts there?


Nancy O’Leary  47:14

Yeah. Okay. So that’s a really tricky one. And I’m glad that was brought up. So here’s the deal. If you are an organization, and you have dealer distributors, and you decide to go eat calm, so you want to go direct to your customer, so you’ve got some really big ones like Walmart, or what have you. I don’t know that they’re going to they’re going to reduce their dependence.

But it does present an interesting relationship shift, because now you’re dealing direct, and you’ve got to make decisions for those dealer distributors? Are they going to get a cut of whatever you sell within their region? Do you just bypass them altogether and run the risk of annoying them? Or are you going to take folks and send them to your dealer distributor page to maybe complete the sale?

What we’ve seen to be the most positive solution is taking a very open and candid approach and saying, We are now going to start dealing direct, we’re not doing this to cut you out, we’re actually doing this to grow our business, which will benefit you in all of these different ways. Because naturally, you’re gonna be bringing more customers in. And there may be products that your dealer distributors are dealing with, or selling items like redundant work, that maybe you don’t provide. So you’re really opening up that opportunity for them as well.


Curt Anderson  48:27

Yeah. All right. That’s Go ahead.


Damon Pistulka  48:29

Another thing that dealer distributors and this is a little bit more challenging, but it’s a different way to approach it is if you’re working in an industry, that speed to customer is really really important. If I got distributors all over the country, you can get stuff just like Amazon with their whatever the next day, they can have it next day. They can even have it some day in some cases, you want them if that’s a big deal in your industry. Yeah. Think about your distributors like that, because it’s a whole different approach that you can go ahead of your competition.


Curt Anderson  49:03

Yeah. And Damon, so a few weeks ago, Nancy, we had we love talking about the marketplaces. That’s a great opportunity. You know, like say if you’re not ready to dip your toe and go full blown on E commerce, test the marketplaces Amazon Walmart, we had DigiKey on what last month or a month ago. That was a phenomenal conversation and how they can be a partner to help that manufacturer tip their toe and E commerce without the risk in like alright, let’s test the waters under DigiKey because they have this instant massive audience. And now we can contact Nancy and take that E commerce plunge.

Last Friday, we had a great guest Nancy, this you will love this. We had the Buffalo New York MEP on and we did a case study with a manufacturer that they do cover antennas. They got an E commerce and their Phase One is they want it strictly in within the family. They opened up a customer portal. So now their customers can buy phase two or phase three. Then they’ll start opening up the doors invite new customers They wanted to take this in phases exactly as you described. So


Nancy O’Leary  50:04

one thing I want to mention, I know we’re really short on time real quick, we get asked about Shopify quite a bit, folks say, hey, Shopify is kind of chocolate, okay, so I’m not going to come in it like a know it all of the noxious marketing person, I’m gonna just say this Shopify is wildly successful, if all you want to do is sell a product, if that’s all you want to do. For manufacturers, you do a whole lot more than that.

And so while Shopify can be leveraged, keep in mind, you are building a page in Shopify, that’s going to look similar to your website, but not exactly the same, because that’s not really what Shopify is about.

Shopify is just about selling product. And while the portal can work pretty smooth, it’s not the same as being integrated. And then we start to get concerned about your ERP, about your payment processing. You know, there, you’re you’re adding a level of complexity, to have a simplified, shopping, build for yourself. It’s not really I don’t I mean, David, tell me what you think. I mean, it’s more the build side, people like Shopify, because it is very straightforward. It’s a plug and play.


Damon Pistulka  51:16

For the products, it is for the products it is, but go in and try to change customize your web pages. And the thing. No, I mean, it’s, it’s a great low cost entry for products, like you said, it’s you can do it, right. But


Nancy O’Leary  51:29

it tends to make everything a whole lot more complicated. And a little bit nerve wracking. The security is not quite there.


Curt Anderson  51:37

Right? Yeah. So lots of you know what, Nancy, we might have to have you back and we’re just we might have like a shopping cart valuation conversation that would be that’d be, that’d be a great topic. Alright. So let’s go here. I know you are super busy, you’re saving manufacturers all over the place 3.2 to $5 million of impact 28 manufacturers that and that was just one project.

That was just one project. You’re absolutely crushing it with your team. You are a fierce advocate for women in manufacturing, you know, for young boys, God bless your your your military mom. And so for young people, women in manufacturing, it’s why are all the cool kids going into manufacturing. And if they’re not thinking about it, why should they be?


Nancy O’Leary  52:20

Oh my gosh, so here’s the thing, not just women, at this point, manufacturing, we need everyone to consider it, I gotta tell you, I support any initiative that encourages women to become interested in a career in manufacturing. But I’m gonna go a step further and say, we have to encourage all of the young people to consider a career in manufacturing, and I don’t care whether you go on to college or not.

And if you go on to college, you better really seriously think about a career in manufacturing, because there are going to be so many avenues that are going to be open to you, you’re going to have a hands on career, you’re not going to be sitting in a cubicle, or sitting in your apartment, with your computer with nobody to talk to you are guaranteed, and this might scare some people, you’re guaranteed you’re gonna be working with people every single day is going to be cool. And I don’t mean that lightly. Every single day, you’re going to be learning how stuff gets made, how it gets put together.

I mean, if there is there’s not a single personality type out there, or IQ level, that should not be considering a career in manufacturing. It’s that it’s literally that exciting. I mean, the age that my kids are at, you know, some of them have friends that their careers are kind of sputtering a little bit. And I’m that Mom, I’m like, okay, manufacturing, let’s talk. What do you think about because if your vision of manufacturing is this dark, damp, smelly smells like oil and grease, and maybe plastic, you know that that’s previous generations, that now is incredible.

And I will say this, some of that not all of it, some of that is the influence of women that are now leading manufacturers, I’m going to be really sexist here, you know, women kind of usher in a little bit more of the aesthetics, a little bit more of the culture, company culture and what we’ve got going and together, you know, with with the longevity of what’s already been established in such a robust industry in this country, I mean, the sky’s the limit.

All you got to do is see the excitement that’s going on with companies that are for instance, building rockets. Well, how do you think all that gets built? You know, where do you think of cars come from? You know, what about electric vehicles? What about the charging stations? You know, if you stop and think for a moment where everything you touch, where does that come from?

Somebody’s making it and I know that that’s an oversimplification and everybody watching is probably like, Okay, thanks, Captain Obvious, but you know what you got to you got to tell kids that you have, I don’t know, because they’re not thinking that and previous life I worked at a college prep in the city and it was I was going and talking to kids in middle school and to their We’re parents, and let me tell you something, kids today, and I’m gonna sound so old saying this, by the time they’re in like third grade, they already have ideas of what they want to do with their life now, but they might wildly change.

But you want to know who influences that the most, this is going to surprise you. It’s their parents, their parents opinion on something wildly affects kids at that age. And those are the folks that we need to be talking to, in my mind, and the work that I do is to talk to parents to help parents understand that their child, absolutely, regardless of where they fall on the education spectrum, they have a career in manufacturing, because you got to start with the parents. So there was conversations, and I could I could talk for two hours straight.

The books that we use in schools today, the examples that they give, do not mention manufacturing their nonsense, we have to go back to incorporating manufacturing concepts, so that kids in grammar school are very familiar with the idea that when you add this to this, you make that because we’re not doing that, you know, there’s a little bit of a resurgence now with shop classes in high school and stuff. I applaud it, I think it’s great, but I am I am screaming from the rooftops, we gotta get to the kids in grammar school, we got to start earlier, we got to get them thinking about it earlier, high school, it’s not too late.

But I mean, like, they’re already got an attitude going, you know, you’re gonna kids, because they’re not gonna even think about it. You got to get to them, and you got to get to their parents, and you got to get to them before Middle School, like before fifth grade, you gotta have kids thinking about it. Wow, look at that. You made me jump on my chair a lot. That’s my thing, man. That’s awesome.

That’s awesome. Women in manufacturing? Absolutely. I you know what, and again, everyone should be thinking about manufacturing, but for whatever reasons, man, they have just really been slow to embrace the idea. But thank goodness now, you know, there are some real champions in the industry that are their voices are being heard and you know, lead by example. You know, you need to see someone that you can relate to out there making it happen a powerhouse like Kurt likes to say, and then all sudden you get a lot more, you know, heads nodding like


Curt Anderson  57:13

man. Well, I just got Damon, that was our highlight clip for that was. So Nancy, you’ll be seeing that little that little preach again. And hey, John, thank you for joining us. He dropped a little note here about manufacturers use utilizing Salesforce. I know we’re running out of time. Yeah. John, thank you for dropping your comments here. And yeah, and I want to thank everybody. So as always, thanks for Nancy. Alright, for everybody. It’s been hanging out with us.

First off, thank you for joining us, and how about, you know, great opportunity if you’ve been sitting around? It’s a great time to kind of stand up and stretch. And how about giving a big standing ovation for Nancy O’Leary from Chicago, Illinois. about factoring? And how about Hey, call my partner in crime. So, guys, as we bind down and lose people here at the bottom of the hour, but first off, we want to give a shout out to Lou thank you to move for being just what a what a great dad relentless.

Gosh, what a great way I get, um, I am just like loss of words for lose. So thank you to Lou. Nancy, thank you to you, your boys and you know your son that serving our country. Thank you for what custom direct is doing to help manufacturers. As Nancy just said, net manufacturers are the backbone of our economy. They’re the heroes of our workforce. And so boy, hats off to everybody and like Nancy just said all the cool kids going in manufacturing. Damon, what do you got? Man? Do you do you want to? What do you got here?


Damon Pistulka  58:49

I got nothing. You got? Nothing?


Curt Anderson  58:52

Let’s give it a Nancy. Nancy closing. For everybody. What do you got it take?


Nancy O’Leary  58:56

I’m gonna go have a cup of coffee. Because believe it or not, I really didn’t have any before this.


Curt Anderson  59:00

Oh, well, Nancy, thank you. Thank you guys, if people want to reach out to you LinkedIn, social, custom direct, all the above?


Nancy O’Leary  59:11

Yeah. All of it really accustomed direct. Visit our site kind of tool around? See what, you know, there’s a lot of great information on there, regardless of who you work with. Is it an agency? You know, more often than not, you’re gonna find a little something that you’re gonna say, hey, you know what, I don’t know that we’ve ever talked about that.

I don’t know that my agency has ever mentioned it, go back and ask them and say, Okay, do this guy’s you know, does this make sense? Is this a good fit for us? Should we be thinking about that? And, you know, if you’re not getting the answers you want, we’d love to chat with you. But I was I was distracted. I was grabbing my URL from LinkedIn, because I didn’t do that yet. So I’ll, I’ll drop that in as well. But you can find me you know, fancy Alarie because, yeah,


Curt Anderson  59:49

you know what, we have your link right on the live so yeah, you’re you’re all


Damon Pistulka  59:53

over and both the posts.


Nancy O’Leary  59:57

And I answered DMS too, so please don’t spam me but You know, happy to answer questions and not a sales pitch. Happy to answer your question if you’re stuck on something, really just want to see manufacturing growth.


Curt Anderson  1:00:09

Yep. All right, well, we’ll take her home. So, Nancy, thank you, everybody. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. God bless you guys have an amazing incredible weekend gaming we got a great guest on Monday. Nicole Donnelly’s phone and I’m gonna be I’m I know I’m gonna be on a flight but I Diem and tickets calm right close us out where you please.


Damon Pistulka  1:00:31

All right well thanks everyone and thanks for all the awesome comments today people I’ve just really appreciate we appreciate that we appreciate your passion for manufacturing coming in and and helping us support Nancy and talking about e commerce for manufacturers. Remember, it is the fastest growing sales channel for manufacturers.

So if you’re not getting on that you’re going to your competitors will be here we go. I can’t talk that much because we’ve had so much fun today. But thanks for joining us for the manufacturing ecommerce success today and we will be back again. Have a great weekend everyone


Curt Anderson  1:01:07

guys hanging out with us one second chance. Okay, we’ll do


Schedule a call to discuss your business goals and answer your questions on growing business value, preparing for sale or selling your business.

Check Out Posts Talking About Sales.

Related content

These posts may also interest you

Live at the Industrial Marketing Summit 2024

Are you ready to know the key takeaways from the Industrial Marketing Summit 2024? If so, join us for this MFG eCommerce Success show episode where Curt Anderson and I take you live at the Industrial Marketing Event where Greg Mischio, Nikki Gonzales, Jaclyn Kolodziej, Joe Sullivan, Adam Beck, Eddie Saunders Jr, Sami Birch, Wendy Covey, Whitney Koch, and others, share key takeaways of the final lineup of speakers for the 2024 Industrial Marketing Summit, Austin, TX.

Designed by a Nurse for Nurses + Busy Women

In this MFG eCommerce Success show we feature Virginia Lynn Peterson, the innovative mind behind SWOOP, a brand that's revolutionizing the way women experience undergarments and Sami Jo Lewis from the Alaska MEP to talk about how they have worked together to help bring Lynn’s vision to life.

Standing Out in a Sea of User Generated Content

Are you ready to make your marketing content stand out from the crowd? If so, join us for this MFG eCommerce Success show where Jordan Yates, the mastermind behind Jordan Yates Marketing, dives into the ways people can make their marketing content stand out and get noticed!