Selling Science on the Web
SciTech International, an early Internet convert, now has fully integrated e-commerce
Since SciTech International’s software products are aimed at the scientific, engineering and technical end-user from Boeing to the National Institutes of Health, it was a natural for the company to be an early convert to selling on the Web. “It was a natural fit since our target customers—scientists and engineers—were the first users of the Internet for research,” says Barry Moltz, president of the 6-year-old firm which sells software and other technical computing tools. Moltz, a former IBM employee who co-founded the Chicago-based company in 1993 with another former IBMer, explains that traffic and sales from the site have steadily grown due to the fact that the firm’s customers, long accustomed to surfing the Web, made the transition to e-commerce more quickly and more easily than some other types of online shoppers.
SciTech put its first full catalog up on the Web in 1995. But back when it got its start marketing online, Moltz recalls, “It was a static-type thing. We basically just put our catalog pages up.”
The site has been through five major revisions since then as Internet technology and the needs of SciTech’s customers have advanced. Today, the site is updated daily and features a total of 10,000 SKUs.
Transferring a Portion of Its Business from Print to the Web
When SciTech got its feet wet in the catalog business, it had one big catalog featuring a cross-section of technical products from software for scientists to computing tools for engineers. As its customer base grew, it decided to address its major customer markets individually. Thus, three separate catalogs targeting the science, engineering and academic communities were born. SciTech now mails millions of copies of its different catalog titles per year.
“Throughout 1997 and 1998, despite increasing the number of catalogs we mail, our daily Web visits began to exceed our daily number of inbound calls for the first time,” says Moltz.