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Husky Spring leverages inexpensive technology to build E-commerce site

Tuesday, May 3, 2016 - 07:00
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When Husky Spring needed to move away from paper catalogs to an online presence, they decided to work with Vertical Development and its partners to create a complete, modular solution tailored to their needs. Today, they have a system that offers an easy, comprehensive website for ordering parts and a publishing system to get ACES format catalogs to retailers.

Husky Spring started as an aftermarket alternative to OEM springs with lower prices and clear specifications so that customers could find upgrade options for their cars. Once serving just a small part of Minnesota, they steadily grew to cover the Dakotas, Wisconsin, Iowa and Nebraska, and have extended their inventory to include suspension parts for cars, trailers and heavy-duty trucks.

Like many companies, Husky Spring's shift toward online access started with customer requests. A decade ago, they went to SEMA with paper catalogs in hand, only to have multiple customers ask if their catalog could be accessed electronically. That started the company to shift internally to the Legacy catalog system for better customer support. 

Two years later, a chance contact from a sales postcard led to a new client that would do business with them on the condition that they offer industry standard cataloging. Husky worked with Vertical Development, first switching their internal catalog to ACES so that retailers could easily integrate it into their own catalogs, then bringing that catalog online for both B2B and B2C customers.

Here’s how it works. Husky Spring's site uses a combination of Fuse5 and Weblink to handle inventory and POS services for B2B and B2C customers. Since both companies are partners with Vertical Development, their software easily integrates with ShowMeTheParts database. The database includes information about applications and specification data as well as documents and images related to the part. While the results are limited to the suspension parts offered by Husky, their site still has the same powerful search features as ShowMeTheParts' public database.

While it sounds like there's a lot going on, the result is easy to use. End users can look for and order parts from a single site, accessible via login 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. They can search for a part, find out the price and availability, and even get installation information and photos to make sure what they are ordering matches the part that is being replaced. Since ShowMeTheParts, Fuse5 and Weblink work together, all that information can be presented together. There's no need to switch environments to go from product information to ordering. By having all this information on hand, customers can be assured they're getting what they need, when they need it and at a predictable price.

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With ShowMeTheParts, Husky can push updates to their website database and ACES catalog at the same time. These updates can be pushed in days instead of months, so customers get up-to-date information.

By leveraging the compatible technology provided by ShowMeTheParts, Fuse5 and Weblink, Husky Spring pays only for the services they need instead of trying to turn a wide-market tech product into a niche service. The complete system has a lower overhead and eliminates the need for customers to pay a subscription fee for the site. That means one less barrier to making a sale.

“Our team sees ShowMeTheParts as a vital tool, and our customers like the ability to lookup and pre-sell to their customers,” says Husky Spring’s General Manager Mike Hamari. “Now that our catalog and website are fairly well developed, we plan to introduce and demonstrate our lookup and ordering capabilities to as many customers and prospects as possible.”

Thanks to this shift to online ordering and standard catalog publishing, Husky Spring has enjoyed a wave of growth. Today, their core market centers around the plains states, but they send products to every state in the U.S. as well as 30 foreign countries. This sales reach wouldn't be possible without giving their customers access to accurate information 24/7 through the web. And that early client that requested the ACES catalog is now Husky Spring's number one customer.

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