At the turn of the 21st century, company Web sites were just after thoughts for most jan/san distributors. But, times have certainly changed since then. Today, distributors have a strong online presence and rely on their Web sites to help drive sales, while at the same time strengthen relationships with their clients. In fact, distributors have moved beyond the basic Web page that contains contact information and company history and are now focusing their attention on building e-commerce platforms within their sites. These online purchasing programs are designed to accommodate seamless, automated business-to-business sales transactions, while also improving a distributor's operational efficiency and overall profitability.

Instead of calling their sales rep, more and more customers are turning to their distributors' e-commerce sites to handle ordering and purchasing. Thus, distributors must go the extra mile to make sure the ordering process is as flawless as possible.

Customers appreciate a standardized and convenient ordering process that cuts down on purchasing inefficiencies like ordering too much product or ordering products that are back ordered. Because distributors open up their back-end system, customers are able to view their purchase history as well as real-time product inventory.