In the near future, construction equipment buyers will turn to the Internet more often for many aspects of product purchases and support, often at the expense of more traditional ways of conducting business, according to a preliminary survey of construction equipment customers conducted by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM).
The AEM "Doing Business with Manufacturers" survey focuses on a broad overview of how customers acquire, use and dispose of construction equipment. In the following months, AEM will follow up with a more indepth analysis of customer data broken out by company type and industry segment.
The first part of the study found that buyers expect to use the Internet more in the future for almost every type of transaction, including equipment purchases, resale, service and support. Whether on their websites or not, the top-ranking services that equipment customers want from manufacturers include direct parts sales and component life expectancy data, as well as field service. Other services buyers rank as valuable include direct equipment sales, trade-in programs, on-site training, equipment evaluations and factory financing.
For new equipment purchases, the number of survey respondents who prefer to buy from local distributors drops to 64% in three years. Some 20% of buyers say they'd prefer to buy direct from manufacturers in 2004. However, distributors will still be the main source of equipment sales.