Case Study: Perry Mill Supply

Small distributor gets big sales opportunities with a new B2B eCommerce site.

Perry Mill Supply is a distributor of manufacturing and construction products, serving their customers since 1913. A family-owned small business, Perry Mill continuously reinvents itself to stay nimble and responsive to changing times and customer needs. In addition to manufacturing and construction products, the company offers a wide range of services, including inventory management, asset management, and more. Perry Mill serves customers located primarily in northeastern Ohio, northwestern Pennsylvania and southwestern New York.

  • Industry: Manufacturing & Construction Distribution
  • Headquarters: Erie, PA
  • ERP Vendor: Epicor
  • ERP Product: Prophet 21
  • Number of locations/facilities: 1
  • Approximate number of SKUs on eCommerce site:  100,000 - on the way to 500,000
  • B2B eCommerce site:
Perry Mill Supply eCommerce responsive website shown on a laptop, desktop computer, smartphone, and tablet.Perry Mill Supply logo

The Challenge: Entering the eCommerce Arena

Competition is cut-throat in distribution, and Perry Mill is not exempt from it. In order to compete with national chains and large independent distributors, the company needed to better communicate its offerings and give customers a fast, easy way to purchase online.

“We used to be more of a construction supply company, and most people still think about us in that way,” explained Michael Hobbs, Operations Manager at Perry Mill Supply. “We needed to do a better job marketing ourselves to manufacturing facilities, and we hoped an eCommerce site would help us do that.”

Previously, Perry Mill’s website was a placeholder site that simply included basic company information and contact details. It was finally time to enter the world of B2B eCommerce.

Team members from Perry Mill Supply.
CIrcular quote mark icon

We wanted to match the big guys, and we’ve achieved that with this platform. We got more than we expected.

- Perry Mill Supply

The Solution: A Website to Lower Transaction Costs and Increase Convenience

The team at Perry Mill had specific goals for the company’s first-ever eCommerce site:

  • The customer experience had to be outstanding and match the ease and convenience of larger eCommerce sites.
  • Product information had to be categorized intuitively, with details and inventory information to help customers select exactly what they need.
  • Workflow automation had to be improved, so that customer orders could be processed more efficiently in order to lower Perry Mill’s cost per transaction.

Perry Mill selected Channel Software to build its B2B eCommerce site. “We chose Channel Software because we liked the ease of use and customer convenience that we saw with their website tools,” said Hobbs. “We also liked how clean the website looked; a visitor wouldn’t get lost just looking at a page.”

Channel Software’s CSX eCommerce B2B platform is purpose built to manage the needs of B2B eCommerce companies, large or small. With the ability to smoothly integrate with any ERP, Channel Software’s platform features robust tools and a responsive design, giving B2B companies easier website management and a superior customer shopping experience.

The Results: “We got More than we Expected.”

Today, the Perry Mill eCommerce site offers customers a new way to purchase products quickly and easily. The team is continuously adding items to the website from its expansive product catalog of nearly half a million items.

Product page from the Perry Mill Supply eCommerce website

ERP integration

A seamless ERP integration was key for decreasing Perry Mill’s workload, increasing automation, and improving customer satisfaction.

“Our back orders have decreased because customers can see what products are available if their top choice isn’t,” said Hobbs. “They can see quantities and pricing, which has reduced calls and emails to our sales team. This visibility has helped us to increase inventory turns and reduce fulfillment delays, and that’s better for our bottom line and our customers’ overall experience.”

Customers can also view invoices and other pertinent account information. “We used to get a lot of calls for copies of invoices and statements, as well as for general account information,” said Hobbs. “Now customers can access that information on the website. That’s empowered our team to focus on sales and less on administrative tasks.”

Supplier integration

Perry Mill’s B2B eCommerce site gathers and displays inventory information from Perry Mill’s ERP and from Sandvik Coromant, a primary distribution partner. These integrations allow Perry Mill to display in-house and Sandvik warehouse quantities simultaneously. Customers gain a more accurate and real-time view of inventory availability, along with the assurance that they’ll get the product they want, when they need it.

Empowering the sales team

Perry Mill’s sales team has adapted quickly to the new B2B eCommerce platform, leveraging its tools to drive sales and customer service.

“With Channel Software’s platform, we can associate many customers to an employee login. This enables our sales team to use the website on behalf of each customer to facilitate orders,” said Hobbs. “Our team can also access the website from the field using a mobile device to check stock and pricing, as well as to place those orders. That’s been of huge benefit to the company and to the customer.”

Browsing for products on a mobile phone from the Perry Mill Supply eCommerce websiteViewing a product page on a smartphone from the Perry Mill Supply eCommerce website

New business opportunities

Due to a more flexible and detailed website, Perry Mill has been able to market the service side of its business more widely.

“We’ve received quite a few phone calls about our inventory management services, and those calls have come from outside our common service territory,” said Hobbs. “This expansion of business has been impactful, and it has allowed us to build relationships across a wider geographic area. We now see the website as a stepping-stone to that program. The website is selling more than products and services… it’s selling us.”

In addition, Perry Mill recently added a new line of products and has become a master distributor of that line. “They found us through our website, and they chose us because of how it showcases our products and services,” Hobbs noted.

Lower costs

Order automation has helped lower costs and support growth – all without the need to add staff.

“We are a small company, so we needed to increase efficiencies for handling customer orders,” said Hobbs. “Before, many had to pitch in to help. Now, the website pushes those orders straight into our ERP for quick processing. Once there, all that we need do is confirm the order, print the pick ticket, and provide the order acknowledgement to the customer.”

“We wanted to match the big guys.”

Perry Mill is thrilled with its new website and the business opportunities that have come out of it. “We’re very happy with the structure and flow of things,” said Hobbs. “We wanted to match the big guys, and we’ve achieved that with this platform. We got more than we expected.”

Channel Software guided the Perry Mill team through website development and launch, which was a smooth and transparent process with no “gotchas.”

“Channel Software addressed everything up front so that there were no surprises,” said Hobbs. “Their responsiveness has been amazing. I hear back from them quickly, and they have a knack for going above and beyond, even making step-by-step videos to explain things in detail. They’ve helped us to get the most out of their platform.”

A professional woman having a positive discussion with a colleague about the success they are having using the CSX eCommerce software platform for B2B companies

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