Farnell, the leading high service distributor now transacts more than 70% of its business in Europe via e-commerce channels, a figure which continues to grow as increasing numbers of customers select the web as their channel of choice, as part of the company’s multi-channel proposition.

The first Farnell website, launched in 1996, laid the foundations for the company’s e-commerce proposition that has continually evolved and developed over the last 15 years. Being consistently first-to-market with a stream of innovative web-based initiatives and tools has helped the company pass the 70% key performance target, set at the outset of its strategic transformation, well ahead of schedule.

After reaching the 60% milestone over a year ago Farnell has continued to develop and improve its 22 local language websites enhancing customers’ online purchase experience with tools like iBuy, dedicated new product microsites, online webinars, parametric search and product listing functionality. Key focus areas included a redesign of site navigation, and streamlining of the most active areas of the website to ensure a faster and more intuitive search process. Enhanced storefronts were introduced to allow customers direct access to the brands of their choice, and a new contract pricing engine allowed custom pricing for over 25,000 customers.

Farnell’s exclusive online eCommunity element14, which recently celebrated its second anniversary, has been a significant factor in boosting the online experience for design engineers. element14 was further enhanced last month with the launch of the element14 knode, the world’s first interactive design automation hub for electronic design engineers. During 2010 Farnell also launched its iPhone and Google Android applications; these have now been supplemented by a new dedicated iPad application. Offering bespoke functionality, these mobile tools enable direct access to Farnell technical support staff and interactive line cards whilst on the move.

“Passing the landmark figure of 70% of orders being completed via e-commerce channels underlines the success of our online proposition and strategy,” said Neil Harrison, President of Farnell Europe. “With challenging market conditions across the industry we continue to grow our active customer base and take market share. By continually innovating and adding new features to our online customer experience, we are helping to simplify and accelerate our customers’ design processes when they are seeking information and purchasing product. Making applications available for the latest mobile platforms such as iPhone and iPad demonstrates that we are keeping pace with the very latest technology and working practices of our customers, driving profitable growth with our innovative web proposition.”

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