Responsive Sites Help FMC Double Traffic, Online Sales

More than half of all chemical companies fail to respond to inquiries sent via their Web sites, according to The Customer Respect Group, a research firm that publishes an annual Online Customer Respect Index (CRI). FMC Corp., however, is an aberration, as it has finished in the top five percent of all companies and industries listed in the index the last two years. Judged on more than 100 variables including privacy, navigation, cookies management and responsiveness, FMC scored 9.4 out of 10 on the CRI released last spring. And in November, FMC was awarded the 2004 Vignette Efficiency Award for its use of content management to bolster lead generation, marketing, customer service, online ordering and customer education.

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Only three years ago, FMC was spending more than $300,000 a year on content management services for sites the company deemed disjointed and ineffective. In December 2001, the company launched a content management initiative to create six tightly integrated Web sites with consistent branding, improved navigation and better and easier control for internal users.

"We wanted to enable business users to easily update Web content so that each business unit could rapidly roll out campaigns to address changing customer needs and preferences," says Frode Kjersem, Web project manager at FMC.

By March of last year, traffic on FMC sites had more than doubled to nearly 175,000 visitors per month, and customer satisfaction and retention has improved because customers can quickly find the information they need, says Jim Fitzwater, FMC's communications manager.

FMC's BioPolymer unit alone now receives more than 100 customer leads online per month and sales of the company's Avicel food ingredients have doubled in the last 18 months thanks to the sites, says Fitzwater. "That's big compared to conversion rates of roughly five percent for contacts made at trade shows and one to two percent for direct-mail campaigns," he says.

Technology - TechWeb Susana Schwartz

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