e-Commerce success starts with customer trust

Author : Tim Carroll | Head of Marketing & eCommerce | Digi-Key Electronics

01 January 2022


In today’s crowded digital marketplace, where customers have seemingly endless options for online shopping, e-commerce components distributors must find ways to stand out, Tim Carroll, Global Head of Marketing & eCommerce at Digi-Key Electronics tells us here.

This article was originally featured in EPDT's H1 2022 Electronics Distribution supplement, included in the January 2022 issue of EPDT magazine [read the digital issue]. And sign up to receive your own copy each month.

Because customers have so many sites to choose from, Digi-Key chooses to focus its efforts on earning customer trust, making the customer experience as personalised, seamless and easy as possible, and providing the level of detail each customer needs as key differentiators.

Furthermore, during these challenging times, when supply chain disruptions are common, it’s critically important that customers can source products that are not only in stock, but also that they can access all the information they need about components to ensure they’re getting the correct product first time – rather than needing to waste time on returns and sourcing new replacements.

Trust is essential

Our e-commerce strategy begins before even getting to the digital platform: Digi-Key prioritises making the shopping experience as smooth as possible for all customers, while providing access to the information and details customers need to make informed purchasing decisions.

Loyal customers are earned – and retained – by providing powerful search tools, accurate product data, leading inventory levels and fast shipping.

At Digi-Key, we have a team of industry experts, with specialists in particular technologies, that carefully vet the parts we offer to ensure they meet specific criteria around usability and longevity. From there, our team invests thousands of hours into researching every part that is available on our website, ensuring that customers have access to verified product specs, compliance details and more.

Beyond earning trust, user experience is of the utmost importance. With that in mind, we’ve designed our site specifically for engineers and procurement professionals, to help them do business as quickly easily and effectively as possible.

Rich search fuctionality

What good is an e-commerce site if you can’t actually find what you’re looking for? Searchability is key to providing an effective user experience – and is something that Digi-Key has invested heavily in.

There was a time when we had to mail out physical catalogues, which were sometimes several inches thick – they simply had to be, in order to list the millions of available products, while providing the essential specs needed to make informed purchases.


Today, those catalogues now live online, as Digi-Key’s website, where thousands of users search for parts every day. When it comes to electronics components distribution, there are many considerations that must be kept in mind: engineers and procurement professionals need very detailed, specific and technical information about the parts they are purchasing.

We have continually enhanced our shopping experience to ensure that customers can easily find, research and order the components they need, and that meet their exact specifications, as smoothly as possible.

A prime example of this is our rich parametric search filters. In each product category of the Digi-Key website, we provide many different parameters that visitors can use to filter results in real time, in order to identify the exact part or parts that they need. If desired, customers can even save search filters for the next time they visit, saving them valuable time and effort on re-entering their various filter preferences.

We’ve also built out robust features, such as cross-references which identify similar products, that can help users find all the other parts that are identical or similar that they may want to consider.

Even minor updates, such as “Elastic Search,” which has type-ahead features that provides instant recommendations on which parts a user may be searching for, can help make the shopping experience more streamlined and effective.

Personalised, localised experience

Because we do business with customers around the world, our e-commerce site must be able to support multiple languages and currencies, at a minimum. Comprehensive language and currency options allow customers to transact in their local currencies, using their local language. We also provide local technical and customer service support in key regions, in order to best serve customers who may need assistance.

We also spend a great deal of time tailoring the online experience based on a customer’s role, interests and the level of detail they want to see, to help ensure a positive user experience across a diverse user base. Some users know exactly which parts they want to purchase, down to the exact product number, while others are still in the early stages of researching which components are the best fit for their project. For example, we designed the Digi-Key site thoughtfully to make sure that each user can access the level of detail and information they need, without feeling overwhelmed, as well as turn on more complexity as their needs evolve.

Continuous improvement

In a fast-paced market, electronic component e-commerce strategies are always evolving and improving: it’s crucial to continuously find new ways to enhance digital platforms and offerings.

Digi-Key aims to provide a user experience built on customer trust, and ultimately, one that keeps customers coming back to our site again and again, for all their electronics procurement needs – from research, to purchase and beyond.

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