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Better Searching & Navigation

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Alfa Aesar has recently launched a new website, incorporating a range of new features designed to improve usability.
To learn more about Alfa Aesar and some of the improvements the redesigned website offers, we spoke to Aaron Venables, Head of Global Marketing at Alfa Aesar.

AM: Can you tell us a little about Alfa Aesar?

AV: Alfa Aesar is part of the Johnson Matthey group of companies. We are a leading international manufacturer and supplier of research chemicals, metals and materials. With over 46,000 products listed in our catalogues, we are the single source for customers' needs for chemicals and materials in sizes for research and scale up. The Alfa Aesar catalogue carries materials for biological research, organic compounds, high purity inorganics, pure elements, alloys, precious metal catalysts, AA/ICP standards and more. Our sales offices and distribution facilities are located throughout North America, Europe and Asia, providing a global service for our customers.

AM: What are some of the challenges of supplying over 46,000 products spanning a range of scientific disciplines?

AV: Working with chemicals can be both very interesting and exciting. However, it can also be extremely dangerous and could pose short and long term health risks if proper precautions are not taken when handling, repacking, using incorrect packaging and storing hazardous chemicals. In order to safeguard employees, as well as those transporting/handling Alfa Aesar’s 46,000 chemicals, our Chemical Exposure Management (CEM) strategy supplements regulatory approaches for reducing chemical exposure, in the workplace environment. 

AM: Alfa Aesar recently launched a redesigned website. Can you describe some of the new features of the website, and how this helps your customers?

AV: New Features of the site include: 

Product category hierarchy - This feature has been added, with hundreds of categories outlined in a logical drill down hierarchy that leads to product listings. The new hierarchy allows customers to find the products they need more quickly and efficiently. 

Search - Keywords will be linked to relevant results so users can find products using a wider range of search terms. Search results will be presented in a variety of formats, including Products, Categories and Resources. When customers are performing product searches it is vital the keywords are a good match to the search terms they will be using, this reduces the amount of time and effort required by the customer. 
New designs - A fresh new look and feel for the site, you will see changes to the navigation patterns and search functions. 

Content – We are adding more product specification sheets, product bulletins, enhanced descriptions of products, and a full set of content pages on hundreds of product categories. 

It is important that customers receive up-to-date information in a variety of forms, to assist them with their market research and purchasing of products. 

Search engine optimisations (SEO) – The pages on the site have been updated to ensure a strong basis for SEO. The next step involves enhancements to content for specific product categories to drive even greater visitation.

By optimising our page we are able to achieve higher rankings in the search engines, giving the customer immediate visibility to Alfa Aesar and the products available. 

The work doesn’t stop here:

Phases 2 and 3 will bring even greater changes as we look to move to an entirely new web platform and development language, introduce more advanced content such as video, and focus on customer engagement through social media platforms.

AM: 2017 will see the 200th anniversary of Johnson Matthey, Alfa Aesar’s parent company. What are some of the goals Alfa Aesar hopes to achieve before reaching this milestone?

AV: Alfa Aesar’s Goal 

The primary focus for Alfa Aesar is Customer Focus. The redesigned website is well underway and the planned development phases will continue to add value to our customers. The ultimate aim is by 2017 is to have an Industry leading website that engages our customers from a digital perspective.
Social media is another platform that forms part of our digital marketing strategy. The key component for evolving our social media is to develop relationships, and these relationships can then grow exponentially as followers share and recommend our brand and content. As a business every interaction on social media allows us to publicly demonstrate our industry expertise and customer service and enrich our relationship with our community of followers.

You can find out more here http://www.alfa.com/ 

2 Aaron Venables IMG_20140626_142929.jpg

Aaron Venables was speaking to Anna-Marie MacDonald, Editor for Technology Networks.