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KMT’s heavy-duty H7-SA, H8-SA and H12-SA are used to cut structural steel.
KMT’s heavy-duty H7-SA, H8-SA and H12-SA are used to cut structural steel.
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An open-at-all-hours website is a crucial sales partner
Kalamazoo Machine Tool has been producing circular saws and bandsaws since 1986. General Manager Lee Larson has been working with his father at the company since high school. Knowing that a majority of customers tend to research online before making a purchase, Larson is ensuring that KMT is poised to answer their questions.
Are people shopping for equipment differently today?
A: When people want information, they want it now. They don’t want to wait and call to talk to somebody or wait for an email back. Two years ago, I updated KMT’s website to more of an e-commerce-type website. Recently, I had a customer who purchased a saw using his iPad on the beach in Hawaii over the Christmas holiday because our website was able to answer all his questions.

Our updated website includes pricing for our machines, as well as pictures of parts. Customers can type in a part number and see a picture of that part so they know what they are buying. If I get an email from somebody asking for a price, I send them the link back, and they place an order. You don’t have to order from 9 to 5, either. You can place an order on 6:30 p.m. on a Saturday if you are working. Nowadays, most of our customers order parts online because we’ve empowered them to do it.

Did you make any major changes when you updated the website?
A: We’re up-front with pricing. It’s often difficult to find prices on other manufacturers’ websites, and often, you have to call and go through multiple steps to speak to someone about pricing. It’s so much simpler to play your cards straight up because, many times, you can kind of back-door figure out the price of a machine because distributors list prices. That’s my reason for doing it: All these distributors have their prices out there. Why not the manufacturer?
Does the online part catalog make ordering easier?
A: In some older paper manuals, the columns can be hard to read, causing customers to misread the column and order the wrong part. If you type in a part number on our website, it shows you a picture of the part, so it eliminates any confusion. I can’t think of an instance where a customer incorrectly placed a website order.
Are there any other fundamental features of the site?
A: Because customers are doing so much research online, it’s important to have a professional-looking website—and not one that looks like it was made 10-plus years ago. With the template options today through providers like GoDaddy and Wix, it’s not difficult to have a great-looking website. These templates even optimize your site for mobile platforms, which is key because approximately half our analytics are people looking at it on a phone or tablet. Almost nobody is using a desktop. If you’re sitting at home on your couch, and something pops into your head, you can’t call at 8:00 p.m. and ask the price of something, but you can find that information out through KMT’s website.
Kalamazoo Machine Tool,
Portage, Michigan, 269/321-8860,