Online Only: Web Savvy Resources

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Growers looking to build new structures now have a plethora of resources at their fingertips. Some of the leading structures companies have revamped their websites with tools to make structure shopping a breeze.

Rough Brothers, for example, recently enhanced its website with an “Ask Our Experts” forum. Here, customers have the opportunity to ask any questions they might have about structures and related equipment. Questions can be about anything from design and construction to operation and maintenance. Visitors to the website also have the option of browsing questions that have already been asked and posting responses.

In addition, an online parts catalog is included on the website. It features some of the most popular components and equipment, such as cutain systems, cooling and ventilation, glazing and lighting, among others.

“We are trying to make our website more of a tool for growers,” says Bill Vietas, commercial division manager for Rough Brothers. “People are using the Internet more and more for their research, and the trend will continue in that fashion. Rough wants to be a source for growers, researchers, professors and others.”

Vietas says Rough has seen more direct questions coming from customers. “Instead of starting at ground zero, the customer has more information and better questions from the start,” he says.

Evolving With Customers

Nexus Greenhouse Systems also has added resources to its website to help growers and retailers. The latest incarnation of the site, which first launched more than 10 years ago, was designed to help customers easily find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.

“About a year ago, we took the things we have learned over the years about how our customers want to use the site and laid out a plan to show more of the ways we had been able to solve problems for our customers,” says Lynn Hackett, director of marketing for Nexus.

Nexus’s new site went live this past January. Visitors to the site are able to find information about specific types of structures and new ideas. It also includes easy-to-navigate project galleries customers can peruse to get ideas. “We incorporated a section where each month a different commercial and retail customer is profiled to allow for even more details,” Hackett says.

She adds that not a day goes by that a customer doesn’t ask for help with a new project or comment on a Nexus representative. “That kind of interaction helps us identify what our customers want and how we can help,” she says. “Our customers love using the site. It makes all of us more efficient.”

Another addition is Nexus’s corporate white papers. They cover topics like energy, and the company has plans to produce more of them as it identifies issues customers want to learn more about. “Our white papers are designed to look at issues based on our years of experience and what our customers tell us,” Hackett says. “We will continue to add features to the site and welcome any feedback.”

Ann-Marie Vazzano was managing editor of American Fruit Grower magazine, a Meister publication.

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