In the online search for inspiration by decision-makers, some fleet suppliers could have an edge over their rivals when it comes to being recognised.
There are approximately 3.75 million small to medium-sized businesses in the UK, making it a crowded market if everyone wants to get online.
While the number of players competing for a fleet manager's attention might be smaller, being at the top of the list when someone searches for 'fleet supply' or 'tyres' can pay huge dividends.
The key issue for fleet suppliers competing for business is that they recognise what their company wants – not what their website developer thinks they want.
Suppliers must have a clear identity to establish their place in e-business.
Derek Vaughan, managing director of one of the leading trade associations, the UK Trades Confederation, says small suppliers must overcome their fear of technology and have a user-friendly website to improve productivity, credibility and communications with customers.
The UK Trades Confederation exists to help members increase their businesses, protect their companies and reduce overheads.
This is achieved through an extensive range of benefits and services that are continually reviewed and updated. Vaughan said: 'Choosing a name for your business is important – it adds credibility, brand recognition and, above all else, selling potential.
'Don't think that just because you are small you cannot have a logo which can be used on business cards, websites and company stationery.
'Imagine if you were employing a supplier yourself, the normal procedure is to look at their website as a measure of their credibility. Also you would expect to be able to communicate with them via email.'
Having your company name as your domain name is crucial to the success of a website as it not only creates a good first impression but makes it easier for potential fleet customers to find a supplier on the internet. It will create more traffic to the site. Finding a domain name is difficult as there is so much competition but keeping it short, memorable and easy to spell will all increase brand recognition.
Vaughan added: 'Also, fleet suppliers should do some research before deciding on a domain name. Check if there are any other similar domain names on the internet and if so, are they direct competition – suppliers wouldn't want customers going to their sites instead.'
Fleet decision-makers should make it clear to their suppliers that building a good website doesn't mean the bigger the better.
Small websites are successful if they are simple, informative and most importantly up-to-date.
A website that is effective is one that works, as there is nothing more frustrating than pages not appearing or not functioning properly. Fleets visiting a site expect to be able to find information quickly, be able to contact you and feel secure.
Adding endorsements from existing customers or businesses can help fleets see the benefit of dealing with your company, saving time for both fleet and supplier. Some suppliers have successfully gone down the DIY route of building a web presence, but fleets should ensure that any web-based services don't depend completely on one employee who could leave at any time.
Fleets should make it clear to suppliers what they want from a website. One common mistake is suppliers are blinded with web jargon they don't understand, luring them into spending more money on a website than is needed and providing flashy graphics or characters, where basic information is what is needed.
Key questions suppliers should ask when developing a website are: who is my target audience?; what is my key message?; if I am trading online where can I deliver my goods or service?; what resources do I need to fulfil orders and deliver?
Vaughan said: 'It is essential that suppliers have an online presence, a domain name and brand recognition to enable them to compete 24 hours.'