One of the suggestions we received when we did our customer survey this summer was that it would be helpful to customers if we had our pricing on our website.
The short version is that I agree, and it's done.
We've added pricing for our products and it's easy to find on each product page. This might seem like an underwhelming event in 2019 but for a small business with a worldwide customer base and international representative network it presents some interesting challenges.
Personally, when I am searching for a new product or solution one of the first things I look for is what it's going to cost. It isn't always about price comparison shopping (well... sometimes it is) but about getting a realistic view of what that particular solution is going to cost my business. You may be wondering if I think it's important... why not list it? I'm glad you asked!
As I mentioned earlier, publicly listing pricing on our website does present challenges. When a potential customer sees the U.S. pricing on our website it can create an expectation of cost in our international markets. This puts our international representatives and distributors in a difficult position since there are taxes, import duties, transportation costs, tariffs, etc. that are involved with international business which effect the final customer price outside North America. Directed Energy and the representatives in those locations have little or no control over these external costs.
Our representatives provide valuable support to our international customers including product & application expertise, local language and geographic presence. While we implement this change I will work directly with your local representative to support them just as they support you, our customers.
As part of this website update we also enabled the online shopping feature of our product catalog.
During the early 2000's we went through the process of developing and operating an online shopping solution and it worked until web technology changed faster than our shopping cart provider. So that's just a really nice way of saying the shopping cart portion of our site was compromised and redirected to another web location. While no customer data was put at risk and the website redirect was quickly corrected, the experience did leave me concerned about the integrity of internet shopping. Consequently, we made the decision not to implement a new solution and removed the online purchase capability.
Well a lot has changed in the last ~20 years (has it really been that long?!). Internet and website security has come a long way as have the shopping cart and credit card processing companies that service the 'internet economy'. I'm excited to be able to provide you with the convenience of an online shopping option.
There are a few things we need to keep in mind.
The shopping cart is currently only available for the U.S. and Canada. There are a number of reasons for this. First, we want to roll out this new feature in the most financially familiar market we have. Second, before we can offer online shopping in countries where we have representation we need to understand how to coordinate those sales with the local rep so you are still assured of the best local service possible. I will watch this carefully to determine if other regions would be viable for online shopping.
As you probably know, Directed Energy's products are exported using a designation of EAR99 which would give the impression that there is no export control required. The designation is only part of the story and, unfortunately, a somewhat misleading one. Our products are used in high powered lasers, particle detection and acceleration and other scientific, industrial and commercial applications most of which are benign, civilian products and projects. However, there are applications in non-commercial activities which require us to be accountable for proper end-use disclosure prior to shipment.
Each order must be accompanied by our Export Control Form. To streamline the checkout process your purchase confirmation email will contain the form as an attachement which you can fill out, scan and send back to [email protected] We will need this prior to shipping your order and it is applicable to both international and domestic sales.
We currently accept all major credit cards and e-checks for purchase on our website. We look forward to working directly with customers who wish to use other payment options.
As of now we are please to offer shipping via a number of FedEx options on our shipping account. If you are interested in using your own account or another shipping provider please contact us directly and we'll be happy to work with you by phone or email.
That's about it for now. Our shopping cart is live and we are glad to provide a way for you to save time when you already know exactly what you need.