eCommerce for manufacturers | Best Practices

As a manufacturer, you may not have thought about implementation Electronic trade – Until now. Since you primarily sell to distributors who work directly with your salespeople, why do they need e-commerce? With the greater ease and lower cost of buying online, consumer behaviors have changed dramatically. This trend includes your distributors, who are regular B2C shoppers out of the 9-5 range and accustomed to the ease of buying online. Comparatively, placing orders by email or phone is now seen as outdated, more expensive, and more time-consuming.

Dramatic and unexpected changes in the market destabilize your supply chain and squeeze your profit margins, while also making forecast data that was reliable from you useless. Confronting these uncertainties and maintaining control of profit margins are major reasons why some manufacturers are starting to sell direct to consumers (D2C) through Their e-commerce channels. By allowing manufacturers to reach their customers directly and build the brand experience, this new sales channel gives them more control over the future of their business and the ability to secure better profit margins.

Free Free Technical Document: D2C E-Commerce in Manufacturing

Is it time for your manufacturing business to implement e-commerce? Keep reading for some things to consider.

Benefits of E-Commerce: Your Customers (Distributors)

Improve purchases

The e-commerce site provides buyers with a 24/7 storefront that they can access at any time. Busy distributors no longer have to rely on salespeople to respond via email or phone. They have the ability to place orders, provide payment, and access services when the job requires it.

Product catalogs and customized pricing in real time

E-commerce gives you the ability to easily present your complete product catalog to your customers by digitizing your products. Providing filters such as product categories, features, pricing, and more can make it easier to appreciate the variety and value of your products. Customers can take advantage of search and sorting options to navigate the site and select exactly what they need based on product specifications. In addition, customers can find you more easily online thanks to better SEO visibility.

in a B2B worldWholesalers and distributors often have custom prices based on volume, contract terms, or other factors. With integrated e-commerce, you can offer them user-specific pricing directly from your ERP system so they can plan and build their own quotes in real time.

Benefits of E-Commerce: Manufacturers (You)

Increase your sales, expand your reach

For manufacturers, the main advantage of e-commerce is to increase sales. E-commerce is the fastest growing sales channel, and for those who haven’t already used it, it presents a huge opportunity for sales growth. While other methods may also increase sales, e-commerce can have a more pervasive effect. In fact, it can change the nature of your business model.

An increased online presence will provide you with a more comprehensive sales reach. Your business can now be found online by new clients and markets, and they can transact without talking to a salesperson. Imagine a world where customers find you, and make purchases. All while sitting and watching the numbers. It’s not far off at all, in fact, it’s the new way of doing business.

Reduce transaction costs and overhead

E-commerce can also reduce selling costs. according to Forrester ResearchBy directing customers to an online self-service environment, B2B companies can reduce selling costs by up to 90%. This happens in two ways.

  1. Providing detailed product information, support resources, and self-service features online reduces the number of inquiries that must be handled by customer service and sales staff.
  2. Integration with your ERP system allows you to automate sales orders directly from your website, reducing manual data entry and the potential for human errors.

Efficiently manage and distribute your product data

All e-commerce platforms come with the ability to manage product data to display on pages. But not all e-commerce systems come with a file Product Information Management (PIM) solution built-in. As a manufacturer, there is a lot to gain by choosing an e-commerce platform with a real PIM or integrating your existing PIM with your e-commerce site.

A PIM solution provides a single place to collect and augment all of your product information, then efficiently distribute this data to different channels – for example, your e-commerce site, external marketplaces (such as Amazon), print product catalogs, partner portals, sales representatives, and more So.

PIM provides a better and more efficient way to manage your product data, with features such as language version, grammar, workflow, group editing, and dashboards.

Make your relationships with customers stronger with personalized marketing

If you are new to D2C selling, you will need an e-commerce solution with built-in marketing. They don’t have all of them. Remember that direct selling to customers presents a whole new set of challenges and costs. You will now be responsible for marketing, selling to end consumers and even competing with your distributors for market share.

Easily create Amazon-style brand experiences by automating and customizing communications at scale with a built-in digital marketing module. Equipped with e-commerce and customer data, marketers can design highly targeted campaigns and promotions based on website behavior, purchase history, product preferences, abandoned shopping carts, and other behaviors that are only available in the digital environment.

E-Commerce Manufacturing Best Practices

Here are some recommendations to consider when starting your own e-commerce manufacturing journey. These best practices can make or break your strategy, and must be taken into account throughout the entire evaluation process.

  1. Focus on efficiency and reliability. An e-commerce experience that doesn’t simplify things for your customers, doesn’t work. Your e-commerce store should encourage your customers to come back, and don’t miss the “old way” of doing business. Some products and purchases don’t work well in the classic e-commerce “shopping cart” experience, and may require something more personalized, such as composition-price-quote / product composition, or custom order process. However, if it’s simple enough to be sold in the familiar e-commerce fashion, do it! Ultimately, your store may use a combination of classic B2C best practices and customized demand requirements to meet the needs of B2B customers.
  2. Advanced Self Service. Make your customer portal worth it. See things from your customers’ point of view and try to solve their problems. What features do they need to independently manage their relationship with your business? These can be extensive depending on your field of work. Consider everything from order history, document sharing, previous communications, payment terms and user rules, to the ability to initiate workflows to assign your internal staff as needed.
  3. Take advantage of promotions and loyalty programs. Classic B2C retail has paved the way for B2B industries with best practices, conversion rate optimization, promotions and loyalty programs that they can use to accelerate success. Just like retailers, manufacturers can increase sales volume and gain customer loyalty by distinguishing themselves and staying ahead of their minds with perks.

Some strategies to consider might be:

  • Discounts on online orders, for example, 10% off the first 5 online orders
  • Limited time offers to sell older stock
  • Free Shipping Offers
  • Request a reminder based on previous purchases
  • Abandoned cart campaigns
  • Loyalty programs, such as redeeming points
  • Related products and recommendations

Learn more about D2C e-commerce for manufacturers

If implementing a D2C e-commerce model is under consideration, there are more factors to consider – such as internal sales, marketing experience, change management, and potential channel conflict. Download our free white paper on D2C eCommerce in Manufacturing to learn more and see if D2C is right for you.

Download the white paper – D2C eCommerce in Manufacturing

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