How does Integrated eCommerce Benefit the Manufacturing Industry?

Ever since the pandemic pushed eCommerce as one of the most important buying channels for customers, its adoption has been steadily rising among manufacturers. The manufacturing industry has relied on traditional supply chain models where the product was sold by a retailer through wholesalers.

Companies like Dollar Shave Club adopted eCommerce as their main selling channel a long time ago, but the overall eCommerce adoption in manufacturing-based organizations wasn’t considerable. However, it all changed as online selling became a necessity for all businesses with physical products, including the manufacturing sector, due to Covid-19 restrictions.

However, getting listed on online selling channels like Amazon or starting your own web store isn’t enough. As a manufacturer, you need to ensure that your operations, right from material procurement to distribution and sales, are synchronized with your store front end.

In this article, we will understand the benefits of implementing integrated E-Commerce solutions that help unify your back and operations with your online sales to create a seamless business experience.

Improve Customer Experience through Personalized Catalogs, Marketing Offers, and Product Visibility

As a manufacturer, it is important to share product prices with various target audiences, but this is a challenging process when done through conventional methods. An integrated eCommerce solution will help you provide a personalized catalog to every visitor. They will be provided with product recommendations for their requirements along with applicable prices.

The integrated eCommerce solution generates pricing on the basis of their required quantity, region shipping preferences, frequency of purchase, and payment conditions. Since the backend systems like the inventory management system are integrated with the stored front end, you can also provide your web store visitors with product bundling recommendations.

For external dependencies like shipping charges, it will pull data from your third-party logistics providers’ portals to display real-time shipping prices. Thus both product assistance and tailored pricing are generated through backend and frontend integrations.

In case the user doesn’t complete the transaction, you can send them personalized marketing offers based on activity on your eCommerce site and product inquiry.

Integrated eCommerce also improves the customer experience even when you are out of stock as it will provide them with the back order details and notifies the user once the product is available.

Streamline Operations, Optimize Costs, and Improve Resource Utilization

Integrated eCommerce solutions for the manufacturing industry also help streamline your operations as all internal stakeholders and activities are unified. For instance, demand forecasting helps your procurement department to purchase the only required material quantity. The production department will be notified of delivery priorities, while the warehousing department will also work in closer coordination with internal and external stakeholders.

You will also be able to improve your resource utilization to a great extent despite the challenges of selling through multi-channel eCommerce. Since all employees will have access to important operational information based on their job role, they will be able to work efficiently as well as make the best use of your infrastructure.

Together, both of these benefits will help you with additional cost optimization that is missed by a lot of manufacturers as they only focus on cost optimization in production processes. Generally, a majority of manufacturing organizations work extensively on bringing down production costs but fail to address logistical concerns of internal operations that turn out to be major unaddressed cost centers.

Use Customer Feedback for Improving Product Quality and Marketing Strategy

Now, this is one of the main benefits for manufacturers: integrated E-Commerce allows manufacturers to get first-hand customer reviews across all channels. Generally, a manufacturer isn’t involved in the process of selling to the end-user and hands own product reviews, and insights are passed on by retailers and distributors. Selling directly to the customer helps manufacturers interact with them, which was not possible with the conventional selling model.

This feedback can be used to improve the product quality, make necessary changes in the design, come up with new product ideas, and identify new target audiences as well. You can also get a better understanding of your product life cycle as you would also keep an eye on market trends since your organization will be running sales operations that cover the end-users.

For this to happen, you will need to interface your integrated commerce solution with all sales channels, including your own web store with advanced analytics software, your social media accounts, email software, and a CRM tool.

Target New Markets, Segments, and Customers

Lastly, one of the important benefits for manufacturers to opt for integrated eCommerce is being able to identify and target new markets, new customer segments, and buyer personas. This was, too, an unexplored horizon for most production-based companies as they relied on a distributor network for such purposes.

Since you only need to set up your eCommerce store, it becomes easier to penetrate new regions. Your backend, ie, ERP system, is interfaced with the local shippers and 3PL warehouse providers to ensure fulfillment. You can run digital marketing campaigns and sell directly through social commerce, allowing you to expand your customer base.

Thus, we can agree with the fact that one of the biggest strategic benefits of integrated eCommerce is the flexibility to change operating models based on your needs. In the US alone, $4.0 trillion out of a total $6.0 trillion worth of 2018 manufacturing shipments hailed from manufacturing eCommerce which is bound to increase in 2022 and beyond.

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As an increasing number of manufacturers plan to foray into eCommerce emerge, the ability to re-pivot their business according to their customers’ preferences will as integrated eCommerce’s major USP.

Summing Up

Digitization has augmented customer behavior drastically over the years, and this has, in turn, made it necessary for manufacturers to evolve. With only an eCommerce website, one may have to rely on extensive manual data entries, which does more harm than good. Hence, having a fully managed solution in the form of integrated eCommerce is a must for all manufacturers, and failing to adopt it will render them irrelevant in the longer run. So no matter if you are aiming at B2B or B2C sales, integrated eCommerce is the way for manufacturers.

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