Manufactures are looking for an omnichannel platform for a fully integrated buying experience. They need to invest in building scalable digital experiences that foster growth and superior customer experience. Continuous and active engagement between the consumers and the brands results in customer retention, which increases revenues and profits. It’s high time manufacturers work on their B2B e-commerce strategy to navigate through these tough times.
The global B2B e-commerce market will reach USD 21 trillion by 2027, expanding at a CAGR of 17.5% in the period 2020-27, says a leading research report. This trend will reflect across all businesses, including manufacturing.
The strict lockdown restrictions in the wake of Covid-19 have shuttered industries across the world, and now there is an urgent need for manufacturers to adapt their business models to anticipate the growing needs of their customers.
Manufacturers are going through a recessive period in economies, and multiple industries are experiencing a back-order situation for inventory items. Aspects of customer experience, such as delivery preferences, payment options, buyer uncertainty, and travel restrictions, disrupt the supply chain networks impacting the relationship between manufacturers and consumers.
With employees at manufacturing organizations shifting to a remote workforce, there is also an urgent need for manufacturers to adapt their e-commerce strategies to anticipate the growing needs of their customers. The pandemic has resulted in the emergence of digital commerce as the norm. Manufacturers need to develop new approaches to address the situation and shift their focus to building relationships with their customers.
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The business needs of the manufacturer at the time of the pandemic
As a result of the pandemic, some manufacturers need to turn to a touch-less, digital model and engage electronically with their end customers. A complete buyer experience encompasses other aspects of the service, such as delivery models, varied payment options, and customer service post-purchase. Building such experiences calls for a change in the functioning of B2B companies. Manufacturers need to install business solutions that create superior digital experiences for their customers.
With a sudden lockdown of industries, it has become difficult for companies who rely on brick and mortar for sales and have no e-commerce capabilities to adapt and invest in a new strategy that addresses the present circumstances.
They will have to pivot and quickly transform to deploy a storefront that can efficiently attend to the current demands. Companies that already had a digital strategy installed can shift to a remote model and employ the needed action plan. However, they face challenges with delighting consumers through digital experiences, including listening and responding to the customer's voice.
How are manufacturers executing their B2B e-commerce strategies?
Manufacturers have turned to various B2B2C e-commerce tactics that foster revenue growth and superior customer experiences. We list down ten tactics that manufacturers should adopt:
- Enriching the commercial process for the customers with the help of new systems that support online buying.
- Using technology to approach customer challenges by introducing concepts like customer communities that let customers discuss their problems and seek guidance on areas of mutual interest as it relates to products and offerings on the menu.
- Modernizing their applications by leveraging information assets or creating high-performance platforms using big data analytics. Big data can provide market intelligence that enables better decision making.
- Making the process more personalized and less transactional allows them to earn customer loyalty and develop lasting relationships throughout the buyer journey.
- Content and inbound marketing increases brand awareness and generates traffic.
- The introduction of mobile commerce and split testing can be applied to website navigation flow, page layouts, etc.
- Harnessing marketing automation platforms and run data-driven, outcome-based programs with end customers.
- Harness customer relationship management platforms to track management and communication around sales opportunities around servicing, parts, regional trends, and drive better visibility around demand forecasts.
- Use connected machines data to predict downtimes and potential demand for parts and drive enterprise planning.
- Use technology to drive customer surveys and drive tangible action to work on the feedback for elevated customer experiences and process improvements across quality, field servicing, etc.
The decline in demand for new inventory due to unstable time frames and imposed regulations has led to manufacturers turning to aftermarket services as a constant revenue source. A growing number of Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) are devising strategies to scale their aftermarket services.
The aim of building these strategies to drive revenue, high profitability, and improve customer experience. In addition to building great CX, one of the other objectives is to drive customer loyalty by providing continuous support, which can make the customer willing to pay a premium price.