Scaling Manufacturing with eCommerce Solutions

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Scaling Manufacturing with eCommerce Solutions

Most manufacturers already know what works for their businesses. Yet, they still struggle when it comes to prioritizing technological change. They need to implement the technology necessary to leverage key growth opportunities—specifically, manufacturing eCommerce.

In the B2B industry, eCommerce is still a relatively new technology. However, it is growing consistently and rapidly. Forrester Research predicts that there will be up to $1.2 trillion worth of B2B eCommerce by 2021. This number makes up around thirteen percent of all B2B sales in America. Another report states that international eCommerce will reach up to $6.6 trillion in sales by 2020. This number exceeds even B2C sales that are estimated to be around 3.2 trillion dollars by 2020. It is obvious that B2B eCommerce as a whole is going through a period of unprecedented growth. Still, the manufacturing industry has been slow to adopt this technology.

Why are so many manufacturing companies resisting the change?

Challenges of Implementing a Manufacturing eCommerce Solution

Implementing an eCommerce platform for whole goods is a relatively straightforward proposition. It also probably represents most B2B adoption efforts. However, when you begin talking about setting up eCommerce for more complex products like configurator-based assemblies or aftermarket parts, everything becomes muddled. For instance, it is relatively simple to sell an entire tractor to a construction business online. But if you want to sell all the small parts that build a tractor, it seems a bit daunting.

Collecting data related to spare parts from an ERP system so you can display all the information in a user-friendly way to interested customers might feel like herding cats.

Data can often be incomplete, and the ERP system may require an overhaul. Implementing configurators is another challenge because configured products usually require separate user experiences to target demanding engineers accordingly. So, challenges similar to these are the main reason behind the lag in the implementation of eCommerce manufacturing. The requirements for a manufacturing eCommerce platform are completely different than selling whole goods online.

To come up with a comprehensive and effective eCommerce strategy, it is important to consider all areas of the manufacturer's sales processes. Beyond original equipment or whole goods, rental fleets, configured assemblies, and aftermarket parts, and other revenue opportunities must also be included in your overall plan.

When dealing with such challenges, implementing a manufacturing eCommerce solution may feel overwhelming. It makes sense why many manufacturers hesitate and delay it for a long time. However, it is important to remember that your competitors will always try to get ahead of you, so you need to at least be the first to run.

Overcoming the Challenges of Manufacturing eCommerce Integration

Choosing the Right Partner and Software Vendor

Without a doubt, an essential requirement for going ahead with a robust manufacturing eCommerce plan is an eCommerce champion or an executive-level sponsor. You need a partner who can get you past all the roadblocks you may face during eCommerce implementation. Naturally, your manufacturing Commerce platform will impact many segments of your business. So it requires a coordinated effort and multiple perspectives. Having an experienced partner will ensure your eCommerce deployment gets the attention it requires.

Apart from an eCommerce champion, it is also important to choose a software vendor that comprehends B2B eCommerce and the workings of a manufacturing company. Choosing an integrator, who has only worked with B2C models before, for your manufacturing eCommerce platform is like trying to use the car key to open the house door. It simply does not fit. Select a partner who truly understands the special requirements of a manufacturing business. They should be familiar and able to deal with things like part cataloging, part-pricing optimization, configurator design, quote preparation, and ERP integration. If they do not comprehend engineering and manufacturing related data, then you will find yourself spending more time explaining your requirements rather than implementing the eCommerce solution.

It is time for manufacturers to move past the resistance to technological advancements and eCommerce if they want to lead in their market, whether they're selling expensive construction equipment of taking advantage of FMCG eCommerce. Not to forget, a high percentage of customers these days expect businesses to offer an online eCommerce experience. The person who buys their consumer goods via sites like Amazon is also looking for a similar experience as a customer of a manufacturing company. They do not want to spend time and energy picking up the phone and talking to an agent. Customers want to be able to purchase whatever they need, anytime and anywhere.

It is impossible to ignore this dynamic now. Therefore, it is crucial to do something about these evolving expectations of customers. Surely, the task is challenging. However, if you wait for a long time, it is highly likely that one of your competitors will dominate the market, taking away your position and sales. Making the implementation of eCommerce a priority for your business is a great step towards a transformational change.

How Clarity can Help

Clarity Manufacturing eCommerce Experts

The Web is the most profitable shopping platform nowadays. Buyers can fulfill their wants and needs with just a click by ordering products via the Internet. Therefore, it is essential for manufacturing businesses to have an eCommerce solution. It will provide many opportunities to scale your manufacturing business. Your manufacturing business will grow as you increase your offering to your clients.

To conclude, implementing a manufacturing eCommerce model cohesively with your current sales model has a lot of benefits. These advantages can be observed in the form of improved sales, better relationship between the manufacturer and the distributor, increased brand awareness, and production efficiency.

If you want to know more about this particular topic, we encourage you to get in touch with our experienced team. The Clarity team will be happy to provide answers to any queries that you may have regarding B2B eCommerce solutions for manufacturing companies. We have an extremely professional and knowledgeable staff who can also provide a complimentary analysis. We certainly look forward to talking with you about your Manufacturing eCommerce project.