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 manufacturing eCommerce. 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.