Manufacturing eCommerce

How Quote Carts Can Help Manufacturing eCommerce

August 31, 2022  |  7 min read

How Are Quote Carts Used for Manufacturing eCommerce

In manufacturing eCommerce, orders can come from a variety of places, including international sources. Quote carts are useful because customers can put in the information for what they want to order and then get a quote back on that order. This allows users to put in more details about the order, including large orders that are common for manufacturer eCommerce customers.

A quote cart automates as much of the process as possible in a specific, customized workflow for your manufacturing eCommerce business. That way, employees know what to expect and customers can intuitively fill out the information fields in the form.

Quote carts also give additional opportunities for customers, since many would be willing to fill out a guided form rather than calling someone or emailing back and forth with a customer service or sales rep.

How Quote Carts Can Help Manufacturing eCommerce

In addition to the traditional contact channels you are currently using, quote carts add a highly efficient way for your customers to request quotes. While serving our clients over the years, Clarity has discovered the biggest problems that can be solved with a quote cart:

  • Browsing and Researching Mindset – Customers who consider themselves to be in the “research phase” are less likely to interact with a website if they feel that it’s too early to contact the company directly. Quote carts give them an active (yet seemingly passive) low-pressure way to start the conversation. 
  • Lost in the Crowd – It's likely that you aren’t the only company that a potential customer is considering for their project. If they don’t take any action on your site, you can easily remain just one of their many equal choices. But if you implement a quote cart, they have now invested some time on your site and can return to see your company’s response.
  • Inventory Uncertainty – Customers seeking 100 of an item may bounce off your site if they see you only have 40 in stock. Quote carts let them know that they can buy those 40 now and get a quote for the other 60 to be delivered later.
  • Missed Steps – When the quote process exists separately from the rest of a business’s back-office software, it’s much more likely that steps will be missed and inaccurate quotes will be generated. A quote cart that’s integrated with office software ensures every detail is accounted for. 

You can never assume that all of your customers will want to interact with your quote process in the same way. Even with a quote cart, some customers will still want to call you up directly or email you, so don’t take those options away. Your staff can manually alter the quote carts as necessary, making it the most efficient way to keep the quote process organized.

What Quote Carts Can Do for You

It’s important to remember that quote carts aren’t just one thing and can be infinitely flexible. There are many variations Clarity has built over the years, and we can customize any quote cart to the needs of each client. One way they shine is the balance of automation and human intervention. For the simplest quote requests, predetermined price tiers can be set and can give the customer an automatic quote. Most, however, will require additional employee steps to finalize.

Quote carts can be integrated with almost any ERP, CRM, PIM or other back-office software. This gives your business a new tool to use without having to change the quote processes you already have in place.

Automation

The key to a good quote cart is to let the customer self-serve as much as possible. This gives the customer a sense of control as they fill in the information, and also makes them consider options that they might not have provided in an email quote request. It also gives them confidence in your company, because the automated decision you set up proves that you are aware of the dozens of variations that could exist. In other words, it proves that you have experience in the field.

The automated portion of quote carts lets customers attach files. These files can range from 2D graphics for printed marketing materials to highly detailed 3D schematics with huge file sizes.

Self-service also helps your team, freeing their time by eliminating manual data entry from the customer’s request. It organizes the data into a standard fields, and also prevents data entry errors that staff might make after taking a call or transferring data from an email quote request.

Once the quote request is received, it is now part of the customer’s quote cart. An automated message can let them know how long it typically takes to get a response.

Human Review and Action

Most quotes take the initial automated process and then start the human chain of responses. Once the quote request is filled out, a process—customized to your business—ensures that everyone who needs to be involved can give their input. In other words, it triggers a series of steps from Sales through Manufacturing through Shipping. Thanks to the automated portion already completed by the customer, all your employees are seeing the same information.

Here’s an example of what the employee steps might look like:

  1. Sales reviews the quote to see if any information is missing.
  2. Sales will use the customers preferred method of contact—phone, email, or built-in chat—to address any questions.
  3. The quote information is sent to Manufacturing for estimated cost. Manufacturing can also let Sales know how long the project will take.
  4. If regulations of the product are an issue (pharmaceuticals, dangerous materials, etc.), the person tasked with verifying authorization is automatically informed.
  5. APIs in your back-office software can calculate multiple shipping options to offer and add estimated times of delivery.
  6. APIs can also add customs, duties, and taxes.
  7. Once everything is approved, the quote cart will tell the customer to review their quote and order.

Back to the Customer

Throughout the process, it’s good to keep the customer apprised of the status. They should be told how long a typical quote takes, and if the product is particularly complex then they should be told the quote may take longer. You can also let them know what the next step is and what they should expect from your staff.

A primary advantage of a quote cart is that it gives your customer a centralized place to return to. They don’t have to remember which email to check, and all of the information can be found in one place. We often put the quote cart and the regular shopping cart on a single page so that both are easy to find. This also lets the customer check out with a shopping regular cart while waiting for a quote. You never want to put any barriers between the customer and an immediate sale.

When the final quote is given, discounts alert the customer how much they’re saving (such as first-time customer, bulk order, cash payment discounts).

Working With Clarity

Quote carts are amazingly flexible, and we’ve found that we can make them do anything our clients need. They can even be used in “Make an Offer” scenarios, where someone can make an offer on a used item and then also make terms a part of the agreement A potential customer might offer a price for a piece of heavy machinery but could also include terms such as, “but only if you can wait two weeks for payment.”

Clarity has been building quote carts for years, and we’d love to hear about your quote cart needs. No matter the scenario, we bet we can find a way to make it happen. Most importantly, we can make it work with your business’s current workflow. Get in touch with us for a complimentary discovery process and strategy session.

 

Ready to Find Your Quote Cart Solution?

Click the button below for a free consultation and discovery session with our expert team.

quote cart expert

Related Posts

Author
 
Stephen Beer is a Content Writer at Clarity Ventures. He helps people like you learn more about growing their business and helps connect them with the Clarity Team.