COVID-19 Crisis Creates Big Digital Commerce Opportunities for Industrial Distributors and Manufacturing Businesses
With more people working from home, manufacturing companies and industrial distributors that want to remain competitive have had to get a little inventive in offering their goods and services. One of the avenues many industrial distributors and manufacturers have taken is by adding a new revenue stream by selling their products online, drastically changing the way they do business. Many companies have been able to turn the negative situation to their advantage, remaining competitive even during uncertain times.
Below, the team of experts from Marketing Metrics Corp. has collected some insightful facts about e-commerce, and how it offers great opportunities for the years ahead.
Increasing Digital Channels & Capabilities
For companies that have been successful in adopting a business-to-business (B2B) model historically, developing and strengthening digital sales channel can be beneficial. This is because many manufacturers and distributors that rely on direct sales channels have taken a direct hit due to the breakdown of face-to-face selling due to the recent pandemic. However, it’s easy to set up a digital or eCommerce channel to make up for some of those revenue losses.
For companies that relied on direct sales efforts before COVID-19 set in, expanding their e-commerce offerings is a must. Online commerce solutions are a great way to help businesses retain their current client base and keep a steady revenue stream until things normalize and they’re able to visit clients and prospects face-to-face again.
Quick-Turn Digital Commerce
Many companies are scrambling to come up with solid e-commerce plans and building websites to meet the growing demand of customers searching and buying products online. It’s important to note that industrial distribution and manufacturing companies can quickly launch a simple e-commerce site and then scale it later to add all the bells and whistles along with proper marketing support.
However, if you want to expand your digital offerings ASAP, there are a few important things to keep in mind, such as:
- Starting off with a Simple E-Commerce Solution: With Magento for example,Marketing Metrics Corp. can launch a simple e-commerce site within weeks, not months.
- Focusing on Vital Capabilities: When it comes to offering products online, focusing on the most vital components of the e-commerce process will help you streamline things. For example, this might mean putting an emphasis on payment or product selection solutions over shipping, showing inventory levels and ERP integration, which can be completed at a later time. This will reduce initial development costs.
- Creating a Minimum Viable Product: Focus your resources on things that you know will fill a need and be aligned with consumer demands. In some cases, this may mean manufacturers offer a more streamlined catalog consisting of items that they’re confident will sell.
- Revisiting Customization: Many manufacturers are proud of their customization options. However, customization might have been a great selling point before the pandemic but it could complicate things now, especially when it comes to e-commerce. Often, offering standard, simplified products will ensure that everyone gets what they want and you can keep costs down. Relaxing some of your rules regarding customization will likely help improve business continuity.
- Creating Manual Workarounds: To improve oversight in your e-commerce solutions, it may be necessary to have your business and IT specialists adopt some manual duties to ensure the very best services. This is especially important when it comes to customer service and returns management. Offering a personal touch and having human beings pulling raw data can often pay off in the long run.
Think Outside of the Box
Some of the most successful e-commerce enterprises are companies that can change the way they do business and adapt to growing customer demand. For example, eliminating products and services that are considered nonessential for your business can help reduce surplus inventory that simply sits in your storage warehouses costing you money to keep. Creating an industry-specific e-commerce platform is also recommended. Many companies have also begun manufacturing items that they didn’t previously; design companies are making masks, distilleries hand sanitizer…the list goes on.
For distributors, thinking more along the lines of an e-commerce company can provide a host of benefits. For example, if your competitive advantage hinges on the products and services you offer, then having a website that communicates clearly precisely what you do is essential; make pricing and plans on your site crystal clear! Additionally, you can build trust with clients by not only featuring products on your site’s product page but also ways to troubleshoot issues and other important information.
Traditional upselling is something that every industrial distributor and manufacturing business understands. So, the next step to gain an edge on the competition is digital upselling. You can suggest upsells through digital content in a variety of ways, such as by:
- Personalizing Website Content: With the automated technology available nowadays, it’s easy to personalize your website content for each customer when they visit, creating a more unified experience online and across platforms.
- Suggest New Services Via Email: Sending out personal emails that cater to your current customers’ needs is also a great way to announce and market new services, as long as you do so tactfully. You can also sign the name of the representative they’re used to receiving emails from, to make even more of a personal connection.
- Digital Customer Service Access: When it comes to manufacturing and distribution, even the most vigilant companies still might have a product or two go missing or arrived damaged from time to time. However, how you deal with the situation can make or break your company. Nowadays, it’s important to offer comprehensive digital customer service solutions that enable clients to submit service tickets or find a solution to their problem right from your website.
Why Choose Marketing Metrics Corp. for your e-commerce solutions?
For years, Marketing Metrics Corp. has been helping manufacturing businesses and industrial distributors stay competitive by providing extensive marketing expertise and innovative e-commerce solutions. Our comprehensive e-commerce solutions include everything from web design and development services to marketing solutions. We’ll be there every step of the way to ensure that your e-commerce campaign is successful and on-track.
Marketing Metrics Corp. prides itself on offering holistic e-commerce solutions, which is why all of our campaigns include a range of components, such as the creation of an online catalog and digital marketplace, as well as shopping cart and ERP integration services. We’ll discuss all of your company’s needs and expectations and ensure that you have the tools you need to excel in your given marketplace.
In addition to our e-commerce services, we also offer innovative lead generation solutions, SEO and PPC services, branding and promotional products, and more. Contact us online today to speak with one of our knowledgeable representatives or call (262) 691-9229.