1. Understand that your customers are your business.
Of course, you value your customers. You prove that by tailoring your business approach to meet their needs. A significant number of manufacturers polled (38%) revealed that their desire to improve customer experience is what drives them to invest in e-commerce solutions.
The same customer-focused approach that enhances online shopping for consumers also improves the B2B customer experience. The research shows that Both B2C and B2B buyers value faster and easier checkout processes and easy repeat ordering. Interestingly, these preferences are also held by the manufacturers surveyed. Everyone is looking for streamlined, glitch-free buying and selling. 42% of manufacturers are investing in e-commerce solutions that will make online buying much more efficient.
The trend toward online commerce will only increase as the technology and buying preferences continue to align for better buying and selling experiences
2. Recognize that digital transformation is no longer optional.
With the anticipated growth projected over the next few years, it’s imperative to focus on your manufacturing business’s future and how you can best position yourself to meet the challenges.
With changing customer preferences and advancement in technology, strategic evolution is necessary for B2B business operations.
The majority of the manufacturers surveyed (94%) agreed that now, particularly with the challenges associated with the COVID-19 disruptions, 2021 is the best time to change their market strategies. In fact, 57% have already implemented an online sales model, and 32% have begun the process.
An honest evaluation of your online capabilities is more critical than ever. 47% of large manufacturers (employing between 1000 and 5000 people) stated that they have invested in new e-commerce solutions to enhance their business processes. And even smaller manufacturers of all sizes are training their sales teams to focus on online selling. As buying trends change, sellers must keep pace.
3. Ensure ease and personalization.
We reiterate that B2B customers value a seamless online solution that allows them to purchase what they need quickly and easily. But that can be challenging. Manufacturers report that some e-commerce solutions make the checkout process too complicated. Another challenge is that insufficient product data can cause high numbers of customer inquiries or, worse, customers switching to another vendor.
It is imperative to choose an e-commerce platform that allows for personalization, making the buyer feel comfortable and valued. The platform should quickly tabulate the complex discounts and bulk order processes frequent in B2B buying. Having sufficient up-to-date and thorough product information will go a long way toward completing a sale without customer service intervention.
A smooth checkout process will leave buyers with a positive impression of your business and help forge a stronger customer relationship, making them advocates for your manufacturing brand.
4. Guarantee reliable data, always.
The majority of breakdowns in a reliable e-commerce system can be traced back to one factor, unreliable data. Whether because of separate systems not commuting their data automatically or human error during input, inconsistent data can seriously impact your e-commerce success.
If order errors are not from corrupted data or human error, the finger points to an unreliable e-commerce platform. 35% of manufacturers report that missed or lost orders result from having an unreliable e-commerce solution. And 44% of B2B buyers say they experience online order errors with their top 10 suppliers at least every two weeks.
Manufacturers need to choose a reliable e-commerce solution that speaks directly to their ERP software. That will guarantee data only has to be entered or edited once in either system, and an update across all programs will occur in real-time.
5. Be agile and prepare for the unexpected.
Finally, the last but most challenging recommendation for improving your B2B customer journey is to be prepared for whatever happens. While digital transformation is critical, it does not come without pitfalls; agility is essential for tackling hurdles head-on.
For example, when 33% of manufacturers met with internal resistance to launching an e-commerce platform, they immediately identified and addressed the issues. The majority (55%) solved the problem by creating an internal e-commerce team to alleviate pressure on other employees.
Dealing with unexpected challenges in the B2B buying process is crucial because that is when buyers are at their most vulnerable. It is up to manufacturers to relieve their fears and concerns by creating robust, adaptable processes to make their B2B customer experience successful.
Your manufacturing business’s future success begins with a better customer journey.
Manufacturers must remain competitive by caring for their buyers’ needs and improving their digital experience. Satisfied customers keep returning, forging a stronger bond with your business. Eventually, those happy customers will become strong ambassadors for your manufacturing business, guaranteeing business growth and long-term success.