Time for Manufacturers & B2B Brands to Embrace eCommerce
Manufacturers and B2B brands are known for their traditional approach to business. The manufacturers and B2B brands deal with bulk quantity products and the transactions are almost always made with regular customers. If you think about it, not much has changed in the functioning of a manufacturer or B2B brands even though the technology around it has grown by leaps and bounds. But, the time has finally come for the manufacturers and B2B brands to shift to a more efficient platform - eCommerce.
Less than 50% of manufacturers have a B2B eCommerce site
The eCommerce market value of B2B business is a whopping $14.9 trillion! That is over 6 times that of the B2C market. Not taking your B2B business online now would be foolhardy and the numbers can vouch for it. More than half the manufacturers don’t have an eCommerce store. The earlier you get into the eCommerce platform, the better it is for your business. This will not only ensure that you have less competition but also boosts the number of potential customers.
What are the Challenges Faced by Manufacturers and B2B Brands Today?
The fact is that the traditional way of doing business is slowly but surely becoming obsolete. The eCommerce platform has long since started substituting the traditional way of B2B business. The B2B business can no longer thrive on the conventional platform. But, the manufacturers and B2B brands were forced to face this harsh reality when the pandemic hit. There is not a single business that did not feel its effect on their business.
The Pandemic and eCommerce
The pandemic made it clear that traditional businesses are not prepared for unprecedented events like the COVID-19. It showed us the importance of omnichannel selling, and how eCommerce can help you stay ahead of your competition. While once consumers used to look to eCommerce for convenience it is much more than that now. eCommerce gave them safety for the consumers as well as the store owners, which is the biggest challenge that the store owners are struggling with during the pandemic.
The M2 Factor: Millennials and Mobile Phones
Right now, the majority of the workforce consists of millennials. The traditional way of selling goods might have worked in the past, partially thanks to the older generation of employees who were independent of modern tech. But, that has changed, millennials don’t go around calling different suppliers for the right product. Instead, they do their research online and find the product best suited for their purpose.
Working on the go is how things are done today. When a requirement comes up, the millennials lookup for the relevant products on their phone. Imagine your business not even becoming a potential supplier just because your business doesn’t have an online presence.
Your customers are always on the lookout for ways to cut their costs and it is more relevant than ever, now. The buyers realize that disintermediation is the key to cutting costs without compromising on the quality. With the intermediaries removed from the equation, you can sell at a price favorable for yourself and your customers.
Lack of Digital Transformation
Human error is perhaps the biggest challenge for a manufacturer or B2B brand and they can often lead to a marginal loss. Automation is the only viable solution to this problem. By automating any part of the production that does not require a human touch manufacturers are trying to bring a minimal error scenario. This further urges manufacturers and B2B brands to adopt digital transformation and smart manufacturing.
Amazon has proved time and again that eCommerce is the present and the future with its immense success. Amazon is not just an eCommerce giant anymore, with their own products and world-class logistics they’ve revolutionized eCommerce. Amazon is now spreading its wings to the B2B wholesale sector as well. It is evident that if B2B companies need to stay relevant they need to go digital now!
Logistics and Accounting
The manufacturers and B2B brands handle the logistics and account for bulk quantities of products. We are talking about a huge quantity of products here. It is a monstrous task but eCommerce companies often enjoy the convenience of automating these processes. Whereas, manufacturers and B2B brands have to struggle to get their affairs in order.
Role of eCommerce in the SMART Manufacturing Era
eCommerce is arguably the only systematic way that is powerful and flexible enough to embrace the new changes in the SMART manufacturing era. The traditional way of selling simply cannot match up with the SMART manufacturing era that’s always evolving. Its characteristic features like agility, connectedness, lead generation, design thinking, experiential buyer journey, and millennials (talent/buyers) let it adapt to the latest changes in the manufacturing industry.
These characteristics act as the pillars that enable eCommerce to support the ever-changing manufacturer requirements. If the characteristics are the pillars that support the eCommerce manufacturing era the eCommerce features are the base on which these pillars stand.
In the “IoT age” make your back-end complex operations more efficient by utilizing tools to integrate with your existing PIM, CRM, ERP, CPQ, transportation management system and other business systems in place. The impact of IoT is predicted to be nearly $4 trillion by 2025.
Front-end operations are simplified as you rely on bots, instant quote calculators, auto order status, refunds, and shipping prompt to accomplish miscellaneous tasks. Customer service can focus on acquiring leads, building relationships, and creating more revenue-generating activities.
Give buyers a shot at customizing products with a product configurator, make the part numbers, properties, dimensions and other specs available online, heavy paperwork comes down, and your business becomes more streamlined.
Taxes will no longer be a concern as simple extensions will handle the task with ease. Merchants get time off from this tedious chore of handling spreadsheets to focus on growing the business. Automate your sales tax calculations, reporting, and filing.
Use a modern Cloud-based B2B eCommerce platform to speed up your order fulfillment processes. Accurate data synchronized between systems leaves sellers with correct and timely information. These systems can also manage inventory updates along with handling partial delivery and multi-warehouse shipping.
Take shipping to another level with Drop shipping, with no need to stock the product and to get new items added with ease; you no longer bear the burden of ordering items in bulk. Besides this, the cost of freight and warehouse employees no longer skim the profits.
Work social media in your favor. Showcase your SKU’s in mesmerizing ways and keep the buzz around your brand active 24×7. A resource like this will curb the geographical restrictions and helps the team penetrate a global audience. Now, no region will ever be out of your reach.
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