How Manufacturers Can Reach New Buyers
Manufacturers aren’t exactly fast to embrace new technology, especially to manage their front-office processes. After all, they have enough to worry about to maintain compliance, reduce material costs, streamline production and get orders shipped out in time. But as buyers raise their expectations and online shopping grows by the minute, manufacturers will find themselves behind in their industries if they don’t adopt software solutions to modernize the front office.
One solution that manufacturers should consider implementing is eCommerce. Launching an online store has never been easier or more important. The latest eCommerce systems can help you get your website up and running in no time, so you can start attracting new customers. Check out our eCommerce tips to start driving more revenue for your manufacturing enterprise.
1. Get a Head Start
Retail is the dominant sector for eCommerce, but manufacturers are slowly starting to embrace online shopping. That’s because more millennials are entering sales professions and expecting streamlined, digital shopping experiences. They want the option to buy directly from manufacturers rather than go through third-party distributors and retailers. Because of these trends, B2B eCommerce is soaring, with Forrester predicting it to double the size of B2C eCommerce by 2020.
Manufacturers that are getting an early start in eCommerce are gaining a substantial share of the market and boosting their revenue. With an online store, you can differentiate yourself from the competition. Buyers will view you as a modern enterprise committed to digital transformation. They’ll also enjoy the convenience of viewing and purchasing your products anytime and anywhere.
2. Get in Front of Your Customers
Most buyers aren’t flipping through catalogs or answering cold calls. To get the word out about your products and services, you have to get the buyers to come to you. The best way to do this is through designing an enticing online store. Since savvy customers are going to the internet to research products before they make a purchase, having a great site where they can learn all about your business is one of the most effective ways to get your goods noticed.
But a beautiful website doesn’t just appear out of thin air. You want your online store to rise to the top of search results pages across any device. Sophisticated eCommerce platforms like Epicor Commerce Connect (ECC) include search engine optimization (SEO) tools to help you launch a Google-friendly site without coding or hassle. Its responsive design automatically formats your website to support multiple mobile devices. Additionally, you can select from a large array of pre-built templates to easily put together an attractive online store that visitors will want to spend time browsing.
3. Check the Numbers
Is your eCommerce site bringing in business? Hopefully it is, but do you know where that business is coming from? Your eCommerce system should track website performance and online sales to keep you informed of what’s working and what’s not.
ECC includes reporting and analytics tools, so you can make informed decisions to improve your online customer experience. Through reporting dashboards, you can see which products are selling, which shopping carts are abandoned, which products are getting the most views and other critical metrics. ECC is also integrated with Google Analytics to show you how pages are performing, how long visitors are staying on your site, how they are accessing your site and more useful insights. This wealth of data will help you make improvements that drive sales.
4. Don’t Abandon Distributors
An eCommerce site gives manufacturers a fast, direct sales channel as well as control over how they represent themselves and their products without the added cost of distributors. But that doesn’t mean manufacturers should ditch their distributors and resellers, especially if they are responsible for most of their income. Manufacturers must analyze their sales channels to develop a strategy that makes the best use of eCommerce as well as distributors to bring in business.
You have quite a few options for including both an online store and distributors in your sales operations. For example, your website could serve as an online catalog that directs buyers to distributors. You can also take orders from your eCommerce site and have them fulfilled by distributors. This is probably the best option if you work with a value-added distributor that offers services to your customers. Some manufacturers decide to sell some products through their online store and others through a distributor.
5. Integrate with ERP
When you run multiple applications to manage your business, you risk information gaps, roadblocks and data errors. Manually entering data between platforms results in inaccuracies and wastes time. Manufacturers who use ERP software to plan the production and fulfillment of online orders should consider integrating their ERP and eCommerce systems. An integration increases order throughput by automatically transferring online orders into your ERP system. Website managers also have instant access to pricing and inventory data, ensuring product information and availability are up to date on your eCommerce site.
Epicor Commerce Connect gives users a fully connected ERP and eCommerce solution. ECC is tightly integrated with Epicor ERP, so you can effortlessly provide a cohesive customer experience without developing custom connectors. A single ERP and eCommerce solution facilitates real-time insights, faster order fulfillment and greater precision.
Many manufacturers are missing out on a huge channel for revenue. With Epicor Commerce Connect, you can start capitalizing on opportunities to boost profits and increase your brand power. ECC’s easy-to-use interface and seamless integration with your ERP system enable you to launch a successful online store without hassle.
An Epicor Gold Partner, Datix will make sure you’re getting the most from your Epicor solution. We’ve specialized in ERP and eCommerce for over 20 years, helping countless manufacturers and distributors transform their businesses through software. Let our certified consultants work with you to solve your pain points and optimize your business practices.
Start reaching out to new customers and growing your enterprise. Contact Datix today to learn more about our ERP and eCommerce solutions!