The Complete Guide to eCommerce Strategies for Manufacturers: Why, How and Best Practices
 

Manufacturers are businesses that design, create and sell products. In the past, these products were mostly sold through brick-and-mortar stores. However, in recent years, manufacturers have begun to sell their products online as well. This has led to a growth in ecommerce sales for these businesses. In this guide, we will discuss the benefits of ecommerce for manufacturers and how they can start selling online. We will also look at case studies of successful manufacturer ecommerce businesses and learn from their experiences!

The Benefits of eCommerce Strategies for Manufacturers

There are several reasons why manufacturers should consider employing ecommerce strategy to survive in the digitalizing world.

Expand your reach

First, with the right ecommerce strategy for manufacturers, these companies can sell to a larger audience. In the post-COVID era, scaling any business became impossible without an online presence. This is because customers now prefer to shop online regardless of their location or time of the day, whether it is B2C or B2B business. Digital transformation using the right ecommerce solution not only allows for expanding but successfully handling peak hours load, ensuring stability for your business.

Save on costs

Second, selling online can help manufacturers save on costs associated with brick-and-mortar stores, such as rent and inventory. Additionally, manufacturers can sell directly to customers without going through a middleman. This allows them to keep more of the profits from each sale, collect data and overall strengthen relationships with end consumers.

Improve customer experience

Third, selling online can provide customers with a better shopping experience, as they can easily compare products and prices. Customers can also read reviews before making a purchase. Personalized recommendations and scheduled reorder features that you get with modern ecommerce platforms guarantee an excellent customer retention rate.

Collect & analyze data to sell more

Fourth, selling online gives manufacturers the ability to collect data about their customers, which can be used to improve the product and the customer experience. By analyzing the data, you can create personalized product recommendations and warranty terms, effectively employ up-sell and cross-sell techniques, and adjust pricing automatically in real-time, depending on the order volume and other chosen parameters.

Increase customer loyalty

Finally, the proper manufacturer ecommerce strategy can help with building a brand and increasing customer loyalty. You get more control over your brand representation and understand your customer needs better with direct sales and communication. Personalized pricing & promotions that are available with modern ecommerce solutions help you improve customer loyalty.

Scale & innovate on the go

eCommerce also allows manufacturers to quickly scale their business and try new things without incurring a lot of risks. You can employ various testing techniques when it comes to new products and marketing strategies on your ecommerce site before investing in them.

Speaking of innovations, ecommerce also allows manufacturers to introduce new products and services quickly and easily. With scalable and adaptable ecommerce platforms like Virto Commerce the cost of ownership and cost of innovations are both predictable so it won't require any unexpected budget spending.

The Benefits of eCommerce Strategies for Manufacturers

Tips for Launching eCommerce Selling Strategy for Manufacturers

If you are a manufacturer and want to go digital, there are certain things you should take into account. Here are some tips on how to start:

Inventory management & product data

To ensure a smooth transition to ecommerce, manufacturers need to have a clear understanding of their inventory. This includes knowing what products are available, where they are located, and how many units there are in stock. Additionally, it is important to have accurate and up-to-date product data, such as descriptions, pricing information, and images. This will make it easier for customers to find the products they are looking for and make informed purchase decisions.

Choose the right ecommerce platform

Not all ecommerce platforms were created equal and not all of them will be a good fit for manufacturers. When choosing an ecommerce platform for manufacturers should look for a solution that is scalable, customizable, and has all the features they need to run their business effectively.

Some of the must-have features for manufacturer ecommerce platforms include:

Marketing & SEO

Once you have launched your ecommerce site, it is important to let your customers know about it. This can be done through various marketing channels, such as email marketing, social media, and paid advertising. Additionally, it is important to make sure your site is optimized for search engines so that potential customers can easily find it when they are looking for products or services that you offer.

Customer service

Last but not least, manufacturers need to make sure they have a good customer service strategy in place. This includes having a dedicated customer service team that is available to answer questions and resolve issues. Additionally, it is important to have a returns & warranty management system in place so that customers can easily return products if they are not satisfied with them.

By following these tips, manufacturers can set themselves up for success when launching their ecommerce selling strategy.
tips for launching ecommerce selling strategy for manufacturers

Advanced Manufacturing eCommerce Strategies

If you already have an online representation of your manufacturing business, but looking for effective ways of improving it, check out these advanced ecommerce strategies for the manufacturing sector:

Move from B2C ecommerce solution to B2B ecommerce platform

Even if you are selling to consumers, the fact that you are a manufacturer puts you in a B2B environment. The needs of businesses when they shop online differ a lot from the needs of individuals. To take the most out of ecommerce and give your customers the best possible user experience it is important to use an ecommerce platform designed specifically for the B2B companies. Why? The key to success for manufacturers selling online is to offer configurable products. This way businesses can easily find what they are looking for and configure it according to their specific needs.

B2B ecommerce platforms make shopping easy and convenient for businesses due to these important features:

  • Customer groups & segmentation
  • Quotations & orders
  • Returns & warranty management
  • Configurable products & pricing
In order to offer configurable products on your ecommerce platform, you need manufacturer ecommerce software that supports product customization. This type of software is designed specifically for manufacturers and it offers the features we've described earlier like product configurator, quotation & order management, shipping & logistics integration.

By using manufacturer ecommerce software, you will be able to offer a much better shopping experience for your customers and increase sales.

Look for the best ERP integrations

As a manufacturer, you are probably using some sort of ERP system to manage your business. In order to streamline operations and make sure all your data is in one place, it is important to look for an ecommerce platform that offers seamless integration with your ERP system. This way you will be able to manage all your data from one place and avoid errors that can occur when using multiple systems.

The benefits of integrating your ecommerce platform with ERP system include:

There are many ecommerce platforms that offer ERP integration, so make sure to do your research and find the one that best suits your needs.

Use customer portals

Another way to improve your manufacturing ecommerce strategy is to use customer portals. Customer portals are private areas on your website where businesses can login and access their account. In the customer portal, businesses can see all the information about their orders, invoices, returns & warranty claims and more.

Customer portals offer many benefits for manufacturers, such as:

  • Improved customer service
  • Increased sales
  • Reduced costs
If you want to offer a great customer experience and increase sales, you should definitely consider using customer portals.

Don't miss the B2B marketplace boom

B2B marketplaces are managing to increase selling volume at a rate of over 8 percent every year. According to DigitalCommerce, B2B marketplace sales grew 7.3 times faster than total B2B ecommerce sales and 8.5 times faster than total manufacturer and distributor sales in 2021, making B2B marketplaces the fastest-growing digital sales channel.

B2B marketplace boom

Given the enormous popularity and development of B2B marketplaces, it's only natural for producers to attempt to establish one of their own or link with existing successful marketplaces.

The Virto Marketplace is a cloud-based, open source ecommerce platform that supports both first and third-party marketplace models and works with almost any existing ecommerce solution without requiring replatforming.


What Can We Learn from the Marketplace Boom in China?

Study your competition

In order to create a successful ecommerce business strategy for manufacturers, it is important to study your competition. By understanding what your competitors are doing, you can learn from their mistakes and avoid making the same ones yourself.

When studying your competition, there are a few things you should pay attention to:

  • Their product offerings
  • Their ecommerce solution
  • Their marketing strategy
  • Their prices

You'll be better prepared to design an effective ecommerce strategy for your manufacturing company if you can correctly identify both the weak and strong points of your competitors.


Review your website design and user experience

Your website is the first thing potential customers will see when they search for your products or services online. That's why it's important to have a well-designed website that is easy to navigate and provides a great user experience.

If you want to improve your website design, there are a few things you should pay attention to:

  • The overall look and feel of your site
  • The user experience
  • The navigation
  • The content
By improving these things, you will be able to create a better website that will convert more visitors into customers.

How to Promote an eCommerce Site for Manufacturers

There are a few different ways to promote your ecommerce site. One way is through search engine optimization (SEO). This involves optimizing your site for certain keywords so that it appears higher in search results. This is one of the most important strategies, and to employ it correctly and to the fullest, you will need to hire an SEO specialist.

You can also promote your ecommerce site through social media. This involves creating content that is shareable and engaging and then sharing it on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Another way to promote your ecommerce site is through email marketing. This involves sending emails to potential customers with information about your products or services.

Finally, you can also use paid advertising to promote your ecommerce site. This involves placing ads on search engines like Google or Bing, or on social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram.

All of these strategies are effective ways to promote your ecommerce site. However, it's important to remember that promoting your site is an ongoing process. You'll need to continuously create new content, analyze it and adjust to your ideal customer profile in order to see results.

If you're looking for more information on ecommerce strategies for manufacturers, be sure to check out our complete guide. This guide covers everything from the benefits of selling online to choosing the right way of building your ecommerce presence.

Case Studies of Successfully Implemented eCommerce Strategies among Manufacturer Companies

Let's look at some case studies of companies that have been successful in selling online after we've covered the basics of ecommerce for manufacturers.

  • Lavazza by Bluespresso

Lavazza by Bluespresso is a manufacturer of coffee machines. The company has an ecommerce site that sells its products to both consumers and businesses. Lavazza by Bluespresso has chosen a strategy of unification of B2B & B2C portals. With a new ecommerce website, Lavazza now provides more than 4,000 business clients with immaculate customer service.

Find Out How ‘Lavazza by Bluespresso’ Created a Truly Flexible Platform

  • Heineken
Heineken is a global manufacturer of beer and cider. The company has been successful in selling its products online opting for the B2B2B portal. The platform allowed the vendor's distributors to sell online to retailers. Because the vendor controlled the platform, they were able to see inside the supply chain landscape and contact directly with merchants. As a result, they were able to market products, offer discounts, plan purchasing volumes, and much more.
  • Bosch Thermotechnik
Bosch Thermotechnik is a manufacturer of heating and cooling products. The company has an ecommerce site that sells its products directly to consumers. The manufacturer ecommerce strategy that they've chosen was a customer loyalty program that awards points and allows them to interact directly with end consumers. The Customer Loyalty Portal is a long-term solution that expands with Bosch Thermotechnik.

Learn How Bosch Thermotechnik Built Customer Loyalty Portal

Conclusion

These are only some examples of the many manufacturer ecommerce strategies out there. The important thing is to find the one that best suits your business needs. If you're looking for more information on ecommerce strategies for manufacturers, be sure to check out our complete guide. This guide covers everything from the benefits of selling online to choosing the right platform to building your ecommerce site.
Now that you understand some of the basics of manufacturer ecommerce, it's time to put those ideas into practice.

Check out this blog for more tips and trends in the manufacturing sector for 2022, or contact us today to learn more about how we can help you take your manufacturing business online.

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Kristina Melnikova
Content Manager