The first in a three part series on "eCommerce for Manufacturers" from Alex Salvador of Drupal Commerce Delivery Partner The Jibe
Manufacturing and wholesale is a neglected sector when it comes to optimizing for eCommerce. Most businesses use outdated online approaches to lead generation and sales in what is now a sophisticated digital retail environment. Simply providing product overviews and product order sheets online is no longer enough to make the sale. For the big, high-volume projects supplied by manufacturers, the efficiency of digital tools is invaluable.
Product Customization and Scalability
Scalability is key for enterprise level organizations with vast inventories and a large client base, in order to execute many large orders successfully. Drupal Commerce is uniquely positioned to streamline the sales experience of a large scale operation on a unified platform, avoiding the pitfalls associated with using a bolt-on store to complete sales.
Manufacturing products, when applied to retail scenarios, often come in an extensive array of variations (sizes, colours, power, speed, etc). Using the Drupal Commerce back-end, each product can be configured for these unique variations using a bulk product creation interface. Product variants are streamlined into a manageable, single product page. This eliminates the need to scroll through an endless catalogue which we often see on older, less optimal sites.
Drupal Commerce simplifies inventory management and speeds up product creation by providing mechanisms to display a single back-end product in a variety of contexts. In other words, it is easy to reuse a single product and to display it on its own independent product page and in product bundles – no duplication of products required.
Products that are often purchased together can be sold in a bundle as a single item. This is especially relevant to the manufacturing industry because many items have associated accessories. Bundles promote intelligent cross-sells. For example, recommending baseboards and moulding to sell with wood flooring.
Another must have for large retailers is a flexible discounting system. Drupal Commerce uses rules to drive this functionality: website administrators can create a rule that will apply an arbitrary discount on products that match the criteria defined by the rule. For example: discount products tagged with “high performance” by 10%; or discount all products with a SKU starting with XYZ by $5. These rules allow retailers to provide bulk discounts on a large set of items, or on a very granular basis.
In conclusion, next level product customization has made manufacturing ecommerce an intuitive next step in streamlining sales systems.
Upcoming in our eCommerce for Manufacturers series: Sales and Marketing.