The second in a three part series on "eCommerce for Manufacturers" from Alex Salvador of Drupal Commerce Delivery Partner The Jibe
In last week's post, we discussed product customization, discounting, and inventory management. This week, we touch on how eCommerce changes can bolster sales and marketing initiatives.
Sales Representatives have been forced to change their methods in today’s digital marketplace. They now work in a cross-functional team composed of digital marketing and web development departments to engage with their contemporary audience. From the perspective of the sales team, eCommerce is a great resource for detailed customer account information. Manufacturers face customers that are empowered, connected, and expect a buyer-centric approach to online sales. In some cases, having a buyer deal with a manufacturer’s sales representative and browsing through a manual is unnecessary–they could be using an efficient online catalogue which allows them to buy without human intervention.
Although more technical products may require a person-to-person discussion, simpler products which do not require much support make good candidates for online sales. Enabling online sales for a subset of these products allows the organization to ease into the eCommerce marketplace, simplify the buying process, and reduce paperwork.
Online commerce improves marketing reach and increases brand awareness and loyalty through enabling promotional offers and social media campaigns. Integrating community into an online sales framework takes advantage of social proof, and provides customers with the tools to market to their network on behalf of the brand–social sharing icons on product pages are a must. For example, Pinterest is a likely community to share an image of a home improvement product.
A major incentive for manufacturers moving to an eCommerce system is the value provided by web analytics. Manufacturers can obtain information on campaign performance, site effectiveness, conversion, sales and other user behaviour. With this data, they can zero in on what their customers are attracted to, and market intelligently on upsell opportunities.
eCommerce has become a must for retailers of all sizes and markets. Flexible and scalable platforms such as Drupal Commerce allow for a highly customizable sales system, and a truly productive end-user experience. There is nothing preventing the manufacturing sector from moving online.
Read last week's post on Product Customization
Upcoming in our eCommerce for Manufacturers series: Customer Experience.