4 Ways To Improve The Digital Customer Journey For Manufacturers

Digital Customer Journey For Manufacturers

Beyond the day-to-day struggles of operating a business, manufacturers are presented with the issues of being in a state of flux. For many their digital transformation process has already begun. Yet it’s pretty far from complete. 

With the recent disruption caused by COVID-19, there are now additional benefits to digitize manufacturing businesses with an eCommerce platform. 

Digital Customer Journey

Digitalization has now become an integral part for B2B manufacturers. Latest study shows that around 98% manufacturers have, are implementing, or they’re planning to implement an online sales channel. 

While most manufacturers are whole-heartedly embracing digital, businesses’ perspectives, initiatives, motivations do vary across channels. In addition to eCommerce, manufacturers are turning to various online channels to facilitate their sales strategies. 

Manufacturers who know that eCommerce generates revenue are now prioritizing adoption as a recent study shows around 50% of overall revenue for manufacturers is generated via online sales channels

However, making B2B eCommerce work comes along with multiple challenges that can sometimes break a business’ relationship with consumers. 

Among those challenges is how to properly digitize customers’ journey. Manufacturers from decades struggling to know their customers. Manufacturers have tried multiple ways to mitigate or solve those challenges, particularly those that are related to customer experience

Manufacturers across the globe have reported they tried dozen tactics to fix online customer experiences issues. To address online experience challenges, nearly half of the giant manufacturing businesses invested in a new eCommerce solution. 

According to recent research, there are huge opportunities for manufacturers in this space. Previously, the term customer experience was solely associated with Business-to-Consumer companies like Amazon or Apple. B2C customers got highly accustomed to their specialized services that persuaded them to back and shop again and again. 

Over the years, this became a popular concern in the Business-to-Business industry as well.  Nowadays, manufacturers are shifting on online sales channels just to improve their customer experience

Improving customer experience not only helps in acquiring new customers but helps in retaining and building a sound relationship with the existing ones. 

To stay competitive and relevant in this cut-throat competition, it’s essential for manufacturers to focus on how to improve their customer experience. 

If you’re one of those who’re facing similar issues then you have landed in the right place. 

Today in this article, we’ll discuss how manufacturers can improve their digital customer experience. 

So let’s get started

4 incredible ways to improve digital customer experience for manufacturers

1. Healthy customer relationships

Digital transformation and customer experience goes hand in hand. A recent research indicated manufacturers investing in eCommerce solutions are able to generate more revenue than those who don’t.

The same mindset (customer-centric) that encourages customers to shop online, is now being adopted and implemented  in the B2B industry to improve customer experience. According to a recent research report published by Sapio, buyers value those businesses that offer seamless repeat order and faster and easier checkout services over other benefits that online purchasing offers.

Healthy customer relationships

This is what manufacturers view as the major benefit of using eCommerce platforms for doing business. The report further indicates that manufacturers are now very well aware of the fact how crucial easy and fast checkout is if they want to provide a good customer experience.

For the above reasons, 42% manufacturers have invested to streamline their online experience to acquire more customers and bring in more sales. 

When it comes to the perks of eCommerce, there’s no sign these ROI will slow down anytime soon. Almost 50% of the manufacturers across the B2B industry believe that homegrown and third-party eCommerce solutions are their main driver of revenue in 2021 and will continue to be in the next 3 years, as well as in the next 5.

2. Evolution is essential 

As manufacturers anticipate massive growth, they should start looking ahead to determine the new challenges and upcoming changes in this space. Because of changing technological advancements and customers’ preferences, strategic evolution has become an integral part of B2B business operation and ownership. 

Due to the recent disruptive event COVID-19 that brought new challenges, 94% manufacturers have already changed their marketing strategies this year to sustain their businesses. Moreover, 57% of them have already implemented new  online sales model while 32% of them are implementing one currently. 

Those who are still in the process of implementing are actually running behind their competitors who are already taking full advantage of these online tools to build a strong and note-worthy relationship with their customers.

Therefore it’s highly essential to closely evaluate your online presence and all your offerings. Around 47% of large manufacturers reported they invested in a brand new eCommerce solution to address and solve their pain points. 

On the other hand, if that’s fiscally impossible for small manufacturing companies, then it’s necessary to train your sales teams to help them to optimize your company’s online presence and experience. 

That being said, investing in a scalable and highly effective eCommerce solution is essential to fulfill the changing preferences and demands of customers.

3. Prioritize personalization and ease

As we have already mentioned, B2B consumers highly value a seamless online purchasing experience as it allows them to make purchasing decisions quickly. This is certainly one of the biggest challenges for B2B manufacturers as the online B2B purchasing process is pretty complex. 

Most of the manufacturers report the biggest challenges that eCommerce brings with itself are limited product data, and complicated and too long checkout processes. Manufacturers are aware of this fact that these issues can bring in hundreds of thousands of customers’ complaints and queries and there are many possibilities that buyers will start looking for other options to fulfill their business needs. 

Therefore to address them, it’s highly essential to find an eCommerce solution that allows you to customize your online sales channel to improve customer experience. The chosen platform must be able to swiftly tabulate bulk order processes and complex discounts that are highly common in B2B orders. 

Prioritize personalization and ease

Moreover, ensuring a seamless and simple checkout process. It should also provide updated and detailed product data that will automatically reduce the number of repeated consumer queries. 

All of this will leave an embarking impression on your customers and will help you to improve your customers’ purchasing experience. It will not only help your brand to build a healthy relationship with them but it will turn them into advocates of your manufacturing business. 

4. Ensure data integrity 

The one culprit behind the major breakdown caused in a highly reliable and robust eCommerce system is none other than bad data. Whether it’s the system that’s unable to commute the data or human error, bad data can cause some serious issues for business efficiency. 

Both manufacturers and buyers are well aware of this. Around 35% reported that they lost or missed orders because of having an unreliable and deficient eCommerce solution. Even 44% of buyers often complain about receiving wrong or incomplete orders from their top manufacturers at least once in two weeks.   

Ensure data integrity

Therefore, it’s essential to invest in an eCommerce solution that ensures reliable and accurate data throughout the process. Another solution is an eCommerce engine that’s directly integrated to the ERP software developed for manufacturers. This ensures that the data has to be changed once and it will automatically be across all the linked systems in real-time. 

Key Takeaways

Looking at manufacturers’ priorities, business drivers, investments, and strategic business changes, one thing becomes clear: manufacturers are on the right path toward digitization. 

The statistics highlight a clear focus from manufacturers on their customers, as well as on adopting the right technologies and strategies to keep them happy. But it also highlights key challenges along that journey, which manufacturers will need to be prepared to tackle moving forward. In particular, major issues that threaten to harm their relationships with customers.

A continued focus on digitization and customer-centricity could prove beneficial, especially as manufacturers recognize how big the payoff on their investments is. But it will require continued dedication as well as manufacturers constantly looking to go beyond their own comfort zones.

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A writer by profession, Maria Ilyas is an eCommerce and digital marketing enthusiast and is always digging into the latest marketing trends, best practices, and growth strategies.

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