Most successful companies appreciate the value exceptional customer service brings to their business. Consumers realize that they have choices about where to shop and who to do business with. Years ago, friendly, knowledgeable sales personnel spent time and effort cultivating loyal repeat customers. Now, with most purchasing done through digital channels, organizations need to know what they can do to keep up with the latest trends and improve their customers' digital experience.
When it comes to building your customer base, our research has identified 5 key steps that manufacturers can take to meet the challenge of improving their customers' online buying experience, thus building new customer relationships and strengthening existing ones.
A recent report produced by SAPIO Research concluded that more manufacturers are using digital solutions to improve customer experience than ever. Below are some key insights from our research:
Based on this research report, we've put together a shortlist of recommendations to help your manufacturing business remain competitive in today's rapidly changing digital world:
1. Understand that your customers are your business.
Of course, you value your customers. You prove that by tailoring your business approach to meet their needs. A significant number of manufacturers polled (38%) revealed that their desire to improve customer experience is what drives them to invest in
The same customer-focused approach that enhances online shopping for consumers also improves the B2B customer experience. The research shows that Both B2C and B2B buyers value faster and easier checkout processes and easy repeat ordering. Interestingly, these preferences are also held by the manufacturers surveyed. Everyone is looking for streamlined, glitch-free buying and selling.
The trend toward online commerce will only increase as the technology and buying preferences continue to align for better buying and selling experiences
2. Recognize that digital transformation is no longer optional.
With the anticipated growth projected over the next few years, it's imperative to focus on your manufacturing business's future and how you can best position yourself to meet the challenges.
With changing customer preferences and advancement in technology,
The majority of the manufacturers surveyed (94%) agreed that now, particularly with the challenges associated with the COVID-19 disruptions, 2021 is the best time to change their market strategies. In fact, 57% have already implemented an online sales model, and 32% have begun the process.
An honest evaluation of your online capabilities is more critical than ever. 47% of large manufacturers (employing between 1000 and 5000 people) stated that they have
3. Ensure ease and personalization.
We reiterate that
It is imperative to choose an e-commerce platform that allows for personalization, making the buyer feel comfortable and valued. The platform should quickly tabulate the complex discounts and bulk order processes frequent in B2B buying. Having sufficient up-to-date and thorough product information will go a long way toward completing a sale without customer service intervention.
A smooth checkout process will leave buyers with a positive impression of your business and help forge a stronger customer relationship, making them advocates for your manufacturing brand.
4. Guarantee reliable data, always.
The majority of breakdowns in a reliable e-commerce system can be traced back to one factor, unreliable data. Whether because of separate systems not commuting their data automatically or human error during input, inconsistent data can seriously impact your e-commerce success.
If order errors are not from corrupted data or human error, the finger points to an unreliable e-commerce platform. 35% of manufacturers report that missed or lost orders result from having an unreliable e-commerce solution. And 44% of B2B buyers say they experience online order errors with their top 10 suppliers at least every two weeks.
Manufacturers need to choose a reliable e-commerce solution that speaks directly to their ERP software. That will guarantee data only has to be entered or edited once in either system, and an update across all programs will occur in real-time.
5. Be agile and prepare for the unexpected.
Finally, the last but most challenging recommendation for improving your
For example, when 33% of manufacturers met with internal resistance to launching an e-commerce platform, they immediately identified and addressed the issues. The majority (55%) solved the problem by creating an internal e-commerce team to alleviate pressure on other employees.
Dealing with unexpected challenges in the B2B buying process is crucial because that is when buyers are at their most vulnerable. It is up to manufacturers to relieve their fears and concerns by creating robust, adaptable processes to make their B2B customer experience successful.
Your manufacturing business's future success begins with a better customer journey.
Manufacturers must remain competitive by caring for their buyers' needs and improving their digital experience. Satisfied customers keep returning, forging a stronger bond with your business. Eventually, those happy customers will become strong ambassadors for your manufacturing business, guaranteeing business growth and long-term success.