E-Commerce in the Manufacturing Business: Where are Your Clients’ Pain Points?

Author: Jack Martin

Do You Add Value to Your Customers’ Business?

Regardless of the type of business you pursue, a great way to obtain and retain clients is to develop a relationship with them where they perceive that you add value to their businesses-and their lives, overall.

To that end, if you take whatever steps you need to take to reduce (or alleviate) the clients’ pain points-those gnawing, nagging pains in the neck that have a tendency to summon those gray clouds over their day. If you can find that skill as a product/service offering, you not only get the moniker of ‘quality supplier’, but most likely will develop an image of the ‘knight in shining armor’ in their eyes! Let a Custom Web Design do your bidding for you.

Identifying the Pain Points

In Brian Sutter’s article in Industrial Distribution, he states,

“We’ve all experienced inventory pains. Inaccurate inventory counts that cause mishaps, delays because of inaccuracy resulting in dissatisfied customers, costly end of the year write offs, and wasted time spent looking for lost inventory, are the most common pain points cited by businesses.While all these things can happen, the best part is — they don’t have to. That’s right. There’s a way around these annoying mishaps that result in wasted money and time spent searching for lost items.”

How can you help? Isn’t it the clients’ problem? Remember that ‘Knight’ analogy? How about being the one to solve the clients’ issues?

One way that has been demonstrated is through the use of an eCommerce portal on your website. I know, “…hold your horses, I don’t sell stock items, I’m in the world of Design to Order, Engineer to Order, Configure to Order, or, Distributor Sales-not Build to Stock…”

Consider the full breadth of electronic commerce, when making your decisions. eCommerce is not only ordering via ‘shopping cart’, but via the plethora of other electronic portals designed to ease Design to Order and Manufacture to Order scenarios. Many of those scenarios can include connection directly into common Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) quoting, CAD and CAM modules.

Identifying Some Useful Solutions

Especially useful for the manufacturer getting involved with eCommerce functionality is the use of tailored web portals for distributors, large clients or outside sales representatives. All are available 24 hours per day for sales people and clients to access information they desire. The possibilities are almost endless! Some examples are:

• Distributor Log-Ins: Secure, password protected portals for distributors, showing past order status, customized, tiered pricing for an infinite number of distributor discount levels, cumulative totals toward goals, customized part numbers showing the seller and buyer part numbers, products available in protected territories, etc.

• Manufacturers’ Representative Portals: Secure, password protected portals for representatives, showing past order status, commission information, cumulative totals toward goals, products available in protected territories, etc.

• Outside Sales Representative (employee) Portals: Available 24/7, secure, password protected portals for representatives, showing past order status, results of outstanding quotes, new quotes to be delivered to clients, commission information, cumulative totals toward goals, products available in protected territories, etc.

• Large Client Log-Ins: Allowances for checking order status, stock levels of selected items, past order status, etc.

A Suggestive Sell Opportunity?

So, don’t assume ALL eCommerce sites are the same! Let your site work for you and make things easier on clients and those distributors/sales representatives out there beating the bushes on your behalf. Your eCommerce presence can easily become just one more Suggestive Selling opportunity in your toolbox. Let us help you explore the possibilities for your web presence!