Manufacturers in the B2B industry often struggle with simplifying the ordering process for their customers and dealers. However, manufacturers need to understand the benefits of eCommerce and digital self-service from the buyer's perspective.
In this blog post, we will discuss how eCommerce and digital self-service can enhance efficiency and customer satisfaction by making the purchasing process easier, and why buyers won't see it as double entry.
The Challenge of Double Entry
Manufacturers often wonder why customers would want to enter the same information twice—once in their own system (to create their internal purchase order) and again on the manufacturer's website. However, without an integrated system like Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), which automatically generates orders in the manufacturer's system, customers resort to time-consuming alternatives like phone calls, emails, or faxes to transmit their purchase orders. This back-and-forth communication can cause delays and increase the risk of errors.
The Power of Self-Service eCommerce
By providing customers with self-service options, manufacturers enhance the purchasing process. Customers can now access the manufacturer's website, check prices, availability, and specifications themselves, and create the entire order without the need for an intermediary to create it for them. This self-service functionality empowers buyers, giving them full control and eliminating the wait time for manufacturers to respond to their requests.
Benefits for Customers
Convenience and Control: With self-service eCommerce, buyers can place orders at their convenience, 24/7, without being dependent on the manufacturer's working hours. They can quickly check product availability, compare prices, and make informed decisions without the need for time-consuming back-and-forth communication.
Faster Order Placement: Instead of waiting for manufacturers to respond to their emails or calls, customers can instantly place orders, on their account, through the secure site. This streamlined process enables them to focus on other aspects of their job, increasing their productivity.
Bulk Ordering Made Easy: Buyers often submit purchase orders with multiple line items. Some eCommerce platforms, like GenAlpha’s Equip360, enable customers to copy and paste the part numbers and quantities from their purchase orders, allowing for bulk uploading. This feature saves time and effort, particularly when dealing with large and complex orders.
Order Tracking and Management: eCommerce platforms provide customers with real-time order tracking capabilities. They can easily monitor the status of their orders, including shipment dates and expected delivery times, without needing constant communication with the manufacturer.
Benefits for Manufacturers
Increased Efficiency: By empowering customers to self-serve and place orders through a secure website, manufacturers can streamline their order processing operations. This efficiency translates into faster order fulfillment and reduced administrative overhead.
Enhanced Customer Satisfaction: Offering self-service options and eliminating the need for back-and-forth communication aligns with the evolving expectations of B2B buyers. Customers appreciate the convenience and control provided by secure online storefronts, leading to improved satisfaction and loyalty.
Better Decision Making: Accurate and real-time order data captured through the eCommerce platform allows manufacturers to optimize inventory and pricing management. They can analyze customer and product patterns that ultimately lead to better business decisions which can increase profitability.
The rise of eCommerce has brought about a significant shift in the manufacturing industry, making purchasing easier and more convenient for dealers and customers. Self-service options give customers greater control over the buying process, resulting in faster order placement, increased efficiency, and improved customer satisfaction for manufacturers.