Manufacturers have started to realize there isn’t much time to wait to increase their web presence. The global online demand for B2B products is projected to grow by as much as 12% over the course of this year, so OEMs that wait too long will miss out on a rapidly growing market. Whether you are selling to dealers, direct, or both, your partners are looking for an easier way to get product information, check price and availability, and order.
Additionally, as an older generation of industrial buyers leaves the job market, a new generation will soon be the ones making the bulk of B2B purchases. Having a self-service web channel in place for dealers and customers will be crucial because 44% of these new buyers prefer no sales rep interaction when making a purchase.
So it’s clear that eCommerce should be a priority, but what all goes into making that a reality? If every factor and cost isn’t accounted for beforehand it could cause that channel to not reach its full potential. Without a strong foundation, it’s hard for any eCommerce project to succeed.
Here are 5 critical items that should be budgeted for when planning an eCommerce implementation:
1. People – an experienced eCommerce leader with a cross-functional team of committed resources will help you avoid common pitfalls. This team is going to be responsible for requirements gathering, vendor evaluation, launch, and adoption of your new website. Your success could ride on the strength of this team. This is a great area to leverage third-party agencies as they will bring experience and speed to your project.
2. Technology – when evaluating vendor solutions include both the one-time costs (which can often be capitalized) and ongoing costs. One-time costs may include initial deployment, integrations to other business systems (ERP, CRM, PIM, etc.), and any special or custom development. Ongoing expenses will include hosting and the subscription fee or licenses involved with maintaining the site.
3. Product Data – investing in high-quality product data is critical to your success. Budget for the resources and time required to develop detailed product specifications, keyword-rich descriptions, well-organized categorization, and clean images. To make this process easier, focus initially on the 20% of the products that make up 80% of your revenue. Come back to the next 20% after launch. Manufacturers can also repurpose engineering 2D and 3D information to provide quality digital images for easy product identification.
4. Fulfillment – when completing your requirements gathering, it is important to identify the inventory and warehousing needs required to meet your eCommerce goals. Product availability and speed of delivery impact product conversions. It’s possible nothing will change if you initially use your eCommerce solution to support your distribution channel. If you are making changes to your channel, carefully plan this area.
5. Marketing – to be successful with your eCommerce channel you cannot set it and forget it or expect to build it, and they will come. Email marketing, social media promotion, and search engine optimization (SEO) strategies are just a few of the marketing activities you should deploy to ensure traffic to your website and grow your online sales.
Building a thriving online business is a long-term strategy, so remember to budget for the journey and not just the initial investment.
If you’re looking for an experienced partner to help you plan your eCommerce budget, please contact us. We would be happy to review your eCommerce needs and support you with your budgeting process.