Manufacturers in particular now see the benefits of selling online, not just to their retail partners, but directly to consumers as well.
B2Bs once relied strictly on middlemen to get their products to market. Then came eCommerce. This didn’t just improve their wholesale and retail channel performance. It also gave them a new channel to sell online to the consumer directly. This multichannel approach comes with its challenges. Namely, a B2B must put more resources into marketing. More importantly, it has to balance direct-to-consumer sales with its B2B channels. But, done correctly, this approach reaps rewards for B2Bs, including light manufacturers. In fact, 70% of manufacturers that don’t sell online now plan to by 2020. Most manufacturers sell online to increase sales. But according the research, 56% want a direct-to-consumer channel, and 44% want to improve sales with their B2B customers.
It Increases B2B and B2C Sales
Manufacturers and other suppliers already know that B2B eCommerce improves sales. When they sell online to other businesses, they increase average order value and ordering frequency. Also, they prompt sales from previously inactive customers and to find new products. Meanwhile, direct-to-consumer eCommerce lets B2Bs showcase products to their end-customers, adding more sales opportunities.
It Improves B2B Customer Satisfaction
A big reason B2B eCommerce works for suppliers is simple. Their customers asked for it. In fact, customer demand prompted 79% of suppliers to sell online to their B2B customers, according to a 2016 survey. The fact is, B2B eCommerce makes it easier for retailers to place orders with suppliers. Moreover, with good content and images, these customers get a better idea of what they’re buying. And they can be enticed to search for other products they did not know about before.
It Shortens Supply Chains
With eCommerce, manufacturers can remove steps their products take to get to market. While they can maintain wholesales channels, they can also fulfill one-off or smaller orders from their warehouse, either direct to consumers or to retail partners. With courier and drop-shipping, they can increase cash flow and product cycles. Moreover, they gain more control of their relationships with customers.
The key for light manufacturers that sell online is supply chain management. For that, they need a system that tracks their products from production to fulfillment, regardless of the channels they use to sell.