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5 steps to succeed in digital after-sales

Do you want to make your sales more efficient?
Maybe roll out new business models, all while increasing customer loyalty?
Read how manufacturers can get started easily and grow as they go.

Manufacturers: increase your direct sales!

Digitalization enables manufacturers to sell more and more products directly to their customers. Almost 100 % strive for a direct customer interaction, as a study by B2B Online in cooperation with SAP and MIRAKL shows.

After-sales has always been a major business driver in manufacturing. Spare parts, consumables, services - the possibilities are endless. With digitalization, the aspect of personalization opens up new dimensions of growth. According to our customers, such as SPINNER, these are the 3 most impactful benefits of having a long-lasting after-sales phase:

  • More profit for manufacturers, as additional products and services are offered
  • More customer loyalty, as the competitive pressure is reduced by optimized products
  • More efficiency for B2B buyers, since a digital customer portal can be adapted to individual processes

    Do you want to benchmark yourself against your competitors? Here's our latest industry report:

Read all about the State of Digital Innovation in Manufacturing!


Start small, then grow as you go

At Intershop, more than 300 customer projects have given us  insights in how to make a project of digitizing manufacturing a long-term success. 👉Here are the 5 steps that lead to more customer loyalty, higher margins and scaling sales:

1. Set up the basics

Start by setting up an information portal without commerce functionality. It could offer product lists and machine descriptions as pdf downloads. Prices and sales information are not provided yet, but be sure to present your network of distribution partners to make sure your (future) customers will be  able to make the next step.

2. Include first shopping functionality

Set up a project to introduce an online shop for consumables and spare parts. Digitize and streamline all the (dispersed) product information in one source to make sure your customers order the right item. This will lead to a unified experience on every touchpoint and improve your churn rate.

3. Personalize EVERYTHING for the best customer service

Extend the functionality of your customer portal by enabling your customers to register their machines online. Personalize the offer of spare parts and consumables based on those registered machines. Make sure that your sales team is aware of the advantages of this digitization and supports your customers in the first self-services (for example, master data maintenance or invoice overviews). In this phase, recurring orders are already detached from the personal consultation. On-site appointments should focus on supporting customers in the use of their machines, identifying new trends and picking up the requirements that will ultimately play a part in the development of new machines.

4. More data! Connectivity is king.

Extend the portal via API gateways to include data collected via e-commerce, CRM systems and analysis tools. They are a good basis for increasing personalization or adding best-of-breed applications to make your customer portal stand out from your competitors.

5. Artificial intelligence for new business models

Add even more data from sources such as sensors on your machines and expand your digital portal with innovative technologies for the development of new business models such as predictive maintenance. This is where machine learning, AI and Cloud infrastructures come into play.


Future-proof your B2B commerce strategy

In 2020, e-commerce experienced 10 years' worth of growth during the first three months of COVID-19. How can B2B companies address the new customer expectations? We invited Joe Cicman from Forrester Research to our webinar and talked with him about the rise of B2B e-commerce, the shift of customer expectations and how manufacturers can answer those changes with the right digital strategy.

Here's the recording:

WATCH: How to set up your digital B2B strategy for growth and customer loyalty