For suppliers in the spare parts business industry it is important to provide buyer-specific, relevant information, and to help customers quickly find the right product. AI-driven personalization should therefore be the foundation of their e-commerce strategy. What does personalization look like in the aftermarket and what benefits does it offer manufacturers and suppliers? That you can read about it in this article.
According to the B2B E-Commerce Market Monitor 2022, saving time is one of the main reasons why B2B customers order online. At the same time, Wunderman Thompson's The B2B Future Shopper Report 2021 shows that for 32% of B2B buyers, not being able to find products is the biggest pain point they faced online. As many as 35% of those surveyed even said that they had abandoned their shopping carts before checkout because of this.
With a personalized buyer journey, spare parts manufacturers and suppliers can greatly increase product findability and ordering convenience, and save their customers a lot of time. Yet the spare parts industry is still regularly behind the times, as it is failing to fully exploit the personalization opportunities that e-commerce has to offer it.
Why is personalization especially important in the spare parts business?
Why does personalization in particular offer the aftermarket and spare parts businesses so many opportunities? This is because personalization is the way to best serve the customer's installed base.
When servicing a purchased product, such as a machine, the exact structure of that product is crucial. A design change from one month to the next may mean that a particular spare part suddenly no longer fits. This means that in terms of exact versions and installed parts, the actual installed base is essential when ordering spare parts. That makes selling online in this industry more complicated than in other sectors.
Yet, as a spare parts supplier, you can definitely make the online ordering process easier. By showing customers a personalized product offering that seamlessly matches their installed base, it will be much easier for them to find and order exactly the spare parts they need online.
What does personalization look like in the spare parts industry?
In the spare parts industry, personalization focuses on installed base-aligned product catalogs, targeted product recommendations, contract pricing, upselling of services, predictive maintenance, providing segmented information based on different buyer roles, and enabling fast bulk ordering within the ordering process. This requires using and combining all available knowledge about your products and customers.
The use of AI is crucial for this. Based on a vast amount of data, such as the installed base, order history, current stock, and other potentially relevant categories, the algorithm can predict far more accurately than humans what parts the customer is looking for and then directly show them in the ordering portal. All individually negotiated and quantity-dependent prices are also readily available to customers here, as are certificates, installation manuals, and other relevant documentation. By offering a personalized buyer journey, spare parts ordering becomes easier than ever, resulting in higher sales and customer retention and a stronger market position.
7 tips: How do you go about personalization with AI?
AI will increasingly define the future of the spare parts industry and will enable personalization to perfection. Seven tips for those who also want to get started with AI-driven personalization.
Personalization tips for the spare parts industry
Keep up with your customers' installed base. Knowledge of the installed base is key to presenting a personalized offer. This saves the customer a lot of searching and clicking, and thus a lot of valuable time. If your online shop or ordering portal knows exactly which spare parts someone needs, this obviously also increases customer retention.
Always record the connection between an ordered part and the product for which it is needed. This helps the algorithm start understanding the context, which makes it work better and better. For the R&D department, this is also important information for improving product quality.
Set up the spare parts search function so that the exact product version is known. This way the correct parts and service information is always presented.
Provide visual support for selecting the right spare part, such as exportable CAD drawings in 2D or 3D.
Utilize cross- and upselling strategies that focus on spare parts. Such as when a customer orders a spare part for a particular product. In this case, an accessory for that product may be relevant. Suggesting other spare parts for that same product, which may be subject to wear and tear, can also be of value to the user.
Don't forget the legacy parts and their replacements. Obsolete parts may have been replaced in stages. This should also be accommodated within the online ordering portal.
Present relevant content on easy maintenance and support. If customers can find instructions on how to replace that part in addition to the correct spare part, it will save them valuable time. Getting the right part is just as important as being able to find the right information and service.
In conclusion: Smart personalization strategies will greatly improve the buying experience in the spare parts industry. Keeping up with the installed base will help the end user find the right part. Ultimately, this will strengthen their brand loyalty and increase your aftermarket revenue.
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