You are in mechanical engineering and looking for a way to digitize your sales in the long term and focused on your customers? An after-sales portal offers you exactly what you need.
Manufacturers increase direct sales
Digitization enables manufacturers to sell more and more products directly to their customers. A study by B2B Online in cooperation with SAP and MIRAKL shows that it is no longer just 50% of manufacturers who want to interact directly with their customers, but 80-100%! Understanding the real needs of B2B buyers and binding them closely to you with clever offers in a long-lasting after-sales phase is a smart move that ultimately translates into three benefits:
- 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
The path to a digital after-sales portal
At Intershop, we have identified with our customers a way to make such a project a long-term success. After-sales 4.0, therefore, is the result of the following steps:
- Start by setting up a customer portal without commerce functionality. Strengthen your sales team by making them experts in advising customers and support your partners in selling your products.
- Set up a project to introduce an online shop for consumables and spare parts. At the same time, your portal can be extended with a digital mirror of your registered machines, making it a self-service portal.
- Personalize the offer of spare parts and consumables based on the registered machines that your customers have entered in the customer portal. 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.
- 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.
- Add more data sources and expand your after-sales portal with innovative technologies for the development of predictive services. This is where machine learning, AI and Cloud infrastructures come into play.
A digital customer portal needs the following integrations
Given the many advantages offered by such a system, the question naturally arises how well it can be integrated into existing processes. Of course, an after-sales portal requires initial development effort, but all common external management systems (PIM, CRM, ERP, IoT, etc.) can be integrated via REST APIs. As a Progressive Web App (PWA), such a portal is always accessible both on mobile devices and at the workplace. The information from internal systems and third party providers is centralized in the portal and is thus permanently accessible. In offering after sales service to your customers, you will increase their long-term loyalty.
Would you like to learn more? In our webinar, you will learn practical solutions on how to master the challenges of digital B2B trade with the help of a digital customer portal. Customer examples will also be used to illustrate the requirements for successful implementation.