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what makes manufacturers successful in e-commerce? These 4 projects will make manufacturers even more successful in 2021

2020 was different, exhausting and challenging in all areas of life. The sales teams of many manufacturing companies were faced with an impossible task from one day to the next: How should they sell complex and high-variety products and solutions without the opportunity of meeting customers and interested parties personally to dicuss requirements, specifications or offers?  

Remote selling and digital interactions between customer and provider became the new normal overnight. Many B2B customers now appreciate the new ways in which they can interact with vendors and buy industrial goods. For manufacturing companies with a highly variable product portfolio, 2020 was the start of permanent change: the e-commerce surge.  

However, the distribution and sale of complex industrial goods remains an intricate process with many dependencies. The challenges that need to be mastered are: making internal procedures and processes easier for customers and setting up new digital sales technologies and sales tools.  

Webinar: Selling configurable products online

In this context, Tacton, our partner for seamless CPQ integration, asked its customers which topics and areas they will place at the top of their priority list in the new year. 

These are the top 4 B2B projects that this year is all about: 

1. Enhance digital sales channels with self-services  

Today, business customers expect a shopping experience that is not fundamentally different from what they are used to privately in the B2C sector. For many, a digital self-service portal even is the central component of their B2B commerce strategy. 

The goal is clear: the “typical B2B buying processes'' should become modernized, just like in B2C. Complex, error-prone and manual steps should be transformed into a simple, consistently integrated digitized process. Many manufacturers have recognized that simple procurement processes are the best means for loyal customers.  

The advantages of digital self-services:  

  • Serve customer needs better.  
  • Increase your own sales by becoming the preferred provider for your customers.  
  • Outdated sales models are being developed and digitized corresponding to the expectations of B2B buyers. 

2. For selling complex machines online, you need visual configuration & visualization  

Today, almost two thirds of all purchasing decisions are made on digital channels - without contact to sales. Companies with endless lists of possible options, ambiguous drawings or dimensions cannot impress digitally demanding customers on these channels. Customers want to convince themselves at first hand that the selected product “fits”. The future of industrial sales is therefore visual.  

By using visual product configuration, companies show product functions and product options in real time instead of having to explain them cumbersomely. Due to immersive technologies it is possible to visualize the entire product portfolio, making it available online and interactively. 

3. Manufacturers rely on subscription models for more revenue 

The digital transformation is not only changing the way industrial goods are sold and produced. Along with the digital change, many manufacturers are expanding the way in which they earn money with their products and solutions, too.  

The so-called subscription economy is becoming increasingly interesting. With this business model, monetization takes place via flexible subscription models and pay-per-use scenarios. Besides having advantages for the providers, customers also benefit from it.  

From a supplier's point of view, the prospect of recurring sales is particularly interesting. In addition, the subscription model offers manufacturing companies to sell not just a single product, but a complete package of product and additional services. Customers in turn benefit, because they can avoid high investments, unpredictable costs of operating or maintaining. They only pay the usage costs and have the opportunity to boil them down to a monthly fee. 

4. End-to-end processes and seamless integrations  

A digital sales strategy only is successful if the same database is used by all areas and IT systems involved in sales and distribution. Future-oriented manufacturers and wholesalers should therefore remove data silos and improve company-wide cooperation between sales and engineering. 

Webinar: Selling configurable products online

Why manufacturers count on Tacton CPQ  

The experts of Gartner have not only placed Tacton as a "Visionary" in the current edition of the Magic Quadrant for CPQ. According to Gartner, Tacton has powerful interfaces to integrate the CPQ system into relevant company applications, such as CAD, CRM, PLM and ERP. That’s why Tacton CPQ is an ideal extension for Intershop's commerce platform.  

See for yourself: https://tacton.wistia.com/medias/t5rvmaqj0j