3 more reasons why OEMs should start their digital journey – Digital Commerce 360

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Kris Harrington
The manufacturing world has seen many ups and downs in the last few years. But there are promising signs that the industry is growing and has taken away some valuable lessons.
One of the biggest lessons is that organizations must be more agile and  respond quickly to changes. Digital investment helps to create that agility and allows for new growth. And even though that’s the case, many original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) have been slow to adopt these technologies for various reasons. Whether it’s because of cost or a reliance on what’s worked, a massive amount of potential isn’t being realized.
Because of these hesitations, many OEMs forfeit their full potential and leave revenue on the table. That’s why we’ll explain how an optimized eStore is no longer just a nice addition — it’s critical for growth and future success. It opens the door for growth in multiple ways, and if OEMs don’t grow, they’ll start to see the competition pass them by. Obviously, digital sales are a huge benefit of an eStore, but we’re going to focus on some other incredible benefits that don’t always get mentioned.
It’s great when a customer calls or emails to make a purchase, but how much are you really learning from that interaction? You don’t know if that customer considered other products but decided not to buy them or if there are other complimentary products they could’ve purchased too. The analytics portion of an eStore provides insights into that customer interaction and a whole lot more.
Analytics provide an in-depth look into customer patterns when using your website and is a great tool to maximize sales potential. Insights such as frequency of products purchased together, cart abandonment, product availability, and lifetime value of customers, are all helpful insights that point you in a direction to improve sales. The more you know about what customers are doing when they are on your website, the easier it is to create an experience that appeals to them and makes it more likely for them to make a purchase. If the ability for a customer to search for products and purchase online doesn’t exist, neither does all of this incredible opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of customer needs and trends.
Where’s the first place someone goes to find something online? Usually, it starts with using an online search engine like Google or Bing that leads them to what they were looking for. OEMs that aren’t selling online are closing themselves to the possibility of being discovered through internet search. B2B buyers only spend 17% of their time meeting with a person when considering a purchase, but they spend 27% of their time researching online. Not having a way to be found through search means you’re closing yourself off to potential buyers.
Buyers are increasingly looking for digital experiences, so creating an eStore means that when someone is searching for new or used equipment and aftermarket parts, your eStore can pop up in those results. Even if someone is searching and they’ve never purchased from you, if you rank high enough on Google, buyers may get exposed to your brand. Selling through an eStore is a great way to grow brand recognition organically. Compared with offline sales, an eStore is an easier way to grow your market share by identifying new markets and customers for your products.
Online selling is incredibly important for used equipment that moves into the secondary market. Often OEMs don’t know who these used-equipment customers are, but through a search of your products on a global search engine, these new customers find your eStore online.
Another benefit of selling online that companies don’t always consider is how it works hand in hand with digital marketing. Many OEMs have yet to dip their toe into digital marketing for the sale of aftermarket parts and services, and an eStore creates an easy way to do that.
For example, email campaigns are a tremendous way to drive more traffic to a site and highlight some industry products customers may not know you sell. In addiition, email provides a relatively simple way to offer promotions for seasonal kits and components and can also remind customers when a service is due. Altogehter, these strategies deliver better customer service, increase sales, and help your reputation grow as a great service provider.
An eStore also helps create customer profiles. These profiles are incredibly helpful in grouping together similar customers and selling to them individually. If there’s a profile that typically buys a certain product, but a buyer that fits that profile hasn’t purchased it — that means you can suggest this product to them, and there’s a good chance they’ll buy it; even if you get only a 10% hit rate, that’s more purchases than you had before the recommendation. These new marketing strategies help maximize sales potential, and none of them are possible without your own eStore.
The manufacturing industry, and specifically business-to-business (B2B) organizations, have had slower adoption of digital tools than retail counterparts, but that is all starting to change.
Customers have become accustomed to the buying experiences in their personal lives, and they’re now looking for a similar experience when they come to work. In fact, over 40% of buyers want to buy directly from manufacturers, and they’re willing to pay 20% more to do so. That number is only going to increase as more millennials and Gen Z workers fill buying positions. OEMs need to consider what success looks like in the future, not simply rely on traditional sales methods.
There’s an incredible opportunity for OEMs to increase sales and grow their business through an eStore. Analytical insights, enabling search engine optimization, and integrating digital marketing strategies are just a few methods manufacturers can use to meet the needs of dealers and customers. Whoever can capitalize on this digital opportunity will see themselves separate from those who stick to “what’s always worked.”
The future is digital, and manufacturers should be too.
Kristina Harrington is the president and chief operating officer at GenAlpha Technologies, which provides digital commerce technology for manufacturers. Prior to joining GenAlpha, Kris worked for more than 10 years in leadership positions at two large multinational original equipment manufacturers, Bucyrus International and Caterpillar, supporting the mining industry. In her various positions, she worked with internal stakeholders, dealers, and customers to deliver business results both in aftermarket and equipment sales. She can be reached at [email protected].
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Copyright © 2022 Digital Commerce 360 | Vertical Web Media LLC


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