Sometimes companies try very hard to improve their performance, but keep their sights on just one side of the story. What has really gained momentum in recent months is the other side of any manufacturer strategy: the customer.
The customer experience is the winning horse for any company willing to grow, secure its place among competitors, and become better. The fanciest new product would not make any difference if the way of communicating, sharing, and selling it stays the same. B2B customers are becoming aware of how traditional B2C resources could be helpful for them; more engaging brands, more attractive catalogues and product information that’s easier to access in real time from anywhere in the world, via compelling and quick interfaces.
Traditional procurement systems have been the first choice for many manufacturers for a long time, but the digitisation of processes and data exchange is also upgrading the game. eProcurement is the new way for manufacturers that may be looking for two different things: selling their products to other companies, or building a strong network of suppliers for their own manufacturing processes.
Usually, manufacturers’ clients are not looking for the best deal, but for the partner that offers the best shopping experience. eProcurement systems, supported by technology like PIM, (Product Information Management) are revolutionising the way manufacturers offer their product information and process their orders. Most of the time, the main obstacle for growth is that teams are not able to create and update product information faster.
Imagine that your system fails one morning and your IT team is not capable of fixing it until the next afternoon. That is two days of losses and stagnation that can be fatal for many businesses, as it affects both sales and brand reputation. It is not a fantasy situation: many real manufacturers have encountered that problem. That is why it is so important to rely on technology adapted to B2B needs: systems that can be easily used by anyone, with no technical training, that store data in the cloud so nothing is ever lost and can be accessed from anywhere, anytime.
Digital does not mean just “ecommerce”, as many manufacturers believe. Manufacturers offering a more digital, convenient, easy and ubiquitous catalogue access, ordering and shipping process will be favoured by B2B customers. That is because, according to Digital Commerce, B2B customers are looking for:
- Quick and easy catalogue searches
- Complete and updated manufacturers’ catalogues
- Personalised product presentations
- Quality customer service
- A smooth commercial collaboration with the brand
- Brand reliability
Like B2C consumers, B2B clients are increasingly using online channels not only to make purchases, but also to access product information and review terms, conditions and availability before placing an order. According to Gartner, 80% of B2B interactions will occur in Digital Channels by 2025, and 44% of B2B clients want a seller-free experience to complete their orders. Meaning a strong PIM platform in place lets manufacturers both offer and access the favourite way to share product information and keep commercial relationships thriving.