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17 AUG

5 Things Equipment Owners and Operators Want from OEMs and Dealers

by Kris Harrington

Industrial purchasing has changed a lot in recent years. With over 40% of buyers wanting to buy directly from manufacturers, there has been a massive rise in digital purchasing. But just providing a simple online buying option isn’t enough for a lot of buyers anymore. As digital expectations rise, OEMs and dealers need to provide a comprehensive online experience that can rival what equipment owners and operators are experiencing in their personal lives.

So what does that online experience look like? It includes things like how-to videos, self-service options, smart technology, and more. Being able to meet these new digital expectations is what will keep customers coming back and separate companies from their competitors. That’s why we’re going to explain five critical things equipment owners and operators are looking for so that OEMs and dealers can stand out and achieve long-term success.

Product Information

This may sound simple, but it’s true—the more someone knows about a product the more likely they are to make a purchase. Providing in-depth product information gives buyers confidence that they’re getting exactly what they need and makes them more likely to make a purchase. But many OEMs and dealers haven’t established product information as a priority. They understandably have a lot of products they sell, and as a result they are not prioritizing the time to provide detailed information for all of them. This is hurting their bottom line though. In fact, 87% of customers said the lack of product content lowered their confidence in the brand.

So for OEMs or dealers who don’t want to miss out on all this potential revenue, they should start by following the 80/20 rule. That means, creating in-depth product information for the 20% of products that make up 80% of their sales. Most of these items will have good stock plans and are available in the warehouse for staging product images, and they typically have up to date costs and appropriate price levels. Product images, price and availability are key requirements before most buyers make an online purchase. Applying the 80/20 rule is a great way to grow online sales and then iteratively expand product information for the next set of products over time.

How To Videos

It’s great that a customer can buy parts from the manufacturer or dealer online, but do they know the best way to use, disassemble the old or assemble what was just purchased? Often they’ll head to YouTube or other websites to find videos on how to install the parts they’ve received. These videos don’t always follow the factory-recommended guidelines and can lead to confusion. OEMs and dealers should instead make themselves the resources for these videos. The goal is to be a one-stop shop for anything involving the equipment and these videos are a part of that. Doing so lessens any safety concerns or challenges because they can follow the factory-recommended guidelines directly from the source.

These videos also provide the opportunity for market growth. Say someone who wasn’t initially a customer needs to install a part that an OEM or dealer sells for their brand of equipment. When they search for a video on how to do it, they’ll find the OEM’s videos and see them as a great resource. If that OEM or dealer can provide a great online experience there’s a good chance that the next time that equipment owner or operator needs a new piece of equipment, they will be considering that OEM brand and the dealers associated with it.

The Ability to Self-Service

The world of manufacturing moves quickly. If equipment is down that means revenue is lost until it’s back up and running. So when buyers need a part, they want the easiest and quickest way to get it. And an increasingly large number are looking for digital self-service to find that part quickly. Instead of having to call to have someone assist them, they can visit the manufacturer or dealer website and instantly find the part they need for their specific equipment or machinery and get it ordered.

While this is largely what buyers want, it’s not what’s often provided. According to a Mckinsey study, ”60 percent of B2B customers find remote sales at least as effective as traditional sales.…and 62% prefer to reorder online. But only 13 percent of industrial OEMs say that they are able to offer digital solutions with their current capabilities, and only 10 percent offer online, automatic self-service tools for placing reorders.” So it’s clear that the demand is there, and whoever can capitalize on it the quickest will see large increases in both recurring revenues and overall sales.

Service When They Need It

Like we talked about earlier, time is money, and equipment downtime means there’s money being lost. That’s why getting issues fixed quickly is critical, and service on that equipment needs to be as efficient as possible. Providing an online way to schedule technicians or services in a shop makes that process easier. Providing instant access to technicians availability or a scheduling tool online can be much easier and more convenient than multiple phone calls and emails. Customers are increasingly preferring digital experiences, they want the ability to schedule service online too. Having that option is another step towards being a company that can exceed digital expectations.

Smart Technology

Imagine if instead of waiting for equipment to go down in an emergency, that equipment never goes down in the first place. Smart technology can make that a reality by providing comprehensive diagnostic reports and letting equipment owners know when a part needs to be replaced. For many manufactured equipment today, they come with remote monitoring devices that can warn equipment owners and operators of maintenance required before a problem occurs.

If the equipment is connected to an eCommerce site, it can send an email or notification with what parts are needed and potentially have them in the shopping cart. The time savings this can provide is immense. This would provide a high level of personalization to equipment owners, which is an increasing expectation from many customers today. Most OEMs and dealers aren’t that advanced on their digital journey yet, but eventually this will be a reality. So thinking about this now and creating the infrastructure to implement it will pay massive dividends down the line.

Achieving Digital Success

A common theme through all of this is that what customers want digitally has changed. The sooner OEMs and dealers can adapt the better off they will be. This digital transformation won’t happen overnight though, and taking a few steps now is better than standing still. The digital journey is a continuous process, but equipment owners and operators have made it clear what they want—it’s time for OEMs and dealers to give it to them.

If you need a partner to help you on your digital journey, or help to improve an existing site, make sure to reach out and contact us at Genalpha.com or schedule a free demo.

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