eCommerce for Manufacturers: Why Selling Parts is the Lifeline of Your Business
Aftermarket parts sales for equipment manufacturers can generate up to 50% of total revenue and the same percentage if not more, of gross margin. Letting third party vendors claim the spoils of the aftermarket therefore, is tantamount to giving money away.
What’s Your Strategy for Differentiation?
So how do you woo owners of your equipment away from independent parts vendors? There will of course be challenges to overcome. For example, independent parts dealers offer heavily discounted prices to customers. However, as an OEM, undercutting dealer prices isn’t an ideal strategy, since it serves only to commoditize your aftermarket products.
A better approach is to focus on service and relationship differentiation, preferably positioning your business as a one-stop-shop for equipment or machinery buyers. That means supporting your customers for the duration of your product’s lifecycle. To do this, you must consider how to:
- Provide exemplary aftersales service, with a proactive approach to service, preventative maintenance and parts replacement
- Accurately represent and disseminate supersessions
- Leverage social, mobile, analytics and cloud technologies to listen to your customers, be accessible to them, and personalize their experiences to encourage loyalty
- Provide the convenience factor by letting your customers shop via new, as well as traditional channels
eCommerce for OEMs and Customers
Customers of manufacturers are fast becoming proponents of ecommerce and multichannel purchasing. They want the ease of being able to access aftermarket parts and services online via eCommerce platforms. They also want to browse your inventory and place orders/make service appointments from smartphones and tablets, as well as via traditional channels such as the call center and field sales representatives.
Commercial buyers expect to enjoy enriched experiences too, which your company can provide by adopting initiatives similar to those in retail, such as:
- Customer loyalty programs
- A shift from product-focused to customer-focused sales strategies
- Simplified ordering and fulfilment processes
- High availability (achievable through accurate demand forecasting and effective inventory management)
- Segmented service contracts, differentiated by factors such as price, response times and level of cover
Success in aftermarket sales growth will depend on your ability to make it easy for customers to buy from you and to differentiate your offerings from those of independent dealers. The need for technological leverage to achieve these goals is driving the adoption of eCommerce for OEMs as a growing trend.
The Benefits of eCommerce for OEMs
The key benefits of eCommerce for OEMs include the ability to:
- Provide buyers with comprehensive electronic parts catalogs and enable them to order parts online with the minimum of hassle. According to research conducted by Accenture Interactive, 68% of B2B buyers purchased materials or services online in 2014.
- Reduce the overall cost to serve customers. Research giant Forrester reports that B2B organizations can lower their cost-to-serve dramatically by providing an eCommerce channel for their customers. Forrester’s research revealed that 56% of B2B companies have customers which they can only support profitably through eCommerce.
- Apply analytics technology to access historical and near-real-time data relating to customer behavior, enabling you to learn about your customers and as a result, offer personalized buying experiences. Personalization is set to become an essential facet of any marketing, sales, and servicing activity in the B2B environment, including customer care in the aftermarket. In 2015, 95% of executive-level buyers responding to a Harris Poll study said they want more personalization in their interactions with suppliers, as reported by Forbes.
In addition to the benefits above, ecommerce for OEMs is built with technology that integrates easily with your other business information systems, such as ERP. This means data only needs to be entered into one system, helping to streamline processes and reduce errors.
PartSpot eCommerce for OEMs
Of course it’s critical to choose the right ecommerce solution. PartSpot eCommerce from GenAlpha for example, is built to support manufacturers’ aftermarket sales growth. PartSpot provides the features and functions you need to compete effectively and secure customer loyalty.
To learn more or arrange for a PartSpot eCommerce demo, just pay a visit to the eCommerce for Manufacturers page here on our website.