Digital sales continue to grow in the manufacturing industry. They increased by 18.4% last year to $543.25 billion, and this is a trend that shows no signs of slowing down. But given the complex nature of manufacturing, many OEMs are still hesitant to get into it. They don’t want their pricing and products to be publicly available and they think their business is too complex. While those are understandable thoughts, not getting into digital sales is becoming less of an option as more customers and dealers are looking for it.
So that’s where the dealer portal comes in. It can bridge the gap and allow organizations to dip their toe into selling online without fully diving in yet. OEMs can take a step in the digital direction without having to open up a direct channel. A dealer portal allows manufacturers to give their dealer network a secure way to buy online. They will have their own private logins and can view parts availability, start warranty claims, and receive up-to-date pricing information. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. We’re going to dive deep into 5 benefits that dealer portals provide for manufacturers.
For both dealers and manufacturers, time is a valuable resource, and a dealer portal provides a way to increase efficiency and save time throughout an organization. Giving dealers the self-service option they’re looking for means fewer calls to check price and availability, quick and easy repeat orders, and updates on order status. This allows team members to focus on higher value-adding activities instead of answering constant calls.
What’s something else that can really slow down a manufacturer? When someone makes a mistake. Whether the mistake is coming from the dealer or your internal team, it doesn’t matter—it’s costing you time and money. Allowing dealers to find what they need online removes a lot of the human error that can occur. It also means they will always have access to real-time price and availability, so there won’t be any confusion if a price has been updated or if something is unavailable.
Learn More About Your Dealers
A dealer portal also means that there will be a massive influx of data on dealers and their behavior. You’ll know what parts are being viewed the most, what items are being bought together, how long dealers spend on the site and a lot more. All of this data can be used not only to create a more optimized online experience but it can also be shared with the sales team so that they’ll have a clearer understanding of what dealers want. These new insights can be used to tailor promotional pricing and other data-driven sales incentives.
Easily Configure Parts and Equipment
Buying parts and equipment is complex. There can be hundreds of thousands of different possible product configurations. So traditionally dealers had to call or email to get a quote, but with a dealer portal, they’ll instead be able to instantly generate their own quote. Providing this option is a big step in simplifying the online purchasing processes and boosting customer satisfaction.
Providing this self-service option will also help to increase deal values. With a portal, it’s easy to upsell and suggest add-ons. Additionally, when a customer clicks on a drop-down there’s an opportunity to automatically suggest multiple alternatives. Some of these alternatives include maintenance services or additional warranty packages that they otherwise wouldn’t have known about. There’s also the ability to highlight maintenance kits and accessories that help boost deal values.
Ease of Use and More Accessibility
As more and more buyers gravitate towards online purchasing the buying process must be as simple as possible. That means that when a dealer visits the portal they expect to quickly find what they need and easily purchase it. Through integration with an ERP, a dealer portal has real-time information on any price changes, part availability, or any other relevant information. Providing this allows manufacturers to meet the heightened digital expectations and keep customers coming back.
This ease of use also helps to differentiate manufacturers from their competitors. A dealer will be more likely to choose the manufacturer that can provide the best possible digital experience. And then once their expectations are met by the portal they’ll keep coming back to be a source of recurring revenue. Not having a dealer portal means missing out on tremendous possible value and sales.
Enhanced Privacy and Security
As opposed to an open eCommerce site, a dealer portal provides heightened security and privacy. Every dealer has their own unique login and is shown an experience tailored to them. For example, they can see the MSRP as well as their price and any special offers. The portal acts as a stop-gap for manufacturers that aren’t comfortable sharing their pricing but realize they need to be selling online. It also gives dealers an efficient way to find the information they need without needing to make a phone call.
A dealer portal can be a powerful tool for manufacturers. They increase efficiency, help to learn more about dealer search and buying behavior, make it easy to configure equipment, improve accessibility, and provide increased privacy. And countless benefits extend beyond those five. It’s a jumping-off point for manufacturers who want to ease their way into selling online. And once the dealer portal is successful, it can be opened up as a full-service eCommerce site if that’s what a manufacturer wants. So what are you waiting for? Equip your dealers with a comprehensive digital option that not only improves their lives but yours as well.