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eCommerce for Manufacturers: An Untapped Opportunity

What is eCommerce for manufacturers?

Manufacturing is quickly changing, from typical in-person meetings with sales reps and engineers to an omnichannel online experience for customers. With so much change, highlighted by the ongoing pandemic shift to remote selling, manufacturers are looking for answers to questions they should have been asking years ago. How to provide an online, B2C buying experience as retail stores and Amazon do. eCommerce for manufacturers is an untapped chance to work with new solutions that enable a truly customer-centric operation.

B2B vs. B2C for manufacturers, what’s the difference?


Manufacturers who rely on in-person meetings, calls, and emails will quickly lose business to the competition who enable items such as self-service for their customers, where they can configure, price, quote, (CPQ), and get product info at any time. These customers want to have every piece of information they can, product details, discounting info, and much more. Manufacturers have long created a B2B experience for their customers, focusing on product logic and its features. While this has worked in the past with the analytical buyer focusing on the core competencies of the productThis leads to a long, slow buying journey that would take time to complete a purchase.


The rise of companies like Amazon has made customers less likely to wait for satisfaction, they want to know the benefits of your products in seconds, not days or weeksB2B customers are behaving like B2C customers meaning they want products fast, accurate, visually, and across channels. They refuse to wait for your long sales pitch. Even after the purchase, to keep customers coming back manufacturers must give an excellent omnichannel eCommerce experience. With 74% of customers researching half of their purchases online (Accenture) it’s critical to be able to showcase products directly to them without direct contact. 

ecommerce for manufacturing tip

CPQ is a new way to execute on your eCommerce journey. Embedding a product configurator with visualization right on your website will show how simple and easy it is to get their manufacturing product, no matter the complexity. This is a chance to win on two fronts in the battle for customer engagement. First, customers can configure their product down to the smallest detail without the help of your sales team then request a quote or add to the shopping cart using self-service integrations to buy from anywhere. Enabling your customer to do more online and without help will save time and money and allow your teams to chase other leads who are more likely to want in-person contact. This information from your self-service can be quickly sent over to your CRM systems (Salesforce, Dynamics, SAP, and more) quickly to build out your customer segments. 

Using a CPQ system integrated into an eCommerce platform puts the power of product configuration in the hands of customers, it’s only the beginning of a seamlessly connected experience. 

According to Accenture, 20% of all industrial purchases will be online by 2025

2025 seems a while away, but it’ll be here before you know it, making it essential to plan the future of manufacturing sales around being able to sell online. Is your company ready to become a fully digital operation and give customers the chance to research, understand, and eventually buy products online? If not your competition will.

Discover how Smart Commerce powered by CPQ can take your business fully online and sell to both the B2B and B2C buyers on the market in our eBook: The Manufacturers’ Guide to Smart Commcerce.


Michael Brassea

Michael Brassea