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The Rise of e-commerce for Manufacturing

How CPQ is Revolutionizing Manufacturing E-commerce: A Game-Changer for Customers

The demand for e-commerce for manufacturing has rapidly changed from a low priority to a top priority in the past decade alone. With nearly every industry shifting to an online buying journey it’s critical for manufacturers to offer a fully integrated e-commerce journey for customers.

While this is commonplace in other industries such as retail, e-commerce for manufacturers has at times been a long, slow journey. Many manufacturers are wondering how we got to this point and are looking for ways to transform how they deal with online selling, to understand where e-commerce for manufacturing is going, we must understand how we got here.

In today’s fast-paced digital economy, manufacturers are continuously striving to enhance their customer experience while streamlining their internal processes. With the rise of e-commerce, manufacturers are increasingly turning to Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) solutions to not only optimize their sales operations but also to empower customers with seamless and personalized buying experiences. CPQ is emerging as the linchpin in manufacturers’ efforts to enable e-commerce, driving efficiency, accuracy, and customer satisfaction to new heights.

The Evolution of Manufacturing E-commerce

Gone are the days when purchasing from a manufacturer involved lengthy back-and-forth communication, paper catalogs, and manual quoting processes. In the digital age, customers expect the same level of convenience and customization from manufacturers that they experience when buying from consumer-oriented e-commerce platforms.

Manufacturers recognize this shift in customer expectations and are adapting by embracing e-commerce channels. However, unlike retail e-commerce, where products are often standardized, manufacturing involves complex, configurable products that require tailored solutions. This is where CPQ comes into play.

Now that the buying profile of manufacturers is changing to a younger, more online buyer it is as critical as ever to be able to actually sell highly-configurable products online. While many manufacturers we’re in the beginning phases of enabling e-commerce for customers, the COVID-19 Pandemic accelerated efforts to sell online. After the challenges and stress the pandemic put on manufacturers, many are now seeing the importance of e-commerce:

According to a PwC survey,

66% of US Manufacturers agree that implementing e-commerce over the next two years is a “high” or “very high” priority” 

The Role of CPQ in Manufacturing E-commerce

CPQ software enables manufacturers to efficiently manage complex product configurations, pricing, and quoting processes. By integrating CPQ into their e-commerce platforms, manufacturers can provide customers with a user-friendly interface to configure products according to their unique requirements. This level of customization not only enhances the buying experience but also ensures that customers receive accurate quotes in real-time.

Here’s how CPQ is revolutionizing manufacturing e-commerce:

Streamlined Configurability:

CPQ solutions allow customers to easily customize products by selecting various features, options, and accessories through an intuitive interface. Whether it’s specifying dimensions, materials, or functionalities, customers can configure products according to their exact needs, leading to increased satisfaction and reduced order errors.

Dynamic Pricing:

With CPQ, manufacturers can implement dynamic pricing strategies based on factors such as product configurations, quantity discounts, and contract pricing. This ensures that customers receive fair and transparent pricing while maximizing revenue for manufacturers. Real-time pricing calculations enable customers to make informed decisions without delays or uncertainties.

Accelerated Quoting Process:

Traditionally, generating quotes for complex products could take days or even weeks due to manual calculations and approvals. CPQ automates the quoting process, significantly reducing turnaround times. Customers receive accurate quotes instantly, empowering them to make purchasing decisions quickly and efficiently.

Integration with CRM, ERP and more:

Integrating CPQ with CRM, ERP, is instrumental in optimizing manufacturing operations and delivering exceptional customer experiences. By harnessing the capabilities of these integrated systems, manufacturers can streamline workflows, improve data accuracy, and foster greater customer satisfaction. As the manufacturing landscape continues to evolve, seamless integration across sales, manufacturing, and customer service functions will remain essential for driving growth and maintaining competitiveness.

An expectation of Self-Service

With the accuracy needed for custom product quotes it’s important to implement products like CPQ as a solution that enables e-commerce for manufacturing. Proving fast accurate products will help customers get what they need when they need it.  This has created a shift that enables customers to buy using self-service without interacting with a sales team.

Gartner research reveled that 75% of B2B buyers prefer a rep-free sales experience.

With that in mind it’s as important as ever to offer buyers multiple ways to buy your products.   Enabling an online shopping cart makes it easy for customers to buy from home, the warehouse, or in the field for an expedited process. A great self-service experience for manufacturers will highlight the value of any specific product.

A move towards a seamless experience

Omnichannel has been a popular buzzword across industries for the last few years. Simply put an omnichannel experience for manufacturing customers creates a seamless, multi-touchpoint buying experience. Manufacturers have failed to create an experience that is like Amazon or big retailers, which lets them know the status of their products after a purchase. As reported by Gartner, B2B customers spends merely 5% of their buying journey with your sales reps. Manufacturing companies need to find ways to influence customer decisions, especially early in buying journey. With that in mind, many manufacturers’ have shifted to creating an omnichannel experience that will keep the customer close, informed, and ready to buy again.

Customers want to have a unified experience that gets them their products from any channel at any time. Your customers want to be able to check the status of every order whether it’s in design, in production, or being shipped to their office. Without a connected experience, customers will opt for companies that let them know every detail about the product they’ve purchased.

Putting the product at the center of the e-commerce journey

Product information is nearly as important as the final product that’s delivered to your customer’s door. But many manufacturers have failed to give anything more than text-based product descriptions coupled with CAD drawings to their customers.

Ask yourself a simple question, when was the last time you bought any product site unseen? Without proper visuals in an e-commerce shopping cart manufacturers will continue to struggle selling to an increasingly demanding customer pool. That’s why it’s important to enable customers to be as informed as possible about your product offering by giving them visuals and tech specs.

Visual configuration for manufacturers has made it easier than ever to not only give visuals but let customers build their own products that are 100% configurable. This will lend trust to your business while also providing a new exciting way to showcase your products, online, anytime.


The change is here are you ready?

Simply put, if manufacturers fail to offer an e-commerce journey for their customers they will struggle to sell and ultimately lose to the competition who enable an exciting and easy buying journey. With so much at stake it’s time to start looking for solutions that transform how to sell highly-configurable products. Setting up an e-commerce solution coupled with CPQ can help make your business the envy of the industry by creating quick, accurate quotes that can be sold bought and sold online.

If you want to learn more on how Tacton CPQ Omnichannel can reinvent your go-to-market  – even for highly individualized industrial products – head over to our web page or schedule your personal demo today!

Author: Michael Brassea