Categories: SAP eCommerce


George Anderson


How Manufacturers Can Boost Ecommerce Revenue

A recent article in Martech Advisor offers 5 tips for boosting B2B ecommerce sales and increasing repeat customer purchases. The article makes excellent points, especially for newer B2B companies without an established customer base, and/or companies that are looking to expand upon a well-established customer base.

But what about those customers who’ve been with you for years—the ones you don’t have to spend money to attract?

Like a lot of thought leadership on B2B ecommerce promotions, the Martech article doesn’t offer much perspective on this customer segment. That’s too bad, because existing, contracted customers constitute the highest-value, lowest-hanging fruit you can go after if you want to boost B2B ecommerce revenue.

Here’s how you can drive more revenue from those accounts. We’ll assume you’re running an SAP ecommerce solution—one that maps ecommerce users to SAP sold-tos (like Corevist Commerce does).

Step 1: Drive adoption among existing customers

For the purposes of discussion, we’ll treat your existing customers as a block. Doubtless they’re more nuanced than that—you may have different customer segments for different markets, geographies, or product lines. Whichever segment is most meaningful to your revenue-driving efforts, isolate that segment and ask yourself this question:

  • What percentage of these customers have transitioned away from phone/fax/email ordering to ecommerce?

In a perfect world, you would answer, “100%!” However, chances are, you’ll answer with a much lower figure.

Once you have a baseline adoption percentage, it’s time to define your goals for adoption. Where do you want to be, and how fast do you want to get there?

With these figures in hand, you can embark on a plan to drive adoption. See this post for detailed steps: Driving B2B Ecommerce Adoption.

Step 2: Offer personalized pricing, ATP, and more, straight from SAP in real time

In the Martech article (and elsewhere), you’ll read a lot about the power of personalization. This is something we’ve all become accustomed to on Amazon. Product recommendations, follow-up emails, and more–Amazon is incredibly good at creating a personalized shopping experience for the consumer.

But let’s interrogate this definition of personalization for manufacturers. Consumers are fickle, buying from you one day and a competitor the next. While customers of manufacturers may buy from competing manufacturers, they most likely have established relationships governed by contracts.

What does personalization look like in this context? How does it apply to existing customers who are transitioning from phone/fax/email ordering to ecommerce?

Actually, there’s a baseline that must be established first in the realm of personalization. If your customers are going to make a full, successful transition to ecommerce, they need the same accurate data in the web store which they can get when they call Customer Service. That data includes contract pricing (potentially scaled by quantity), ATP calculation (how much product is allocated to them and available right now), ship-from warehouse selection (so the product ships fast and/or cheap)—the list goes on.

In other words, before anything else, before any slick marketing promotions, baseline personalization means something else for manufacturers. It means giving customers relevant, purchase-critical data in ecommerce, in real-time, straight from SAP ecommerce.

This baseline personalization doesn’t necessarily drive more revenue—it ensures you don’t lose the sale due to buyer frustration. Think about it: if your customer can’t get contract price, accurate ATP, ship-from warehouse selection, etc. through ecommerce, then the web shop is useless. The customer will have to call Customer Service after all, and that ecommerce investment is dead in the water.

Wehn you choose a solution like Corevist Commerce, which includes real-time, personalized SAP data for each customer out of the box, you set a working baseline for personalization. At a bare minimum, you know your web store will provide purchase-critical data, personalized by customer account, to help you close the sale every time.

With that rock-solid platform in place, you can move on to revenue-increasing personalization.

Step 3: Offer personalized catalogs and related products from SAP

With your web store providing the same personalized account data that your customers used to get from CSRs, you’re ready to increase your personalization with SAP-driven custom catalogs. This allows you to show a relevant group of products to the right customer segment. With the most relevant products prominently displayed, the ecommerce store becomes a vehicle for intelligent merchandising. Think of it like a Sales rep with full knowledge of the customer’s account, bringing up relevant products which the customer should consider—but it’s all driven by SAP data, and the ecommerce store displays it in real time.

In addition to SAP-driven custom catalogs, you can run cross-selling/upselling initiatives in your ecommerce catalog. When you set this up in SAP, using SAP’s native cross-selling feature, Corevist is prepared to translate that into recommended products within your ecommerce experience. This allows you to leverage product relationships which you’ve already built in SAP to drive more revenue through self-service ecommerce.

Step 4: Think like a distributor and offer related 3rd party products

Not every manufacturer will be ready to take this step, but every manufacturer should consider it. As you enter the ecommerce space, competitive pressures will drive you to provide more overall value to the user. You have to answer the question, “Why should my customer buy through our web store rather than a distributor or Amazon?”

Though you’re a manufacturer, paradoxically, increasing your value as a “one-stop-shop” may help you maintain market share and increase your revenue from existing customers.

The thinking here is simple: Are you selling 3rd party ancillary products related to your major products? Are you selling the nuts and bolts, the bits and pieces your customers need to complete the job at hand? Why not?

For more on this topic, see this post: Why Manufacturers Must Sell 3rd Party Products.

Moving forward: FREE case study

Wondering what a smart B2B ecommerce catalog can do for sales? Download this case study on Mannington Mills. You’ll learn how the company launched a Corevist ordering portal, then added a catalog with rich content and related products and saw a 150% increase in digital sales.

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