At present, you can sell almost anything online. For this reason, many manufacturing companies decide on e-commerce implementation in their development strategy. Are you thinking about doing the same? In the following article we will show you how to prepare for it.
Why does a manufacturing company need an e-commerce implementation?
Sooner or later, every industry starts turning shy looks towards e-commerce. The development of technologies related to online sales means that we are able to buy online products that a few years ago could not be found online. An e-commerce implementation in a manufacturing company on the example of Libet – read our case study. E-commerce is no longer only books, cosmetics ora computer accessories.More and more often we can buy such things as paving stones or building materials online. Yes, there is also a place for production companies in e-commerce and, as case studies show, it is possible to successfully enter online also with difficult (at least at first sight) goods of own production. The implementation of e-commerce in an manufacturing company provides 3 important advantages:
implementation of a new customer contact channel in the form of a B2B system that will act as an aggregator of inquiries and improve the ordering process for customers, e.g. wholesale customers,
the manufacturer will have the possibility to prepare communication interfaces through which existing and new customers can download products for sale and check inventory levels,
- putting products into categories, completing the features and attributes, which can be used to make products available for various distribution channels.
Summarizing the above – a manufacturing company entering e-commerce obtains access to new customer groups and is able to make sales independent of external partners and economic conditions. Now the question is, how to prepare for the implementation so that it proceeds in the best possible way? We will devote the rest of the article to the first part – preparations. We will present all the steps that should be taken to prepare your company to enter the e-commerce market.
How to prepare a manufacturing company for an e-commerce implementation?
The first part of preparing for e-commerce implementation in a manufacturing company is divided into four stages. Their purpose is to analyze the company’s situation and, on this basis, create a marketing strategy necessary to undertake e-commerce activities.
Stage I – business analysis
Conducting a business analysis allows to determine the direction in which the company should follow along with setting strategic goals for the next one, three and five years. At this stage, a SWOT analysis is also performed to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the company.
Stage II – customer analysis
The next step in implementing e-commerce in a manufacturing company is to prepare a customer analysis. It will provide answers to the question of who the company’s customer is, what they expect from the company, and how they perceive the company. Moreover, analyzing the customer and learning about their decision-making process allows you to determine the ways in which you can best present the company’s value to them.
Stage III – product, market analysis, and analysis of previous activities
Stage III consists of as many as three analyses focused on the market, product and previous activities:
- product analysis will establish the target structure of its assortment, the categorization logic, the filtering method, and the most important attributes necessary for the online store. At this stage it is also possible to determine what brands and products the “ideal customer” expects,
- analysis of previous activities will provide information about the effectiveness of the tools, resources and competences used so far to communicate with the customer,
- market analysis provides an answer to the question about current market trends relating to the company’s products. The market analysis also provides insights into potential competitive advantages, on the basis of which the next step will be to formulate an appropriate marketing strategy.
Stage IV – marketing strategy
We can divide the stages of building a marketing strategy into four steps. Below we describe each of them:
- step 1: building the marketing strategy framework – based on the information obtained in the previous steps:
- a persona, or visualization of a typical customer belonging to the target group,
- the value proposition, which is the basic element for the purchase motivation,
- product communication, or ways of talking about the product,
- brand personality – its positioning in the market and the archetypes it represents.
- step 2: KPIs – the most important goals from the business point of view. Here we define the method of their measurement, frequency of measurement, time of realization and possible indirect goals,
- step 3: tactics, i.e. defining tactics and tools necessary to execute the built marketing strategy. In this step the whole so-called Marketing-mix is defined, i.e. the product policy, price, promotion channels and ways of building relations through promotion,
- step 4: Action – This step focuses on the retailing of the previously established tactics. The operational steps necessary to put the entire strategy into action are created.
This concludes the first part of the article relating to the pre-implementation activities that we carry out as part of our e-commerce implementation consulting, in the next we will provide further steps on the way to introduce the manufacturing company into the world of e-commerce.
How to effectively carry out the above steps?
Implementing e-commerce in a manufacturing company is a large undertaking that requires careful planning. For this purpose, each stage of implementation (from the initial analysis, through building a strategy and further steps described in the following articles) is best carried out with an experienced consultant. He or she will not only provide a fresh, external perspective on the company, but will also help prepare reliable analyses and guide you through all the pre-implementation steps.