By Torre Tribout, President, Sniperdyne
In the past, many SMB manufacturers and distributors did not see a need for eCommerce. But with the emergence of new and affordable technology, SMBs are now fully embracing eCommerce as a competitive advantage.
Here is why we believe this space is late to the party, but starting to reap the benefits.
By 2019, manufacturers and wholesalers will surpass online retailers in the amount they spend on e-commerce systems.
The Power of Marketing and SEO
In the past, many manufacturers/distributors didn’t see a need for an eCommerce site, as they relied upon partners further down the supply chain to market their product offerings. And those manufacturers/distributors that did have an eCommerce site restricted it to login-only access for their customers–meaning that only existing customers with login credentials could access the site, view product information and purchase product.
However, from a marketing and SEO perspective, there are multiple problems with the login-only eCommerce site, as Google does not spider web pages that are login only. With the increasing popularity of online and mobile shopping, the power of search engine optimization is undeniable–and those not taking part in SEO optimization are falling behind the competition.
Even for those manufacturers/distributors that do not sell direct to the end consumer, the desire to take full advantage of SEO benefits to help customers better find products via online searches is growing. And the easiest way for a manufacturer/distributor to do this is to make product catalogs visible on the web without logging in.
For many organizations, the matter of producing rich product information is not the problem. Manufacturers/distributors typically have an enormous library of product content including descriptions, specifications, etc. contained within their enterprise resource planning (ERP) software systems. The challenge has historically been in efficiently making this content visible while maintaining privacy in regards to customer pricing and discounts.
The Answer: Data Integration
With newer, modern eCommerce technology, manufacturers and distributors are largely adopting eCommerce sites like Nomad erpCommerce that allow for exactly this–exposure of desired information while restricting other information to login only access. This is accomplished through data integration between ERP and eCommerce.
Data integration allows information to flow from ERP into eCommerce, exposing product information to search engines like Google through eCommerce sites while 1) keeping pricing information private and 2) without the need to manually re-enter the rich product data into eCommerce.
Data integration offers a number of benefits beyond marketing and SEO. Where traditional eCommerce sites allowed customers to order products online, they didn’t accurately reflect inventory, individual customer pricing, seasonal pricing changes or discounts without a lot of manual labor. Today’s integrated eCommerce technology does all of this and more, including allowing the customer to view account status and shipping status–making for a happier customer and an unburdened customer service department.
Catching Up with Large Competitors
Large manufacturers and distributors have long had the luxury of developing their own sophisticated and expensive systems to provide all of these same benefits. Yet now we’re starting to see the SMB rapidly adopt these new technologies, like hybrid cloud eCommerce solutions such as Nomad erpCommerce, that provide the advantages of automating back-office ERP data to eCommerce in an affordable way.
Torre Tribout, President of Sniperdyne, has worked within the eCommerce industry for 15 years, first as small manufacturing business owner striving for a better way to sell products online, and then as a technology entrepreneur who used the solution he created for his manufacturing business to help others grow through eCommerce.
Learn how Torre created Nomad erpCommerce in: From Nomad to Entrepreneur and Back: The beginnings of Nomad erpCommerce.
To learn more about how our manufacturing and distribution customers utilize Nomad’s eCommerce and ERP integration, visit our website.