Winning the eCommerce Game: Key Strategies for Manufacturers' Success
For many manufacturers, implementing e-commerce into their business model feels like trying to assemble a jigsaw puzzle with no box cover. With thousands of similar SKUs, technical buyers with unique demands, and the need to integrate enterprise systems, many pieces have to fit together perfectly for an e-commerce system to run smoothly. Fortunately, some tried-and-true best practices make the process easier and more successful.
10 most essential best practices to boost online sales
Taxonomy and other ways of intuitively finding products
Some manufacturers prefer coining novel names for their products and even product categories. This makes their products hard to find because most buyers search or browse for products using industry-standard terms, and not those of the manufacturer.
The first best practice you must adopt is to taxonomize your entire product catalog, taking similar products and product categories and standardizing what they are called.
To avoid confusion, ensure that your product search capabilities are detailed and powerful enough to accommodate different terminologies. Implement a rigid taxonomy that requires buyers to select from a limited list of options but allow for great flexibility with product facets and filters.
Product selectors and configurators
Your buyers need greater functionality than simple “typeahead.” Typeahead, also known as autocomplete and autosuggest, is a language prediction tool commonly utilized by search interfaces to offer suggestions to users as they enter a query.
You must offer more than this functionality to your e-commerce visitors. They need a detailed product selection experience that allows them to identify and refine their search results quickly. Product selectors and configurators are great ways to give your customers more control over their online shopping experiences.
Product selectors allow users to filter results based on multiple attributes, such as amperage, rated power, material and color. Configurators are also helpful, enabling buyers to build custom configurations of your products by selecting from a list of options.
The first two best practices essentially lead to the third: optimizing for search engine visibility. Technical SEO is a must if you want businesses to find you online. Make sure you cover all the bases, such as page titles and meta descriptions, optimized images and videos, social media integration, and so on.
In addition, consider using keyword research tools to identify the best keywords for each product category. This ensures your content targets users actively searching for what you offer.
We recommend using plug-and-play, content-driven e-commerce platforms like KYKLO to help manage your SEO efforts. KYKLO’s platform provides a wide variety of features, such as built-in GT Metrix support, duplicate content checkers, and more.
Compared to Ahrefs and Moz, KYKLO specializes in lead generation and e-commerce for manufacturers, outperforming its competitors in every category.
Technical SEO is essential to rank well on Google, so a responsive e-commerce website is a must. Optimize your site for mobile devices and make sure it loads quickly and has a clear and intuitive navigation structure.
Hacking, data breaches, and other forms of cybercrime are a constant threat to any e-commerce business. Even if the attack isn’t successful, it could hurt your brand’s reputation and cost you customers. Most platforms that integrate with 3rd-party solutions require access to critical infrastructure and firewall bypasses. Some systems even run older firewalls, on-premises servers, and other vulnerable systems. All these vulnerabilities make you susceptible to cyber criminals.
A multi-tenant platform like KYKLO provides you with the highest levels of security and compliance. It goes beyond simple security steps like SSL certificates, providing layers of protection across your entire website infrastructure.
Discover how you can stand out from the crowd.
The hesitation to digitize is holding back many manufacturers’ potential for providing a great customer experience (CX) online. Whether your top goal is a shopping or a transaction site, the essence of a good customer experience requires content to be on point or you risk losing your customers to competition.
In this report, we dive into the components that determine the Online Customer Experience by analyzing over 110 of the largest manufacturers in the electrical and automation sector. You'll discover how many manufacturers fall into the "good to great" category, but also examples of what an exceptional customer experience looks like.
Any e-commerce website for manufacturers needs to be visually appealing and feature engaging product images. A good UX design requires that product images are large enough to showcase a product’s features yet small enough to not slow down page loading times.
These factors, along with search engine optimization, are essential for a successful online store. Images should be optimized for file size and resolution, with clear alt text and other metadata attached.
SEO for product listing and descriptions
Your products are the heart of your e-commerce platform, so you must ensure they have accurate and relevant technical descriptions. Google search results typically display only the first 155 to 160 characters of a meta description, so, for maximum SEO visibility, make sure you use every character wisely.
Micro-refresh your content regularly to stay fresh in the eyes of search engines. To do so, update product descriptions, edit images, add new products, and update prices.
By analyzing how people search for and find your products, you should adjust your descriptions to match the search terms your customers use.
Integration with ERPs and other enterprise systems
Your ERP is the single source of truth for your e-commerce portal. It stores all the data you need to run your online store, including product catalogs, orders and invoices, customer information, stock levels, and more.
However, if you are also using other enterprise systems, such as a CRM, to run your business, you likely experience duplicate data and a lack of integration between systems. This is why you should look for an integrated e-commerce platform like KYKLO.
KYKLO’s unified platform integrates with all your enterprise systems, providing data synchronization and two-way communication between them. This keeps everything up to date in one place and eliminates manual data entry.
Optimize similar SKUs
Many manufacturers don’t create product pages for similar SKUs because there are too many variables to consider. They know from experience that it’s hard to get visitors to navigate more than 5,000 SKUs. So, they limit the number of pages they create for products when only one facet or feature is different. While this might seem like an easier option, those lost pages represent many opportunities for organic search traffic.
There’s a problem with creating duplicate pages, of course, because duplicate content hurts your SEO. When dealing with similar SKUs, figure out which ones are the most important and focus on optimizing those while reducing or eliminating duplicate content.
You don’t want your customers to have to navigate multiple pages to find what they’re looking for. Your goal should be to minimize their clicks when adding something to their cart or buying something from your store. Aim to get visitors to the product they need in three clicks, and to your checkout page in four. This is why product configurators are so essential.
Purchase orders and other elements unique to B2B buyers
Today, B2B buyers have different needs and behavior from B2C customers. Items like purchase orders, custom pricing, discounts for bulk orders, integrated payments processing systems, product substitution rules, and invoice payment terms are all things you must consider when building an e-commerce platform for your B2B business.
The manufacturing industry faces a lot of challenges with products and logistics, including coordinating with multiple warehouses, carriers, and distributors. To reduce the strain, consider automating as much of your workflow and processes as possible.
This includes deploying shipping tax modules that adjust freight and shipping details in real time while customers are still in their cart. Automation ensures that you process orders efficiently to fulfill customers’ needs quickly. Automation maximizes your efficiency and reduces costs, while keeping quality high.nvest in a high-quality e-commerce platform specialized for your business
What makes a successful e-commerce manufacturer? Is it a comprehensive product catalog, a robust search function, or a streamlined checkout process?
The answer is that it all depends on the quality of your e-commerce platform. Investing in an optimized, integrated platform makes the difference between success and failure for your online business.
Ready to get started? KYKLO has everything you need to launch and optimize your B2B e-commerce site. Contact us today for more information about our solutions.
Try KYKLO’s eSOM today
Getting caught up in the surplus of e-commerce options can be overwhelming. Choosing an e-commerce platform tailored explicitly to B2B manufacturing makes a huge difference in your business’ efficiency, sales, and customer satisfaction.
For manufacturers looking for a comprehensive solution that integrates with their ERP, PIM, and CRM systems, KYKLO is the perfect solution.