Why do some manufacturers struggle with eCommerce?
Struggle in the sense of wondering where to even start.
Additionally, struggling with the question if eCommerce will actually provide a return for their business.
As the saying goes, “you don’t know what you don’t know” certainly applies here.
If you have never experienced the powerful results that eCommerce delivers, it makes perfect sense to be reluctant to embrace an eCommerce strategy.
Especially when there are no guarantees with results.
However, since you “don’t know what you don’t know”, consider these questions:
What if eCommerce took your business in an entirely new direction?
What if eCommerce led you to new markets?
Opened doors that you never knew existed?
Well, here is one reason that may motivate you to take the plunge into the B2B eCommerce market:
So with that piece of interesting information, let’s take a look at a number of reasons why manufacturers struggle with eCommerce.
Top 13 Reasons Why Manufacturers Struggle with eCommerce
After consulting with dozens of manufacturers over the years, many reasons surface as to why manufacturers Struggle with eCommerce.
Here are 13 of the most common concerns that I encounter:
- Skepticism: Will eCommerce help achieve goals and offer ROI?
- Overwhelming: Entering the unknown
- Do not fully understand how eCommerce works
- Too busy: Lack of time, energy, and resources
- Who will manage? No key employee on hand to champion the cause
- Financial risk: Too expensive
- Not familiar with an eCommerce web design firm that they know or trust
- Who will create content for the eCommerce site? Product descriptions, pictures, videos, etc…
- Who will execute marketing strategies? SEO, Pay-Per-Click, Social Media, Video, Blog, etc…
- Do not accept credit cards: Don’t want to sacrifice the 2-3%
- Customer Service concerns: Who will deal with consumers? Phone calls? Emails? Bad leads? Spam?
- Current infrastructure does not fit shipping small quantities to businesses or even consumers
- Unsure of 4 P’s: Product, Placement, Price and Promotion
This holds true especially for small manufacturers who deal with just a handful of customers. In many cases, the same customers that they have dealt with for years.
Each reason holds as a legitimate concern which contributes to not moving forward.
So let’s discuss how to become unstuck.
Related Article: How to Begin the Transition Into eCommerce as a B2B Manufacturer
What do you have to lose?
What is the absolute worst thing that could happen if you tipped your toe into eCommerce?
Would the investment of time and money severely damage the company?
Is it just a matter of stepping out of a comfort zone?
A saying in my family goes, “You will never find your next favorite food or restaurant unless you try new something new.” Therefore, broaden and expand your horizons.
You will also never discover your next favorite city unless you travel. So explore.
The same could be said about eCommerce.
Is it possible that the Struggle with eCommerce would not be a struggle at all?
Actually, it is just a matter of getting in the game.
Creating a strong eCommerce presence represents your 24 hour sales tool.
Opens new doors.
Creates entirely new possibilities.
Struggle with eCommerce: Any options?
In many cases, manufacturers just simply do not know where to start or who to turn to for help.
Especially since manufacturers are extremely busy. Time is a premium.
As a manufacturer, you have spent years upon years mastering your trade.
Focusing on perfecting systems and processes. Operations. Quality. Safety. Collecting receivables. Vendor relationships. Cash flow.
In addition, you tackle administrative nightmares with government regulation, taxes and constant changes in health insurance premiums. Fuel prices. Furthermore, now add tariffs to your list of concerns.
With all of those heavy burdens, who has time to figure out how to execute an eCommerce strategy?
With most problems at a business, it seems there exists a professional service to pull that particular source of stress off of your plate.
- Payroll = ADP, Paychex, local payroll services, etc…
- Legal = Your attorney, Legal Zoom, etc…
- Accounting = Your accountant, Quickbooks, etc…
- Insurance = Insurance agents, Geico, Allstate, etc…
- Delivery = UPS, FedEx, U.S. Postal, common carriers
- Hiring new staff = Employment and temp agencies
Yet, where do you turn for eCommerce expertise?
Simple Solutions to Conquer the Struggle with eCommerce
“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” – Nineteenth century retail pioneer John Wanamaker
As John Wanamaker wisely states, figuring out correct “half” of marketing proves critical.
This quote certainly relates to creating an eCommerce strategy as well.
As you contemplate your eCommerce strategy, minimizing time, money and resources while maximizing ROI is the name of the game.
Marketing is all about testing.
Yet, with marketing it always seems like there are no simple answers.
Especially for business owners with no experience with eCommerce, internet marketing and social media strategies.
For example, who is going to create relevant content?
What topics are you going to type about that will connect with potential buyers?
What social media platforms make the most sense for you?
Tackling these concerns can be daunting.
Thus, the struggle!
Let’s take a look at a couple relatively easy and painless options for you to consider as a first step into the world of eCommerce.
Amazon & eBay
If you are uncertain of a direction as well as figure that the cost of a new eCommerce store sounds too expensive, try an online marketplace.
Especially if you manufacture proprietary products or finished goods.
Explore a safer, easier and less expensive route for eCommerce beginners by placing products on Amazon or eBay.
Amazon and eBay serve as a fantastic starting point with a massive audience already built in.
Odds are you have purchased products on either or both websites (probably a foolish statement, right?).
Both online marketplaces deliver instant opportunity for exposure to millions of potential customers.
Amazon and eBay each serve as an outstanding resource to research and develop your product line as well as build your brand.
This is an extremely inexpensive solution to just get started.
Add WooCommerce to Your Current WordPress Website
Another affordable and effective option, if you use WordPress for your current website, add the WooCommerce plugin.
Best of all, it is easy to add and FREE. Talk with with your web designer about what it would take to start an eCommerce store with WooCommerce.
This route allows you to experience the steps of creating your own eCommerce store.
An eCommerce store also takes your current website beyond the “online business card” phase.
Though this route lacks the instant audience that Amazon and eBay delivers, WooCommerce still provides a powerful tool for your current customers as well as reaching out to new markets.
These options offer you an excellent opportunity to test the eCommerce waters to see if you have a viable and competitive product or strategy.