Manufacturers recognize they need to sell directly to their end customers, but while they explore online selling opportunities, many say they are stuck selling through online intermediaries or channel partners, a new study shows.
Business-to-business manufacturers have taken only minimal steps in direct e-commerce because of “concerns over lack of experience with e-commerce, costs associated with building the required technology and potentially alienating their distributors, or channel conflict,” according to a new report titled “Manufacturers Reap Benefits From Selling Direct.” The report, conducted by Forrester Consulting and commissioned by marketplace technology vendor Mirakl and SAP Hybris, a B2B e-commerce technology company, evaluates the current state of B2B manufacturers’ adoption of hosted online marketplaces and the associated benefits.
Notable findings include:
- Manufacturers understand the need to connect directly with end customers, but lack confidence doing so. Only 35% of respondents said they are “very confident” in their ability to convert site visitors to buyers, and only 34% said they were “very confident” they could properly manage their customers’ final purchase stages, the report says.
- Manufacturers have taken half steps toward enabling e-commerce for end customers.The study showed 53% of companies say they are selling on unidentified third-party marketplaces or through channel partners, but relying on resellers “interferes with the business’s control of the customer experience and reaping valuable customer data and insights.”
- Manufacturers that sell on marketplaces say they are “more confident” in their abilities to execute critical functions through direct marketplaces.
Forrester surveyed 125 e-commerce and marketing executives from medium and large B2B and B2B-to-consumer manufacturers in the U.S., United Kingdom, France and Germany.
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