Manufacturers that understand what their digital customers want in the way of a better online experience and delivery are reaping benefits such as more ecommerce sales. But not all manufacturers are as far along on creating the digital user experience their customers want, says a new research report from IDC.
IDC recently surveyed 1,514 manufacturing companies, nearly half of which were in the U.S. The research found that manufacturers have multiple reasons for improving the online user experience including:
- Improve customer satisfaction: 43.6%
- Increase sales/revenue: 42.1%
- Improve customer attraction/retention: 30.9%
- Improve/maintain competitive advantage: 25.7%
- Expand into new markets/segments/geographies: 20.7%
- Increase after-sales product/service-related profits: 19.5%
But the IDC survey found there is a disparity in how manufacturers are delivering a better customer experience online.
“Today’s buyers, including B2B and B2C manufacturers, want to research, shop, and order on their own terms and time — something manufacturers today are not well suited to deliver,” the report says. “A key component to staying competitive for all manufacturers is going to be the customer experience.”
Customer expectations for digital experiences keep rising, with relevant and personalized content across all channels as the expectation, IDC says. But organizations often struggle with increasing content requirements, more channels and touch points to manage, and rapidly changing customer needs, which require a company to be agile, says IDC.
“Even though the industry realizes the importance and potential impact of digital customer journey and commerce transformation, there are many challenges that manufacturers face, not only in the initial adoption of technology but also in successfully deploying across the business,” the report says.
Top reasons manufacturers cite for not delivering a better user experience
- Teams/departments/business units have different priorities. Companies measure them differently (32%).
- Lack of talent/skills to improve customer experience (30%).
- Lack of infrastructure to support digital customer engagement (27%).
- No common view of customer experience/customer data is siloed or hard to access (22%).
- Lack of budget (22%).
- Unsure how technology can assist with customer experience (21%).
- Lack of executive sponsorship around customer experience initiatives (18%).
For many manufacturing companies, upgrading their ecommerce technology infrastructure and features is becoming more important because ecommerce is now their second largest sales channel, IDC says.
“As manufacturing revenue sources continue to diversify, with growing emphasis on ecommerce/partners/marketplaces, companies that can get closer to and directly manage the relationship with their customers (and customers’ customers) will be best suited to succeed,” the report says.
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