Today, Shift7 Digital, the modern digital agency for manufacturers, is revealing how manufacturers can maximize their digital presence to drive more meaningful touchpoints with customers. In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, U.S. e-commerce sales jumped 49 percent in April, compared to early March prior to the shelter-in-place orders. At the same time, more than 35.5 percent of manufacturers say they are facing supply chain disruptions, according to a study by The National Association of Manufacturers. Now, more than ever, manufacturers are being forced to be creative with workarounds to make their business run in the face of major supply chain disruptions.
“The last five weeks have been a microcosm of the last five months of transformation taking place within the manufacturing industry,” said Andrew Walker, CEO of Shift7 Digital. “While the onset of Covid-19 resulted in many consumers being paralyzed with fear, we’ve seen a definite shift in shoppers seeking out the brands they trust and engaging with them more directly. With that, manufacturers today, particularly in this environment, must readjust priorities and focus on becoming more visible online. This pandemic is creating a catalyst for change that in many ways, is long overdue for the manufacturing industry.”
Shift7 supports manufacturers like Lincoln Electric, Corning and USG, including adding nearly 40 manufacturing clients to its roster and growing its team by 36 percent in just the last year.
With the uncertainty and strain of today’s environment, it’s critical that manufacturers are making the most of their primary experience channel – their own website.
Here are seven ways to shift the digital focus so brands can survive and thrive in quarantine and beyond:
Frequent communication with internal and external stakeholders is always critical, but especially now. Launch a dynamic microsite to manage real-time communication with customers for timely access to your brand and business.
Brick and mortar distributors continue to be shut down around much of the country so meet your customers where they are: online. Ensure all of your products are on your website and syndicated to your resellers and distributors. Build a “task force” to ensure all products are visible and accessible to all customers. Solutions like Product Information Management (PIM) can assist greatly.
With cloud-based solutions, an MVP eCommerce website can be launched quickly to establish minimum capabilities to support eCommerce. This not only gives customers direct access to your products, but also helps to support revenue levels.
Your customers should be able to handle most of what they need themselves within your website. Make sure they can self-service their order status and enhance your customer portal with up-to-date order and shipping information that makes finding what they need as easy as possible.
When your sales team cannot be face-to-face with your customers, arm them with content and insights that will keep them selling seamlessly. This includes basic necessities like CRM capability, high-quality video conferencing, answers to FAQs, and more.
Don’t forget that your customers need access to parts and service information. Build a service portal with rich content and parts availability that allows them to get the information they need quickly without jumping through digital hoops.
Even experts don’t know how long it will take to get back to “normal” from this. Move funds for this year’s trade shows and events to digital marketing and advertising tactics in order to reach customers to which you no longer have in-person access.
Shift7 Digital collaborates with businesses to help educate them about the changing landscape, including analyzing their digital presence, integrating the brand experience across platforms and streamlining a company’s digital properties.
Shift7 Digital is revolutionizing the digital experience for manufacturers and their customers. Backed by a team of experts with deep industry insights, Shift7 truly understands the challenges and opportunities facing the B2B market today and delivers a customized, yet prescriptive process for partnering with companies as they evolve from a product-centric to a customer-centric approach. Shift7 is modernizing manufacturing to help businesses transform through digital marketing to drive connections, commerce and revenue.