Industrial brands were forced to shift gears quickly when the pandemic pushed B2B buyers from making purchases in-person to predominantly online. E-commerce accelerated during the pandemic, and industrial products were no exception. Beyond the pandemic, however, numerous trends in changing buyer preferences were already underway. According to Gartner research, B2B buyers spend only 17% of their time meeting with suppliers when considering a purchase. In contrast, buyers spend 27% researching suppliers online to help make their buying decisions. These findings indicate what has been steadily happening for years -- buyers want quick insights when researching industrial products. They want to make their final purchases in the most efficient way possible – online. Yet, industrial brands have been slower to embrace online marketplaces and other forms of e-commerce. These companies need to play catch up and undergo an e-commerce transformation to keep up with the evolving landscape of today’s buyers. To position themselves as a viable competitor, these companies need to be equipped with emerging technology solutions that will reduce time-consuming manual processes and increase profit margins.
Industrial product companies are adopting solutions that utilize comprehensive technology like artificial intelligence (AI), automation and machine learning (ML) to maintain or increase status as a top competitor in their industries while navigating complex e-commerce marketplaces. Technology applications stream productivity by improving efficiency and performance visibility to give team members the time to focus on high-priority tasks rather than daily manual processes. In addition, technologies are helping businesses access markets that were once difficult to reach, such as smaller buyers.
Companies can intelligently mine product information by utilizing AI technology while creating product content, employing performance data and empowering brands in the e-commerce market. Data mining also helps industrial product companies to compete with other e-commerce powerhouse markets, such as clothing and cosmetic companies. Now, these companies can meet their customers’ demands, preferences and even target buyers specifically. ML also allows companies to forecast what is happening within their marketplace, enabling faster scaling with more profits while avoiding unnecessary costs, accounting errors and bill backs.
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Here are some of the ways emerging technology platforms can digitally transform management and reduce unnecessary costs in the e-commerce ecosystem:
- Businesses receive immediate and ongoing insight into product performance data to determine opportunities in e-commerce marketplaces.
- AI data provides companies with real-time pricing intelligence, so they are positioned for optimal profit.
- Automation and data mining helps companies manage advertising spend by creating targeted ads and utilizing customized reporting to achieve better results.
- Data dashboard insights provides a look into online brand visibility so businesses can manipulate their inputs, decisions and evaluate their palpability in the market.
- Equips companies with forecasting capabilities to make inventory control more manageable. Additionally, a buyer’s past order history can be accessed through one portal, enhancing customer service.
- Establishes brand traceability to enhance cybersecurity, decreasing the risk of disruptions caused by a digital security breach.
Robust automation software will also streamline accounting processes and fully automate time-consuming manual tasks. Companies that take advantage of advanced accounting and auditing automation tools will be able to navigate the complex accounting processes on leading e-commerce marketplaces that may have otherwise held the company back. For example, an automated accounting system satisfies the need to conduct monthly auditing, identify incorrect shortage claims, and handle delayed or incorrect chargebacks and duplicate billings. These capabilities eliminate the possibility of human error and streamline tasks performed by accounting and auditing departments. It can also save industrial product companies hundreds of thousands of dollars in otherwise lost revenue on marketplaces.
Utilizing a comprehensive technology platform that addresses all significant aspects of the process, from product market focus to delivery of the product to the buyer, will drastically increase profit margins while reducing costs previously triggered by antiquated systems. Incorporating emerging technologies that deploy advanced technologies like AI is still a new concept in the industrial product industry. However, it also has the power to revolutionize the present and future of industrial brands.