I write this blog in the middle of uncertain times surrounding coronavirus, but the following ideas for manufacturing companies to sell online are really quite relevant regardless of the environment.
Many of our customers are seeing exponential revenue bumps online simply because they sell products that are in such high-demand during a pandemic – like medical supplies, food and beverage, or nutritional supplements. Some manufacturing companies will also be experiencing that bump, particularly if their products feed these booming industries. Some companies we work with are looking to get more from their ecommerce sales during this bump resulting from the pandemic, while others are just looking to move more sales online anyway and are using the pandemic as a reason to accelerate this transition.
The Changing B2B Landscape
Pandemic or not, B2B manufacturing sales looks dramatically different than it did 10 or even 5 years ago. Up until very recently, B2B manufacturing sales reps sold almost exclusively using a relationship based sale. Sales reps would dial their rolodexes to find their next or previous customers. Once connected with them, they’d wine and dine clients and prospects to strengthen rapport. To be frank, many buyers wouldn’t purchase from a vendor unless they were wined and dined! Fast forward to current times, buyer personas look very different now. Younger B2B buyers often do a lot of independent research on a product and supplier before ever picking up the phone, and they will usually reject calls from sales reps. But this research phase is where you can gain a huge advantage.
Let’s be honest, many manufactured products aren’t necessarily unique (at least when you search for them) and there is a ton of competition out there. Plain and simple – when your buyers start shopping for that product online, if you sell it but aren’t discoverable, you won’t get the deal. The exciting news is that there are instant ways to make your products easily discoverable to potential buyers. You don’t have to guess about complicated SEO algorithms, and you don’t have to wait months to show up in search results. In this article we’re going to talk about Google Shopping specifically for B2B Manufacturers. By leveraging Google Shopping, you instantly became relevant and discoverable during a prospects research. Before I forget, you can read our other post ‘What is Google Shopping and Why Your Nutritional Health Company Should Be Using it Right Now’ for tips on implementing Google Shopping (these are geared toward another industry but are still absolutely relevant!).
There is something really exciting for B2B manufacturing. Many companies in the manufacturing space have a unique advantage that other industries don’t see – its product uniqueness.
Let me demonstrate it from the buyer side. When you shop online for a product, sometimes you know the one very specific product you must buy. Other times, you are flexible and open to options. If you are buying a knob for your fire pit, you need that very specific part. If you are buying a cover for your fire pit, you are probably open to multiple brand and style options. Google shopping would help you find a short list of fire pit covers and also help you find the specific fire pit knob, as long as the manufacturer has listed it on Google Shopping.
Getting back to the manufacturing side of this, companies that sell specific parts have a chance to rapidly grow by capturing the product-specific shopping searches. One company we are working with had tremendous growth once we all realized this. Previously, they were indexing their catalog based on part names. They did Google keyword campaigns around part and brand names. But when we dug in, we discovered that buyers are almost always searching by a very specific part or serial number such as KXN-6789-002. So, by embracing Google Shopping and uploading their entire catalog of 270,000 parts and setting their search campaigns to be around part number (or serial number), they instantly began to own the search results and win new customers. This client went from 80% to 700% ROI in one month—that’s the power of Google Shopping when done right.
A Strong Footing
Now all of that said, you still need to build a strong ecommerce foundation, remarket to your leads, have a website that converts, and be willing to invest in marketing. We talk more about those topics in this blog post.
P.S. Google Shopping has recently changed from a paid listing model to being free with a paid enhancement option free to list, so you might want to act fast before your vertical starts to catch on! Reach out if you want to chat more about this!