Should manufacturing companies invest in digital commerce?

The development of digital commerce within the manufacturing industry has significantly accelerated in recent years. What began as a tool to improve efficiency has now become a crucial part of many companies' business strategies. But what does digital commerce actually mean? It involves digital product information, online catalogs, sales, self-service for customers and resellers, as well as strengthening the brand both locally and globally. E-commerce is no longer just a place for transactions but an entire strategy for engaging customers, increasing sales, and growing.

In this year's Litium report "Nordic Digital Commerce in B2B," we have dedicated an entire chapter to the manufacturing industry. There you can find insights, such as that 23% of the total sales for manufacturing companies in 2024 will come from digital channels. What do you think - is that a lot or a little? We leave it to you, the reader, to reflect on that.

Arguments for and against digital commerce

There are many reasons to invest in digital commerce. For many companies, digital sales channels have become necessary to meet changing customer expectations and create new revenue streams. By investing in digital technology, companies can automate order processes, manage inventory in real-time, and provide personalized product recommendations – all to improve the customer experience. Additionally, digital channels open up opportunities for new business models such as direct-to-consumer sales, subscription services, and digital marketplaces.

Companies that excel in digital commerce can truly stand out by offering unique digital experiences and 24/7 support. Digital commerce makes the buying journey smoother and provides customers with valuable information and support throughout the process, from research to purchase and post-sale. Data from digital platforms also helps companies quickly adapt to market changes and customer needs, strengthening their competitiveness.

However, there are also those who are hesitant. For some companies, human contact and relationships are crucial, especially when it comes to complex and specialized products. This traditional view of sales makes some companies cautious about using digital platforms for their larger product sales and instead facilitates them to support spare parts sales, service, and support. The report "Nordic Digital Commerce in B2B" shows that business customers want a combination of personal dialogue with a salesperson and self-service in digital channels.

Conclusions and recommendations

So, should one invest in digital commerce or not? It depends on the company's situation and strategy. Digital commerce can provide new opportunities for growth, internationalization, and better customer service. But it also requires awareness of the challenges and investments needed and how digital commerce can fit into the current business model. Not investing in digital commerce can mean missing out on important growth opportunities and falling behind competitors. To succeed, a clear strategy, strong leadership, and a willingness to adapt to changes are required.

Litium offers a platform for digital commerce that helps industrial companies increase their sales and improve the customer experience. With Litium, companies can easily and flexibly set up their e-commerce or create a customer portal, integrated with your ERP, that offers service and support around the clock, enhancing the customer experience even when staff is not available.

Litium PIM (Product Information Management) ensures that all product information is consistent regardless of the channel, improving both internal efficiency and customer experience. In summary, Litium helps companies differentiate themselves from competitors, make data-driven decisions, and effectively manage product information to increase sales and meet customer needs.

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