Why a standard e-Commerce solution will make your parts problem worse

26 October 2022

As a manufacturer, you want your e-commerce journey to be enjoyable, so customers will continue to buy parts online, freeing up your team to focus on the business and not taking parts enquiries over the phone. 

A positive online experience can be challenging to achieve, especially if you have a generic e-commerce platform. Poor user experience is the most common reason why customers leave and never return to your site. So, how can you avoid this fate? 

In this article, we’ll share why manufacturers need an integrated parts ordering platform instead of a generic one-size-fits-all B2B e-commerce platform.

As consumers, we all like to be able to purchase goods online. B2B and B2B2C vendors that offer a similar experience for businesses are opening up new revenue routes for themselves whilst remaining competitive. Afterall, an online ordering platform can open the doors to many global parts ordering opportunities.  Choosing an e-commerce system is difficult, however, selecting the wrong one can be worse than not offering an online ordering system in the first place. Here’s how to avoid those costly mistakes. 

1. Choose an e-commerce solution with parts identification capability

The #1 customer problem in aftersales is still focusing on correct parts identification. The common problem statement we always hear is, “We want to make it easier for our customers to order the correct parts from us.”

In the summer of 2021, we asked our 30 prospective customers what they had planned to do about their parts ordering challenges. Most customers considered purchasing a B2B e-commerce system to help them build a bespoke parts webshop. One company invested a significant portion of its annual marketing budget into this online ordering experience. The result? Millions of pounds of incorrect orders and irreparable damage to the customer’s relationship with the brand.

A generic e-commerce solution will not solve the issue of parts identification. These e-commerce platforms do not understand parts catalogue systems and complex engineering machinery. For example, while many parts look the same on a web browser, how can you identify the exact one you need if you don’t have a part reference number? 

 2. 3D can make a fantastic customer experience 

Imagine you’re trying to fix a tractor, and you find a broken screw. You go to the manufacturer’s website and see a flat screen of thousands of different screws. Many of the screws look the same, and it’s impossible to identify the correct one. You either order one that you hope is correct, or you give up and try to contact customer service. Either way, you feel frustrated because your tractor is out of service for longer. 

However, imagine if things could be better. What if manufacturers were to offer an e-commerce platform that presents a 3D model (or virtual twin) of the tractor? What if a customer could blow up and rotate the 3D model to find the exact screw they are looking for, add it to the basket, and check out? They would feel comfortable and reassured knowing they ordered the correct part in a fraction of the time. 

The emergence of digital twinning has changed the industry for the better. Customers can now view parts in 3D on a smartphone or tablet computer, match them to the right product in real-time, and be sure it’s the right component. So, instead of feeling frustrated and defeated, they now feel confident and happy. 

 3. Integrating solutions for e-commerce

While standard e-commerce solutions are not ideal for parts manufacturers, we don't suggest that they abandon their current webshops and start from scratch. E-commerce platforms are expensive, to begin with, and our goal is to make your life easier. 

With SamsonVT, manufacturers can complement these very sophisticated and competent pieces of software. Our software can be built as a complete standalone e-commerce solution OR as a modular parts system that integrates with existing systems.

SamsonVT’s Partful makes ordering parts seamless with an easy-to-understand 3D model of the product. Partful can be integrated into e-commerce platforms, helping manufacturers create a new revenue stream and access the lucrative online aftersales market. 

Partful can benefit your current parts ordering process:
  • Allows customers to view the complete product and isolate individual parts.
  • It helps customers learn everything about a specific part – its name, purpose, specifications, product number, and more.
  • Customers can order parts when they need them in real-time.
  • Customers can view a history of the previous part information.
  • Manufacturers no longer need to update product catalogues.
  • Customers, engineers, and dealer networks have access to the most current parts information. By onboarding your existing .STEP CAD files, and creating BOMs that automate the process of parts identification using 3D exploding technology, SamsonVT ensures that even untrained consumers can order the correct part from a complex piece of machinery.
A frustrating customer experience does more than net your brand a poor review; it impacts your bottom line. 61% of customers say they would switch to a new brand after just one bad online experience. With Partful, customer satisfaction is enhanced. 

Digital twinning supports manufacturers and impacts customers in many different ways. Digital twinning supports a streamlined and efficient ordering process. This technology also reduces the likelihood of incorrect parts identification, which saves time for both the manufacturer and the customer, saves money on returns, and vastly improves customer service and loyalty. Customers can now feel confident and happy they are ordering the part they need the first time, reducing their machinery downtime.

Not every e-commerce platform is equal, and the wrong online purchase journey can make a potential customer run for the hills and cost manufacturers thousands in incorrect orders.

When dealing with complex machinery with thousands of parts, OEMs need a robust, integrated e-commerce solution that allows customers to identify parts correctly, using 3D is the leading way to achieve this. 

Ready to upgrade your e-commerce system? Learn more about us and book a discovery call.
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