When designing your manufacturing website, selecting an e-commerce platform can save you a significant amount of time and money. Here are five reasons why we recommend that our manufacturing clients adopt e-commerce platforms for their websites.
It’s faster and easier to launch
One of the five questions that a website must answer is, what do you do? Manufacturing companies, of course, design and create physical products, so they need the ability to showcase their products.
The great news is that an e-commerce platform is designed to display, categorize and highlight products. Instead of building a custom website, using the built-in functions of an e-commerce platform greatly reduces time spent on design, development and testing. This means that you can launch your new website sooner, so it will cost less than a fully custom-developed website.
It can streamline the ordering process
One of the biggest advantages of using an e-commerce platform is that it gives you the ability to take orders from, and simplify the ordering process for, your wholesale clients and distributors. Instead of taking orders via phone, email, and/or fax, your wholesale and distribution clients can order and reorder directly from your website.
Also, many manufacturing companies do not sell retail to the public. This is not a problem with most e-commerce platforms because they give you the ability to display your products to everyone while limiting the ability to make purchases on your site to just your wholesale and distribution clients.
You don’t need a developer to update your products
With an e-commerce cart, an end user can easily add images, change categories, and update product descriptions and attributes.
For example, here is a screenshot of the product pages from BigCommerce, the e-commerce platform we recommend to our clients. As you can see, all of the fields are clearly labeled.
Source: Big Commerce
Even the interface for entering the product description looks and acts like your typical word processor.
Source: Big Commerce
It lowers the total cost of ownership
Not all e-commerce platforms are identical. While you can certainly use an e-commerce cart created using your company’s infrastructure, we believe that in most cases, it makes more sense, financially, to use a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution like Big Commerce. This will allow you to outsource not only the hardware, but also the high cost of hiring the technical staff needed to support and take care of the hardware.
Furthermore, SaaS solutions usually eliminate traditional IT concerns, including:
- High availability (e.g. Colocation)
- Performance (e.g. Content Delivery Network)
- Software upgrades
- Server patches
- Regulatory compliance (e.g. PCI and GDPR)
As of this writing, the monthly fee for BigCommerce starts at $29.95 per month
It provides flexibility in choosing support partners
Ideally, you choose a great web agency to partner with, and they not only deliver on their promises, but they are also great to work with. However, this is not always the case, and sometimes there are disadvantages on one side or the other.
If you go down the custom development path, the switching costs of finding a new vendor who is willing to support code written by another company will be a difficult and painful process. On the other hand, if you use a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) software package like BigCommerce, you are bound to a single vendor because there are so many other highly-qualified web agencies that are proficient in BigCommerce or other COTS packages.
Redesigning your company website is no small task. Fortunately, there are guides that can help you accelerate the process, and by choosing the right technology, you can not only lower project risk, but also lower the total cost of ownership of your number one marketing tool: your website.