How Can Manufacturers Understand Their Customers?

How Can Manufacturers Understand Their Customers?

How to Tap Into Your Customer Data

The pandemic accelerated the adoption of e-commerce by four to six years, and that means companies who put off their digital transformation are now behind the curve. For manufacturers, the most pressing of these projects is customer data management. 

Why? Because insufficient or flawed customer data is often at the root of negative commerce experiences and lost revenue.

This article will discuss how customer data affects your bottom line and the steps you can take to leverage it as an asset.

Why the Shift?

When it comes to data management, manufacturers have historically focused on products and supply chains, for obvious reasons. With well-established sales channels, the needs of their B2B buyers remained mostly predictable.

Now, B2B customer expectations are changing, and there’s a growing necessity to enter new sales channels. These trends have moved the needle on customer data management initiatives. 

What Do B2B Buyers Want?

Today’s B2B buyers have drastically different expectations based on their personal e-commerce experiences. These buyers want:

  • The ability to research without talking to a sales rep
  • Relevant product recommendations
  • Personalized browsing based on their history
  • A frictionless buying process

They have the leverage of a B2B purchaser with the mindset of a B2C consumer. And, they are no longer willing to settle.

Meeting their needs requires flawless customer data management. Customer data helps enterprises determine key customer identifiers, like office location, industry, demographics, department, title, loyalty bracket, buying/browsing history, etc. Manufacturers must adapt to this new generation of B2B buyers to thrive as digital commerce grows. 

Don’t Forget About B2C

In addition to meeting the evolving needs of B2B buyers, the online shift also opens new ways to get your products into the end-customers’ hands.

More consumers are looking to buy direct from manufacturers. According to one study, over 80% of U.S. consumers will buy from direct-to-consumer brands by 2023. For these customers, the purchasing experience is highly essential. 72% say they’ll look elsewhere if they don’t get consistent experiences across channels.

With customer data management, manufacturers can deliver on this new demographic’s expectations, opening up a much broader customer base.

Ask, and You Shall Receive

Focusing on customer data is a significant shift for manufacturers – but don’t get overwhelmed. 

Although buyers are conscious of data security, they’re often willing to provide a complete customer profile when there’s a clear benefit. Forbes notes that 60% of customers will share data in exchange for something they desire, such as a discount. When a survey request is transparent and straightforward, customers are often happy to comply. 

Through voluntary data collection, you can develop a well-rounded picture of your customer. But, as you’ll see below, there’s a catch.

Unlocking the Benefits of Customer Data

Gathering data isn’t enough. You must also be able to centralize, cleanse, and enrich your customer data to start reaping the benefits. Once you do, you’ll be able to:

• Stay Ahead of Customer Needs

What does a personalized buying experience really mean? Most buyers agree it’s the feeling that you know them and have anticipated their needs. When customers feel like the offers are relevant to their behaviour and preferences, it creates a greater sense of satisfaction. Additionally, customized suggestions for upsells, cross-sells, and targeted promotions drive more significant revenue opportunities.

• Reduce Risk

You can’t talk about customer data without mentioning privacy and compliance. When it comes to how businesses handle their customer data, regulatory bodies are stepping in to govern data collection and storage. Customer data management can help your company remain compliant with any current standards (like GDPR) and ensure secure logins, frictionless authentication across channels, and other security features. By keeping a tight rein on your customer data, you can avoid the hefty fines associated with non-compliance. Also, managing your customer data reduces the work necessary to reach compliance for evolving regulations, keeping your company agile for the future.

• Boost Loyalty (and Sales)

When customers know you understand them and that you’re trustworthy with their data, they can feel comfortable returning to make repeated purchases. For manufacturing companies who traditionally rely on loyalty from distributors and retailers, being able to foster loyalty online – for both B2B and B2C customers – is imperative. By creating loyal digital commerce buyers, manufacturing companies can thrive in a marketplace full of options.

Guiding You Through Your Customer Data Journey

When manufacturers commit to digital transformation and customer data management, they can quickly see the benefits through higher revenue, less risk, and enhanced customer loyalty. 

Pivotree has guided some of the biggest names in manufacturing through digital transformation projects. Our team of experts brings in-depth knowledge of the best data management products on the market – like SAP Customer Data Cloud, which helps enterprises establish customer loyalty through meaningful engagements across multiple channels and touchpoints.

Ready to start your journey? Let’s talk about how Pivotree can help you harness the power of your customer data.