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E-commerce For Manufacturers - An Ultimate Guide

E-commerce For Manufacturers - An Ultimate Guide When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Between widespread supply chain issues and unstable market demand, manufacturers everywhere have faced their fair share of challenges lately.

But recent years have also ushered in a new series of industry trends, from smarter operating systems to the rise of e-commerce for manufacturers.

In 2022, B2B manufacturing e-commerce sales pulled in over $623 billion in the United States alone. Today we’ll take a closer look at why more manufacturers are taking their businesses online and explore how e-commerce could fit into your company’s overall sales strategy.

What Does E-commerce Look Like for Manufacturers?

A recent report by PwC Global highlighted the “pressing strategic need for many companies to adapt and transform business models. But what exactly does that mean? The truth is that manufacturer e-commerce strategies can vary widely, depending on what a company sells and to whom.

How Does E-commerce Work for Manufacturers?

Some industrial companies are embracing B2C or D2C e-commerce strategies as a means of cutting out traditional middlemen retailers. Rather than heading to their nearest hardware store, customers are now able to purchase anything from tools to building materials directly online.

For B2B companies, e-commerce for manufacturing often involves venturing into digital territories traditionally considered the realm of B2C entrepreneurs. No matter what form your e-commerce strategies may take, the goal is to provide customers with an easier, more efficient sales experience.

E-commerce For Manufacturers - An Ultimate Guide Featured Image Bottom Icon
When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Start with your audience and competitors
Factors to consider when creating an e-commerce store for manufacturers
Build a great website
Centralize your operation with a CRM

Why Are Manufacturers Expanding into E-commerce?

One of the biggest perks of e-commerce for manufacturers is the ability to create tailored, company-specific solutions. After all, direct-to-customer sales make more sense for some companies than others.

The right e-commerce platform for manufacturers can offer visitors a unique blend of online purchase options and product research guides. While each company has its own unique needs, the goal is to streamline the sales process by making it easier for customers to find and order the products they need.

Benefits of Manufacturers Having an E-commerce Site

To some extent, the rise of e-commerce manufacturing was born of necessity during the recent global pandemic. But the more manufacturers began exploring online marketplaces, the more benefits they discovered. Here are a few examples of top e-commerce manufacturing solutions:

  • Enhanced personalization throughout the sales process
  • Customizable solutions for creating a seamless buyer journey
  • Heightened brand awareness through online visibility
  • Data analytics for more informed decision-making
  • Automated pricing and quote capabilities
  • Seamless integration with promotional tactics such as social media marketing
  • Ease of enhancing third-party product options

How to Effectively Use E-commerce for Manufacturing

Before diving headfirst into manufacturing e-commerce, there are a few things your company will want to consider. Here are several helpful tips that can help you build a winning game plan.

1. Start with your audience and competitors

If you run an established manufacturing company, then the odds are that you already have a pretty good idea of the type of customers most likely to be interested in your products. Whether you tend to sell to consumers or companies, understanding your buyer personas will provide major clues to your audience's needs, expectations, and online shopping preferences.

Your competitors can also be a big help here. Conducting a thorough competitor analysis will reveal which other companies in your industry are already offering e-commerce solutions, as well as what is and isn't working for them.

2. Factors to Consider When Creating an E-commerce Store for Manufacturers

In many cases, e-commerce for manufacturers doesn't all come down to direct online sales offers. Take the John Deere tractor company, for instance. While the company may not deliver a massive piece of farming equipment right to your doorstep, John Deere’s ecommerce solutions allow customers to:

  • Browse a full catalog of equipment, vehicles, and parts
  • Build and customize their own products
  • Request quotes
  • Find local dealers and service providers
  • Explore financing options

Analyze your offerings and map out which do (and don’t) make sense to sell directly online. Then brainstorm other ways to use manufacturing e-commerce to enhance your customer experience.

3. Build a great website

No matter how many channels your marketing strategy includes, think of your website as a home base. One of the perks of e-commerce for manufacturers is that it offers the chance to transform your website into a hub of information about your company's unique solutions.

While a detailed sales catalog is a great place to start, don’t forget to make it as easy to navigate as possible. This is where features like search options, filters, and product recommendations can make things much easier for your visitors.

Your website is also an excellent place to feature content like videos, case studies, or even educational blogs. As you build out your content strategy, remember to use tactics like SEO to enhance your site’s visibility online.

4. Centralize your operation with a CRM

The right tools can go a long way toward streamlining your company’s journey into e-commerce for manufacturing. HubSpot’s forever-free CRM is a solid option that comes with tools for every department.

Your sales team will enjoy tools designed to help them track everything from pipelines and contacts to email open rates. HubSpot also offers free customer service tools like live chat and help desk software.

Whether you want to track the success of a PPC advertising campaign, automate lead nurturing, or gain data-based insights, HubSpot’s got you covered. It also has over 1,500 integrations that can help you centralize all your software solutions in one handy dashboard.


Choosing the Right E-commerce Platforms for Manufacturers

E-commerce for manufacturers comes in a variety of different shapes and sizes. Some companies choose to sell through online marketplaces like Amazon or specialty vendors like Equipment Share.

Others choose to create their e-commerce stores with B2B e-commerce platforms like Shopify or Adobe Commerce. When searching for the right platform for your business, keep in mind considerations such as:

  • Customization and integration options
  • Scalability
  • User support and ease of use
  • B2B/B2C friendliness
  • Customer personalization and account options
  • Payment processing options
  • Integration options with your current software


Ecommerce for manufacturers is an industry trend that doesn’t appear to be going away any time soon. Getting in on the ground floor can give your company a powerful competitive edge, all while offering your customers an easier, more convenient sales experience.

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