The Challenges of eCommerce in Manufacturing and how to Overcome them

17 Aug 2022
Mike Patel
Mike Patel
The Challenges of eCommerce in Manufacturing and how to Overcome them

B2B eCommerce is booming and seemingly bringing new waves of excited investors and business leaders with every new day. According to Statista and their model, B2B eCommerce sales in the United States will reach 1.8 trillion U.S. dollars in 2023. And yet, while that growth is certainly thrilling, not every manufacturing business is thriving in the eCommerce world.

One could say that is due to numerous factors. However, from our perspective, it’s likely due to the challenges that new and veteran eCommerce explorers must face on a regular basis. These challenges collectively pull back the growth of eCommerce and further deter new people from embracing it.

The Challenges of eCommerce in Manufacturing

  • Create an engaging eCommerce experience for customers
  • Pricing products correctly for an online audience
  • Importance of customer service
  • Importance of good logistics and order fulfillment
  • Managing inventory and sales data – online and offline
  • Need for a strong online presence to reach buyers

    B2B Relationships

You are undoubtedly aware of how important it is to develop relationships in business. So instead of dragging you through all of that, we will focus on something else— how building relationships in B2B eCommerce is different from what you know.

You’re most likely familiar with the average B2C relationship, however,

The Challenge 

Well, unfortunately, that knowledge will do you little good because B2B eCommerce relationships are in a world of their own for three reasons, and we’ll talk about each one below.

  • B2B relationships are built to last, as in business customers mean to build and maintain relationships with you from the very start—relationships will often span years and years. That is very unlike B2C relationships, which typically begin and end with a single transaction.
  • B2B buyers fit a particular niche, meaning that B2B sales representatives may only work with B2B buyers in a specific industry located in a specific city. Now, on the other side of the road, B2C representatives will market to the largest audience they can manage, which could be the entire country or even beyond. 
  • B2B relationships often require constant and consistent communication with your management team, sales teams and even executives. Actually, to that point, CEOs of the businesses will often form relationships to strengthen the bond further. Simply put, the average client in the B2B eCommerce world will purchase your attention in addition to the product.

Those three reasons are enough to tip the scales and make developing relationships in B2B eCommerce more than the slightest bit tricky. But here’s how you can overcome the challenge.

The Solution 

There are three things that you must do to ensure that you can overcome the challenges and build the relationships that you want.

Now, as we mentioned, buyers fit a particular niche in this world. And going in blind with guns blazing won’t yield the results you’re looking to find. So step one? Do your research and make sure that you understand your ideal buyer at the end of the day.

Step two, lean into their desire to have a long-term relationship and their demand to have your attention as a business partner. And ensure that throughout every stage of your relationship, you actively plan a long-term future that will provide you both with the results you need.

Step three, maintain your relationship with a win-win mentality.

    Siloed Data

Siloed data is a problem that eventually makes its way into every B2B eCommerce sphere. And at its fundamental level, siloed data is a collection of data that is kept by a single group, which is not easily accessible by other groups or people.

The Challenge

At first, siloed data seems like a harmless little problem. One that, if you want to, you can fix on your own time—with no need to rush. Unfortunately, siloed data can infect a business to the point that it slowly brings it to its knees.


  • When siloed, relevant data is kept on lockdown. And in a business world where data is crucial for every position in an organization, that’s a massive problem.
  • You cannot rely on old siloed data. All data needs to be up to date. For example, if you’re determining whether a brand new change to your website is aiding its performance and using old data, you could end up at the wrong conclusion—wasting your time and money.
  • Siloed data does not encourage collaboration. When half of a data-driven organization is cut off and deprived of critical data, they cannot collaborate with other departments and produce results.

The Solution

With the looming danger of siloed data clear, you need to know how to break them down and ensure a smooth flow of data to your departments. And this is how you do that…

Step one, switch up your management. Not to through anyone under the bus, but if siloed data can spring from poor management, good management can solve it. So look into bringing in new help.

Step two, develop a plan to centralize your data.

Step three, prevent data from being siloed in the future by integrating your data.

    Flexible Payment Options

If you want to be a successful B2B eCommerce company, you need to offer your customers choices. That means that you can’t offer them simply one or two things, here and there—that won’t work. What you need to do is offer them flexibility, especially in terms of payment.

The Challenge

Sadly, many B2B eCommerce companies never got that memo. And as a result, they aren’t keeping up with the trends in payment technology, and they’re at risk of falling behind their competitors in the long run.

Now, fortunately, if you’re one of those companies with the missing memo, you can recover. Here’s how to do it.

The Solution

Ensure that you have a wide assortment of payment options to tailor to any business or customer. The exact options you have may differ depending on your products or services, but you can count yourself as pretty safe if you stick with these.

  1. Traditional trade credit.
  2. Purchase order.
  3. Paper checks.
  4. Cash on delivery.
  5. Credit card.
  6. Mobile wallets.
  7. ACH.
  8. Instant credit.

    Shipping Constraints

Shipping is essential for any B2B eCommerce platform. And, of course, as with all essential things, it’s a massive pain to deal with. It’s tough between high shipping costs, slow speeds, and shipping location limitations.

But if you don’t solve them, you’re essentially handicapping your business and failing to improve.

The Solution

As for shipping costs, there are a few good tactics that you can use to keep prices as low as possible and, hopefully, remain well within your budget. 

  •     Comparing pricing from different carriers
  •     Do bulk shipping
  •     Pack items in boxes with the smallest dimensions possible
  •     Use the packaging provided by the carrier
  •     Pre-pay
  •     Ask about association discounts
  •     Factoring shipping fees into product pricing

 For slow speeds, you can do a few things.

  •     Streamline your delivery process
  •     Use eCommerce automation tools
  •     Get route optimization software
  •     Use dropshipping

 If you’re worried about encountering shipping location limitations, you can establish your products in different warehouses to ensure you can avoid the hefty cost of shipping to faraway places.

    Price Transparency in Shipping Strategy

Pricing is a massive part of any business strategy. In order to have a successful business, your pricing needs to be high enough to account for shipping and create profit. However, still, be low enough to compete with competitors.

The Challenge

You may have found your pricing sweet spot, but inflammation, competitor pricing, supply chain issues or the big one, shipping costs can all push out of it and force you to make changes. And how you go about making those pricing changes is critical.

Doing it wrong can lead to losing sales, such as trying to spin it in some clever way. Studies have shown that that tactic never works—even for larger companies.

The Solution

So what you need to do instead is be straightforward.

In fact, it’s fully supported by research that you must, in order to avoid damaging the relationship you worked so hard to create. So instead of donning your sales associate tie, be honest and present price changes in an informative and authentic tone.

    The Complexity of B2B Products

In a world where most things, if not everything, come simply, something like a complex B2B product can cause a problem or two. And even if that problem is just confusion on the customer’s end, it’s still likely to drive them away—costing you a sale and the possibility of a new relationship.

How do you solve your complex issue?

The Solution

You need to simplify. And keep simplifying until you are left with a product that is no longer complex or confusing—fully streamlined.

You can do that in multiple ways. Here are some of them.

  •     Create analogies to explain complex ideas
  •     Address your customer’s problem first. Don’t just jump to your solution.
  •     Use your customers’ language.

We hope that you get the chance to give these solutions a shot very soon! Connect with a B2B eCommerce specialist at ioVista to start or streamline your B2B eCommerce journey. 

Mike Patel
Mike Patel linkedin

Mike Patel is the Founder and CEO of ioVista, a leading digital commerce agency specializing in eCommerce solutions. With a strong background in business and technology, Mike Patel has been at the forefront of driving digital transformations for businesses. He has successfully navigated the ever-changing landscape of eCommerce, helping companies leverage the power of online platforms to grow their brand, increase revenues, and optimize their digital presence. Under his leadership, ioVista has become a trusted partner with major technology companies: Adobe/Magento, Google, BigCommerce, Shopify, and Yahoo. He is dedicated to staying ahead of industry trends, adopting cutting-edge technologies, and continuously improving strategies to provide clients with a competitive edge. Mike’s commitment to excellence and client satisfaction is evident in every project ioVista undertakes.

Get in Touch

    Start Your Free Website & Platform Assessment.

    Get in touch with us if you have a web development or digital marketing project that you would like to get underway!

    Platform Assessment