How Manufacturers and Distributors Can Cut Costs and Generate Revenue During COVID-19

May 7, 2020

Category: Best Practices

As manufacturers and distributors work to navigate these unprecedented times, Four51 has launched a series of posts covering three ways businesses can move forward successfully during the COVID-19 outbreak. During this series, we’ll focus on:

  • How to optimize your B2B eCommerce experience
  • How to generate revenue and cut costs
  • How Headless eCommerce can help you scale… and fast

Navigating location closures, a lack of face-to-face sales, and disrupted supply chains are just a few of the challenges manufacturers and distributors face today. And as we look ahead to tomorrow, there’s no certainty as to what the business landscape will look like.

It’s important, today, to review the way that your business is able to interact with customers and employees. Optimizing current online ordering channels if you have them, or moving ordering processes online has never been more important. Identifying ways to generate new revenues and cut unnecessary costs will help navigate your uncharted path ahead, as well. 

3 Ways to Quickly Cut Costs and Increase Revenue with B2B eCommerce

Enhance eCommerce Capabilities and Features to Engage B2B Buyers in New Ways:

The biggest way that a B2B business can increase revenue quickly is to enhance capabilities and features that B2B buyers are looking for during this time. 

  • Move your Product Catalog Online: One of our customers, a national floral retailer has seen a big increase in online sales since moving their entire product catalog online as opposed to the partial catalog that was available before. 
  • Build out Inventory Features: With so much uncertainty, inventory visibility is more important than ever. It will give customers peace of mind being able to see how much inventory of a certain product is left or when it will be back in stock. 
  • Launch Curbside Pick-Up: Whether you sell through retail locations, distribution centers, or have field sales staff out in the field, changing the way you get products to customers is vital. Launching features like curbside pick-up will ensure your customers can still get access to your products.

Improve Customer Relations:

With stress and uncertainty around, making sure your customers are taken care of is more important than ever. Finding ways to surprise and delight, respond quickly to concerns, and maintain a strong level of communication will go a long way right now. 

  • Install a Live Chat Service: If you haven’t already, integrate with a live chat service so customers can get in contact with you easily right on your eCommerce site. 
  • Make the Payment Process Easier: Many customers are currently worried about how the COVID-19 crisis is going to affect their finances. Give customers multiple options to pay such as credit cards, invoices, or terms. Consider an external credit management service like Apruve
  • Expand Delivery Options: As more people are working remotely, adding additional delivery options can set you apart from the competition. Are you able to offer expedited shipping, order pickup, or same-day delivery? 

Reduce Manual Order Errors:

One of the most well-known ways to quickly cut costs with eCommerce is through reducing order errors. 

  • eCommerce provides customers with a self-service way of ordering. Instead of calling into a call center, they’re able to place the orders online. 
  • Since modern eCommerce integrations seamlessly connect the supply chain, there’s no need for manual order entries into multiple systems saving both time and money. 
  • Call center staff can be repurposed to other roles like sales or account management. 

When it seems like the state of things are changing by the hour or the day, it can become overwhelming to focus on growing your business. Modern eCommerce allows B2B businesses to pivot fast when it comes to shifting business strategies and operations that can help to cut costs and generate revenue.