Revered technology strategist Benedict Evans recently published a report on the impact of COVID-19 on software and ecommerce. He quotes Lenin, “There are decades where nothing happens, and there are weeks where decades happen.” In the case of the last few months, Evans cites three trends happening all around us now:
- Acceleration, where existing trends pull forward.
- Forced Experiment, where everything is forced online and we see what works.
- Market Reset, where habits are broken and the market is reset.
We believe businesses that have intermediaries (brick and mortar stores, distributors, dealer networks, etc) in between them and their end customers are they themselves isolated and quarantined, in a sense, these days. Many B2B businesses, like manufacturers, worry about upsetting their dealers, distributors or service centers by wanting to create ways to get closer to the end customer.
Providing end customers permissions-based, real-time product information + specifications; product updates + new feature releases; warranty information and other proprietary pieces of information that the end customer may need to make a purchase decision accelerate sales and improves customer experiences.
Manufacturers can benefit fom a MTO (Make-to-Order) strategy over a MTS (Make-to-Stock) strategy, aligning manufacturing and warehousing costs more directly with orders. According to Marketwatch, “The global Make to Order (MTO) Manufacturing ERP Software Systems market is anticipated to rise at a considerable rate during the forecast period, between 2020 and 2026. In 2020, the market was growing at a steady rate and with the rising adoption of strategies by key players, the market is expected to rise over the projected horizon.”
Manufacturers and producers of goods and services that have dealer or distributor networks, can offer software tools and services to these partners to accelerate sales and provide deeper insights to customers making purchasing decisions — without alienating those dealers. Supplier “Digital Portals” or “Made-to-Order” software tools, optimized for any field web-enabled desktop, smartphone or tablet device, reduce sales friction and the time consuming back and forth of emails, product information PDFs, and mistakes in pricing and configuration of complex products. This makes dealers happy. The unified, dynamic ordering systems housed within Envalo’s Configure to Order App can ensure that dealers, suppliers, and customer-facing personnel have a tool that has the latest information on the products, pricing, stock levels, fulfillments and even complex parts information and configuration tools. This also provides the manufacturer with a deeper data set of knowledge about what real customers in the field are looking for. When manufacturers’ software partners and internal teams develop and deploy tools like Envalo’s Configure to Order App for their dealer networks, it helps dealers close deals faster, making them happy, improving their cash flows, and giving the manufacturer greater insight to and connection with their customers.