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GenAlpha’s Kris Harrington on the Value of a D2C Channel for B2B ManufacturersWhile there are many similarities to B2C ecommerce, B2B ecommerce strategy has some major differences and nowhere is that more apparent than in manufacturing. From the purpose and functionality of the ecommerce platform to the number of people involved in a purchase, the ecommerce experience for B2B manufacturing is evolving on its own trajectory. In this podcast, Kris Harrington, co-founder of GenAlpha, which provides solutions for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to accelerate their profits online, sits down with Digital River’s Natalie Wires to talk about ecommerce strategy for manufacturers who likely never saw the need for an online store. Manufacturer ecommerce strategy Ecommerce strategy for a manufacturing brand should start with an understanding that customers aren’t necessarily on the platform to browse products the way B2C customers typically are. Manufacturing customers often know exactly what they need. They just want to find their product quickly and easily. “They need to know that they're getting the right thing,” says Harrington in her discussion of manufacturer ecommerce strategy at 7:30. “All the other aspects of an ecommerce site become secondary, but you’ve got to get that confirmation first, that they're ordering the right component.” Ecommerce of manufacturers One difference between B2B and B2C ecommerce is in the number of people involved in a purchase. In the B2B space, several people could be part of making a purchase, from the buyer to the finance team to the shipping department. That’s why access to invoices is so important in the B2B space, so multiple people can get information about an order. “Having access to all of that information is a lot different than me ordering a pair of shoes,” says Harrington in her discussion of the B2B buyer experience at 16:19. B2B ecommerce strategy for manufacturers Manufacturing is an industry that’s traditionally relied on relationships for the sales process, which is a model that Baby Boomers and Gen Xers are typically comfortable with. As millennials and Gen Z start to take on more purchasing decisions, manufacturers need to have a digital strategy that caters to the expectations of those newer buyers. “That group that's coming up behind there, they're going to be looking for information online,” says Harrington in her discussion of B2B ecommerce strategy. “They are ready to use technology at every moment.”
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