Intershop partnered up with Copperberg to conduct an extensive survey and evaluate how mature (or not) the industrial sector is when it comes to digital innovation. But while analyzing the results, we found there are some facts about digital leaders that cannot be ignored. How many of these are true for your organization?

Author Thomas Igou | Copperberg

1. After-sales is ESSENTIAL

92% of digital leaders say that after-sales is essential for the profitability of their company. That’s a crucial number to highlight because the survey also found that 72% of respondents’ digital objectives is to increase sales to their installed base. The only other objective that was more important? Boosting customer satisfaction (76%). We all know already that acquiring new customers is more expensive than trying to keep existing ones, so digitizing processes to simplify the customer experience and interaction – and facilitate upsell and cross-sell to the installed base – is the current battlefield for manufacturing leaders.

2. Digital is in their DNA

63% of digital leaders have a clear strategy for digital after-sales, as opposed to 31% for total respondents. 54% of leaders aim to maintain and expand leadership position when it comes to digital ambition (as opposed to 33% from total respondents). What sets apart leaders from laggards? A clear and ambitious strategy. What we’ve seen at Copperberg over the years within our community, is that more and more manufacturers have empowered Chief Digital Officers with the budget to invest in people and technology and a seat at the management level. Don’t be afraid to hire CDO’s from outside your sector, who will have more experience from digital than from your market. That’s when true change will happen.

3. Digital Self-Services is a no-brainer

Digital leaders are much more advanced when it comes to offering digital self-services to their customers. Two thirds offer the (re-) ordering of parts and tracking of the order status/shipment as a self-service, a huge increase of 30% and 20%, respectively, when compared to all respondents. These simplified processes end up generating more revenue for manufacturers, without human interaction needed, enabling sales reps to focus on other value-added services rather than repetitive low-hanging fruits.

4. They will invest in Business Intelligence

Whereas Business Intelligence (BI) was one of the least cited technology in which manufacturers will invest in the next 12 months to achieve digital objectives among all respondents, it came first (with 58%) among digital leaders. Not surprising, as the more mature manufacturers become digitally, the more necessary data becomes. And for traditional manufacturers who have grown over the years via mergers and acquisitions, retrieving and analyzing data from across the company can be a real challenge. This also explains why the integration of systems in digital commerce infrastructure is rated as the single main internal challenge in a company’s digital transformation journey (50%).

5. Smart Services as a stepping stone for servitization

Digital leaders have understood the importance of smart services. 33% of them offer smart services such as automatic reordering and/or servicing based on the status information of machines. This is the starting block of a servitization program, in order to create value added service offerings via customer portals. This is also why sensors/remote diagnostic is rated as second in terms of technologies that manufacturers are planning to invest in within the next 12 months to achieve their digital objectives. Without connected products, there can be no smart services.

6. Prices are personalized for each customer

One of the big fears for manufacturers of having an online presence via a webshop is the transparency it creates for product prices. Especially since market based pricing is the second most popular pricing strategy today, after value based pricing according to a soon-to-be-released Pricing Survey Report that Copperberg conducted. So, is it impossible to set different prices for the same products/services depending on markets, if prices are visible for all customers and prospects online? It doesn’t need to be. For 50% of digital leaders, prices are personalized to each customer. This is made possible by gating the webshop behind a login screen and thus offering the same products or services to different customers at different prices, based on any factor a manufacturer chooses.

Now, look at those six facts again, and how many apply to your organization? Not enough?

Then make sure to download the full survey report on the status of digital innovation within manufacturing and get a head start.

Article published by Intershop

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