7 tips to tackle the electronics supply chain with e-commerce
Electronics industry challenges
No one’s denying that developments in technology are fantastic for business. Who doesn’t want higher demand for their products, after all? On the other hand, increasing demand brings with it a number of obstacles that affect every part of the supply chain — from parts and product manufacturers to suppliers and retailers.
- How do you manage an increasingly complex electronics product assortment?
- What’s the best way to keep up with product-related trends and a continuously evolving product assortment and lifecycle?
- Is there a more efficient way to optimize inventory management and increase accessibility and transparency for customers?
We’re pulling together a decade of experience in supporting businesses across the supply chain to answer these questions for you.
How can I better manage a complex product assortment?
Tip 1: Leverage the logic you already have in your ERP.
Choosing software that integrates directly with your ERP (e.g. SAP, Microsoft Dynamics) allows you to get even more out of the logic and data you already have. It also means there’s no need to duplicate it or synchronize information in your web store environment, for example. Not only does this keep your product information consistent, it means that any changes you make in your ERP are updated in your web store in real-time.
There are a wide range of options to look at when it comes to moving away from siloed software solutions toward integrated business systems. You might also consider integrating your PIM system with your web store and ERP. For more information on this topic, check out our article When Should You Enrich Your ERP With a PIM System.
Tip 2: Display related products in your web store.
This may seem simple, but displaying related products drastically streamlines the shopping process for your customers. Will someone who buys a specific motherboard usually need a particular tool or part to go with it? You can set up the relationship in your ERP and make sure it’s easy for your customer to find (and order) what they need.
Tip 3: Make it easier for your customers with personalized catalogs.
Not all of your customers will need to access your full range of products. Especially if you’re a manufacturer or supplier, it’s smart to set up personalized catalogs for different clientele. By limiting their options, you make it easier for your customer to hone in on what they’re looking for. This also makes it easier for your sales team to offer relevant product assortments to clients.
Read more on this topic in our article: How to Manage Your B2B Product Catalog Better
How do I keep up with product-related trends and a continuously evolving product assortment and life cycle?
Tip 4: Take a data-driven approach to purchasing decisions.
Using Google Analytics is a great way to monitor the success of your products and predict upcoming trends so you can better adapt to consumer demand. Sign up for our free e-commerce course to gain access to a unique guide on using Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager.
Of course, Google Analytics isn’t the only way to take a data-driven approach to your purchasing decisions. It’s important to take a close look at your current purchasing process. What are you basing your decisions on? Do you have all the insights you need to make good decisions? If you’re not already having this conversation with your purchasing department, bring up these important questions! Then go to your e-commerce provider to find out how they can help you get the information you need.
Tip 5: Support your customers and employees with true real-time information.
Providing true real-time information in your web store is one of the best ways you (and your customers) can keep up with a fluctuating product assortment.
When you have a constant stream of products coming and going (and changing), it’s a challenge to keep up with everything in one system. Let alone in multiple systems. We already suggested that you integrate your ERP with your web store in order to better manage a complex product assortment. This solution will also help you keep your online catalog up to date in real-time.
When your web store is integrated with your ERP, you can count on your stock levels, pricing, and product information to be updated in your web store the moment you make any changes in your ERP.
How do I increase accessibility and transparency for my customers?
Tip 6: Give your customers and buyers more time with full 24/7 online accessibility.
If you’re not online yet, you should be. Whatever’s holding you back is likely not worth the sales and communication you’re missing out because you don’t have people available to take calls and orders around the clock. We really can’t stress this point enough: you need to be where your customers are, and your customers are online.
Tip 7: Offer buyers the option to place repeat orders based on a template.
Letting your return customers create order templates based on past purchases is a big win for accessibility. It also gives you more insight into future orders so you can ensure you always have the right items in stock for your return customers.
The ultimate tip: Don’t wait to take control…
These are just a few of the insights we’ve collected from our customers in electronics manufacturing, wholesale, distribution, and retail over the last decade.
We have a lot more advice and a number of assessments, and we’ve made it all available in our free guide, Supply Chain & E-Commerce: The Essentials Guide for Manufacturers, Distributors, and Wholesalers.