Manufacturers: How to Profitably Serve Small Customers

Based on recent results experienced by our manufacturing clients, we’re pretty sold here at xTuple on the benefits of eCommerce for manufacturers. It's clear that customers and resellers are looking for new ways to interact with their key vendors. While it used to be that the ability to self-serve, manage information, reduce acquisition time and gather timely product information was a "nice-to-have" feature, this has now come to be expected.

The good news for manufacturers is that with tools such as xTupleCommerce — xTuple's affordable ERP software with real-time eCommerce integration  they can also significantly reduce their own internal overhead costs while satisfying the new expectations of their customers.

An additional and important benefit was made clear from a few different manufacturers during their process of launching xTupleCommerce. These manufacturers discovered eCommerce is a way to profitably service small customers who, in the past, might have been more trouble than they were worth.

While potentially plentiful, small orders, which are traditionally placed via telephone or fax, can take as much — if not more — time and overhead to process as much larger ones. As a result, small customers often have a break-even (or worse, a loss!) impact on your bottom line. The ability for small customers to self-educate and place orders themselves on a manufacturer's website dramatically decreases the cost of serving them.

Now instead of avoiding small customers, savvy manufacturers seek new ways to attract them, increasing market penetration and growing profits.

xTupleCommerce is having such a "customer intimacy" impact on manufacturers, that xTuple will present this very topic at two upcoming manufacturing-focused trade shows and conferences this Fall: the annual conference of the Tube & Pipe Association, Intl. (TPA), the technology affiliate of the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, Intl. (FMA) and FABTECH Expo, North America's Largest Metal Forming, Fabricating, Welding and Finishing event.

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