Going Global: 3 Web Strategies for Manufacturers to Stay Ahead of Competition

Jeff Pratt, Commerce Practice Director

Over the last decade, manufacturing has continued the trend towards globalization across many sectors and industries. Benefits to this globalization are realized in making it easier for manufacturers to access innovative technologies, execute on new ideas, and reach international customer bases they never had access to.

But globalization isn’t simple. Achieving the flexibility and agility required to successfully take your manufacturing business global is easier said than done.

More and more, competing on a global scale means embracing digital trends to satisfy evolving customer demands. With the right web strategies, you can overcome some of the challenges of globalization and stay ahead of your competition.

Basic Challenges of Manufacturing Globalization

Globalization would be difficult enough without any external forces at play but the reality is that most all businesses face significant challenges in their attempt to compete on a global level.

According to a McKinsey study of the manufacturing industry, “companies face more complex unknowns than ever before, making flexibility and resilience critical. With the cost and the risks of global operations shifting, companies need to decide where to compete along the value chain, consider new service offerings, and reassess their geographic footprint.”

Standing in the way of meeting these objectives are three key demands:

  • Speed to Market: Your ability to quickly deliver to customers is critical for staying ahead of competitors. Marketing, distribution, and sales excellence aren’t enough. Globalizing production, improving supply chain delivery and customer experience are also essential.
  • Changes in Geography: Demand for manufactured goods in emerging countries has grown by 50% over the last decade. Being able to engage these consumer markets is critical. But that isn’t easy considering the state of the global economy.
  • Competing Interests: Proving to new global markets that your brand can be trusted isn’t easy. There has been backlash against manufacturing globalization. Manufacturers have to strike a balance between local and global interests.

Digital trends play an important role in addressing your globalization challenges. When you capitalize on the latest web experience strategies, you’ll set yourself up to stay ahead of global competitors and reduce risk as you enter new markets.

3 Web Strategies for Global Manufacturers

One of the hardest parts about globalized manufacturing is filling your organization with the talent necessary to maintain competitive advantages. While skill shortages are certainly an issue for global manufacturers, keeping up with digital trends can alleviate staffing pressures.

Industry experts say that digital leaders in manufacturing generate 20% to 35% higher profits compared to laggards, which leads to opportunities for higher paying jobs that attract more skilled workers.

But all of this hinges on your ability to meet modern digital demands. While digital transformation for global manufacturers encompasses a wide range of objectives, the following 3 web strategies can help you meet the needs of modern customers and keep you ahead of competitors.

  1. Test before you Invest: As the extension of your core products and services to new global markets becomes a priority you are ready to take on, consider sending your digital presence in advance of larger marketing, infrastructure and operational commitments. A properly developed series of campaigns, affiliations, and initiatives could go a long way to identify and fine-tune your global market penetration opportunities and expectations.

    Companies who have user and market driven analysis that is gleaned from their digital presence in a new market can often extrapolate the viability of a larger and more permanent investment. This digital approach also allows you to explore numerous markets in parallel and then assess the market engagement and response to help prioritize and calibrate anticipated ROI.

  2. Deploying Modular Designs: Modular website design isn’t right for every use case. However, it’s especially well-suited to address the needs of a global manufacturing brand. Because of consumer distrust for globalization, you need to find ways to build relationships with customers in new markets. With modular design, you can create more relatable experiences that adapt to different locations.

    Modular website designs make it easier to deliver timely content to your audiences at the local level. From product availability to content translation, you need to make sure that customers who visit your website are met with an experience that is tailored to their specific needs and their geographic location.

  3. Featuring Customer Communication: We all know that the “Contact Us” page is an essential piece of any website. But it’s not the set-it-and-forget-it home to your phone numbers, email addresses, and plant locations anymore. To compete with global manufacturers, your website has to feature more seamless customer communication.

At the very least, you need to integrate your CRM and ERP systems with contact forms on your website, making it easier for customers to make inbound inquiries and ensuring that someone in your organization actually sees them. Beyond that, your website design should address other forms of communication, too.

From live chat to links for social media profiles, your customers should have a variety of channels through which they can connect with you. When your website design prioritizes customer communication, you’ll be able to provide more seamless experiences that delight global customers.

Staying Ahead of What’s NECXT in Manufacturing

The three web strategies listed here will help you compete on a global scale. However, they are just a few pieces of what should be much larger digital customer experience initiatives.

Your long-term success depends on your ability to stay ahead of the latest digital customer experience trends. Your customers are gaining more and more control over their buyer’s journeys. Leading global manufacturers will take steps to support them in any way possible.

But what exactly does that entail? For more information about what to expect in digital customer experience trends, download our free NECXT report and learn what technologies and strategies will keep you ahead of your competitors.