3 ways after-sales can transform manufacturing


May 4, 2023

Could after-sales transform your business? Here are 3 after-sales benefits manufacturers can leverage today.

As consumers, we’ll inevitably run into terrible service after we’ve made a purchase. Whether it’s being kept in the dark about a delivery, jumping through hoops to return a product, or dealing with unhelpful customer service, it can quickly become infuriating. It is hard for a brand to come back from a bad after-sales experience, too. Most consumers will simply take their business elsewhere. 

But if your post-purchase experience is a good one, it can be a game changer for your customer-brand relationship. Finding the product information you need quickly, being kept up to date with the latest offers, and being able to get a product repaired easily are all examples of after-sales services that keep customers coming back for more. 

This is true for consumer brands and retailers as much as it’s true for manufacturers. After all, B2B buyers are just like B2C shoppers when it comes to what they expect. This is true before, during, and after making a purchase. But it’s not just about ensuring your customer experience is on point. If you’re a manufacturer, getting your after-sales experience right can be rocket fuel for your profitability.  

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What is after-sales in manufacturing? 

The simplest definition of after-sales is any service or product provided by a manufacturer to a customer after the initial purchase. There is a huge range of potential actions that can fall under the after-sales umbrella within B2B manufacturing. This includes warranties, training programs, repairs and upgrades, and even providing additional promotions or products through cross-selling and upselling.  

3 benefits of after-sales in manufacturing 

There may be a vast number of activities and actions that count as after-sales in B2B manufacturing. However, there are also an ever-growing number of benefits that can come from ensuring your after-sales game is on point, from improving your shift towards a circular business model to growing brand loyalty. Let’s take a look at just a few of the ways after-sales can transform manufacturing. 

After-sales can turbocharge your turnover

Once you’ve gone through the hard work of acquiring a new customer, the opportunity to retain them well beyond their initial purchase is significant. How? That depends on what you’re selling. It could be through a range of personalized products, exclusive customer services, or simply with a discount code for their next purchase. After all, you have all their information and buying history, so you might as well make the most of it.  

According to market analysts Gartner, brands and manufacturers providing successful after-sales services could generate up to 50% of their profits after securing the initial sale. This could come from upselling, cross-selling, maintenance and repair, or follow-up promotions. In any industry, this is a game-changer. 

manufacturing work servicing electronics product

After-sales can reduce your product returns headache 

According to KPMG, 33% of buyers return products online due to poor quality or incomplete product information. Giving your customers an accurate picture of what they’re buying is an essential part of selling online. It also applies to after-sales, too. For example, your customer may not have originally seen that they needed an additional component or service when they first made the purchase. If it is difficult for them to work out why their new product isn’t working as it should, they will probably just send it back and go elsewhere. You don’t want that to happen. 

Product returns, part of what is known as reverse logistics, can be a major headache for manufacturers. Not only are these returns logistically difficult, but they are also costly endeavors due to the number of resources required and the amount of stock that often ends up as wastage. Returns can be a sustainability headache for manufacturers. A headache that should be avoided. 

After-sales can enhance your customer experience 

Winning new sales is an essential part of growing a business. But gaining new customers always means a lot of hard work and expense. It can cost companies a lot more to convert new leads than it can to retain existing buyers. And a potential customer is just that – a potential customer. Existing customers, on the other hand, are already customers. And the ones who have a good experience are more likely to make repeat purchases. They are also more likely to refer that company to others. 

Customer expectations in the manufacturing industry have changed significantly over recent years. B2B buyers want maximum flexibility and simplicity, especially when it comes to technical support, troubleshooting, or upgrading to new products and services. Buyers have worked hard to find the right supplier for their needs, so anything that makes their lives easier after that is likely to be appreciated. And remember, loyal customers will always be more likely to head back to their preferred brands first. 

female manufacturing worker searching for product in warehouse

Successful after-sales starts with data 

Are you a B2B manufacturer looking to implement a successful after-sales strategy into your business? Then you need to start with the basics: getting the data right. Only with a foundation of accurate and consistent product data can you truly meet the expectations of your buyers before, during, and after the sale. And that’s only possible with the right software in place.  

A new breed of PIM platform, like inriver’s PIM software, can help you meet the ever-evolving needs of after-sales to ensure you can boost your profitability at every stage of the product journey. Whether it’s your customers, your sales team, or your maintenance engineers, with the inriver PIM solution every audience has access to the latest, most accurate data needed to realize the full potential of the after-sales process. Want to see how inriver does it? Book a demo with a PIM expert today and discover how inriver can transform your post-purchase profitability.  

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  • Johan Boström

    Co-Founder & Board Member

    Johan Boström is one of the founders of inriver and a senior business leader with two decades of experience leading international technology companies.

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