After-Sales as a revenue driver for manufacturers

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Why should manufacturers (OEMs) digitalize their after-sales and spare parts business?

With margins averaging 25%, the spare parts business is an essential part of the service business in mechanical and plant engineering, but many OEMs do not sell spare parts and consumables to their customers themselves. Third-party suppliers attract customers with competitive prices and profit from long-term sales. Manufacturers who do not want to hand over after-sales to others can set themselves apart from the competition with excellent services - and retain their customers for a long time through a digital customer portal.

Based on the actual products, including all adaptations and further developments, you can sell spare parts and services, file documentation and training material, and display the order history in such a customer portal. This ensures efficient processes at the customer's site and allows your customer service representatives to concentrate fully on developing the personal customer relationship.

What are the benefits of a digitized after-sales and spare parts business for manufacturers?

OEMs can position themselves as a one-stop store for products and equipment by having their own after-sales business and thus support their customers even after the product has been purchased. In an online customer portal, manufacturers can respond to the needs of different user groups individually, leverage new sales potential and offer innovative business models.

01 Reduce returns

In the spare parts store, show your customers only the parts that fit their machines. This reduces errors, returns and costs - and increases efficiency and customer satisfaction.

02 Increase machine uptime

Automatically deliver consumables and spare parts based on the operating hours of your machines. Customers can book service appointments directly in the customer portal - this drastically reduces downtime.

03 Streamline all information

Connect your ERP, PIM and other existing systems in the after-sales portal. This ensures that your customers can access correct, complete information from anywhere.

04 Explore new business models

Collect data via IoT sensors to automate the ordering and delivery of spare parts. Enable new business models such as pay-per-use and predictive maintenance.

Visual Rainer Schüssler

“Intershop helps Trumpf to master the digital challenge of customized customer portals.”

Rainer Schüssler Program Manager Customer Experience at TRUMPF

How does a digitalized after-sales business work?

Your customers are already digital. They buy products online, book appointments via apps and access information via automatic image recognition. OEMs that miss this step will sooner or later be left behind by companies that serve these needs.

Keep the after-sales business in your own hands! Manufacturers are in the best position to do this: They know their customers and they know their products. Combine both in a customer portal and complement the after-sales business with instantly bookable service appointments, subscriptions to consumables, service bulletins or a tutorial of new product versions that make your customers curious about what they can expect from you.

A tip from us: increase customer retention via a loyalty program and digital self-services in your online customer portal! Personalize prices, offer special deals, and provide complete purchase history transparency. Set up in this way, the dumping prices of third-party suppliers are no longer a competitor.

What can customers expect from the digital after-sales business?

The real customer benefit in digital after-sales lies in minimizing machine downtime. Downtimes must be avoided or moved to a time when the machines are in use less or not at all. This is where the aftermarket business can come in, for example with predictive maintenance. Many components in mechanical engineering have fixed operating hours. If these components are registered in the after-sales portal, OEMs can send spare parts or new assemblies (even automatically) so that they arrive before the operating time is reached. Immediate response and availability in the event of a malfunction are the factors that are most likely to keep customer satisfaction high in after-sales.

What are the up-sell and cross-sell opportunities in the after-sales business?

Manufacturers can increase brand loyalty by offering their customers added value through up-sell and cross-sell offers. Bundles are one example of up-selling in after-sales. Combine spare parts into assemblies, spare parts with wear parts, or add the right maintenance appointment at the authorized workshop to your offer. In cross-selling, product variations have become popular in the aftermarket. Items in additional colors or for different purposes are quite typical. You can also offer gloves, caps or safety goggles with your logo, or show discontinued items before the shopping cart is completed.

By not outsourcing your spare parts and service business to third-party providers, you have the opportunity to collect data on how customers use your products. From this, you can derive targeted new services or business models such as predictive maintenance.

Does a spare parts store increase profit margins for manufacturers?

The right spare parts strategy, if implemented correctly, can offer manufacturers and OEMs high profit margins. A spare parts store is an important cornerstone in this strategy. Based on the installed base, technicians are only shown spare parts, tools or kits here that fit their exact components. However, the aftermarket is very dynamic. To keep your profit margins consistently high, you need to ensure that master data is always up-to-date and that adaptations, further developments or security updates are also applied in the spare parts store. The integration of an Aftermarket PIM system can help and reduce returns, complaints and lack of customer satisfaction.

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Do you want to digitize your after-sales business? 

Get in touch with our specialist and let us show you how to make your customers and sales teams happy in the aftermarket.

Frank Andersen
Frank Andersen B2B Commerce Specialist Phone