A survey conducted by The Artlab at the Northern Manufacturing & Electronics 2016 exhibition confirms that manufacturers understand the importance of keeping a professional web presence, but the results also show that many are failing to make the most of all the opportunities available on the web.

Traditionally, manufacturers have been slow to innovate and adapt to changing market circumstances.

Although British manufacturers have got better at embracing new ideas and technologies, the sector still lags behind others when it comes to using digital to meet organisational aims.

Manufacturers missing opportunities online - The Artlab

A website is an integral part of your company’s identity and outdated or badly functioning websites can paint a negative image of your brand and turn off potential clients.

The web opens other possibilities for manufacturers too. More and more manufacturers are using eCommerce websites to target different customers and carve out additional revenue streams.

The web also makes it easier to market products overseas, targeting new customers in a way that wasn’t possible before.

87% of survey respondents said that having a professional web presence was important for their business, and the same proportion said that they had received inbound sales leads from the internet.

Manufacturers missing opportunities online - The Artlab

eCommerce websites for manufacturers

Today there is a huge range of online shopping platforms to choose from. The Artlab has built sites in Magento, WooCommerce, ZenCart and many others. Our eCommerce manufacturing clients have gone on to enjoy an extra revenue boost, benefiting from a well-marketed online shopping presence, both B2B and B2C.

This simple approach to increasing a company’s income is becoming more and more widespread. However, only a small proportion of respondents we surveyed said that they sold products directly through an eCommerce shop on their website.

Manufacturers missing opportunities online - The Artlab

Rick Lees, Managing Director of The Artlab said: “Checking a company’s website has become an important part of the buying decision and for manufacturers, a website that conveys capability and authenticity can set you apart from the more disingenuous operators.

“There are still opportunities that manufacturers are missing. Mobile responsive websites, eCommerce systems to sell online and international digital marketing – they can all help generate extra income and expand operations.

“Many manufacturers fear upsetting current distributors by selling online, however there are ways to mitigate this.”


Get funding for your web project

Thought about opening an eCommerce website or starting a new digital marketing campaign? The Artlab can help manufacturers secure funds for web projects. Get in touch to find out if you are eligible.

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Take advantage of the weak pound

Only 25% of manufacturers said that they had an online shop to enable direct sales to the trade and public. And although 56% of manufacturers said that they sell products overseas, only 6% said they conducted any kind of international digital marketing.

Manufacturers missing opportunities online - The Artlab


This may reflect the fact that very few respondents (14%) knew that they could access funding from organisations such as UK Trade & Investments (UKTI) to use on overseas marketing campaigns. By boosting your online presence abroad, there is the opportunity to capitalise on a favourable exchange rate for exporters, making UK products more affordable to overseas buyers.

And while half the respondents said they did some in-house marketing work, only 37% said that they used a professional marketing company to drive campaigns at home or abroad.

Manufacturers missing opportunities online - The Artlab

Online marketing specifically for manufacturing companies

Managing Director Rick Lees is an experienced industry marketing consultant and has delivered events, talks and consulting services on behalf of the Manufacturing Advisory Service, the Manufacturing Institute (LEAD) the Business Growth Service and, most recently, the Department for International Development.

In a fast-moving digital landscape it is hard to stay up to date. We work closely with all our customers to make sure they stay relevant and continue to achieve excellent ROI from their marketing budget.

Some major recent developments, like the renewed importance of having a mobile-responsive website, have left some manufacturers a bit behind the times. We’ve had some big successes with manufacturing clients and we look forward to working with more in the future.

Managing Director Rick Lees

Find out how we have helped manufacturers raise their profile and increase sales.

Get in touch today for a free web consultation. Call 0161 974 0974.

Read about some of The Artlab’s projects