eCommerce has become a critical component for manufacturers that want to maintain a competitive edge. As B2B manufacturers face the challenges of the online marketplace, it’s important to assess eCommerce opportunities and create a plan for growth.

By following a structured approach, manufacturers can improve their digital capabilities, boost customer engagement, and ultimately increase revenues. Understanding the stages of this journey and how to advance through them is key for manufacturers that want to unlock the value of eCommerce.

This guide aims to help manufacturers assess their current eCommerce maturity level and provide actionable insights on enhancing their capabilities to reach the next level of eCommerce maturity and excellence. Read through to learn our 6 steps to reaching eCommerce maturity.

eCommerce Maturity Levels:

Initial Presence (Stage 1: Low Maturity)

At the Initial Presence stage, manufacturers have taken their first steps into the digital realm by establishing a basic website. This website serves primarily as an online brochure, showcasing the company’s products and services to potential customers. While this stage marks the beginning of the eCommerce journey, the website lacks the functionality to facilitate online transactions, requiring customers to rely on traditional sales channels such as phone or email to make purchases.

Manufacturers at this stage often struggle with providing comprehensive product information on their website. Product listings may need more detailed descriptions, high-quality images, and supporting documents such as technical specifications or user manuals. This limited product information can hinder potential customers from making informed decisions and may result in missed sales opportunities and customers migrating to competitors that have more comprehensive eCommerce offerings.


  • Basic website with product catalogs but no eCommerce functionality
  • Relies on traditional sales channels (phone, email) for transactions

Evaluation Criteria:

  • Website availability
  • Online product listings with limited product details, images, documents
  • Lack of online sales functionality

Transactional Capability (Stage 2: Emerging Maturity)

As manufacturers progress to the Transactional Capability stage, they introduce basic eCommerce functionality to their websites. This marks a significant step forward in their eCommerce maturity, as customers can now place orders and make payments directly through the website. However, at this stage, the integration between the eCommerce platform and back-office systems, such as inventory management and customer relationship management (CRM), needs to be improved, resulting in potential challenges in order processing and fulfillment.

While adopting an eCommerce platform enables online transactions, manufacturers at this stage often need help with providing real-time product availability information. Customers may be able to place orders but need access to accurate stock levels or estimated delivery times. The online order processing capabilities may also be basic, lacking features such as order tracking, updates, or multiple payment options. The minimal integration with back-end systems can lead to manual processes and potential delays in order fulfillment.


  • Introduction of basic eCommerce features such as online ordering and payment
  • Limited integration with back-office systems like inventory, WMS or customer relationship management (CRM) systems

Evaluation Criteria:

  • eCommerce platform adoption
  • Limited or no product availability information
  • Basic online order processing with no order updates or payment information
  • Minimal back-end integration

Enhanced User Experience (Stage 3: Developing Maturity)

As manufacturers advance to the Enhanced User Experience stage, they focus on improving the overall design and functionality of their eCommerce website. This stage is characterized by a shift towards creating a more intuitive and engaging user experience to make it easier for customers to find, customize, and purchase products online. Manufacturers at this stage tend to invest in advanced website features such as powerful search capabilities, detailed product customization options, and self-service tools that empower customers to manage their accounts and orders independently.

In addition to enhancing the front-end user experience, manufacturers at this stage also begin to leverage data analytics to gain valuable insights into customer behavior and preferences. By analyzing website traffic, user interactions, and purchase patterns, manufacturers can make data-driven decisions to optimize their eCommerce strategies. This newfound focus on data analytics enables manufacturers to identify opportunities for improvement, personalize the customer experience, and develop targeted marketing campaigns that drive increased sales and customer loyalty.


  • Improved website design and functionality for a better user experience
  • Features include advanced search, product customization options, and online self-service
  • Begins to use data analytics for customer insights

Evaluation Criteria:

  • Advanced website features and design
  • Enhanced product information, technical documentation & certificates, and tier/customer-specific pricing
  • Omni-channel order information
  • Use of analytics for customer insights

Integrated Systems (Stage 4: Intermediate Maturity)

As manufacturers progress to the Integrated Systems stage, they achieve a significant milestone in their eCommerce maturity journey. This stage is marked by the seamless integration of the eCommerce platform with critical internal systems such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), and Order Management (OMS), and Product Information Management (PIM). This integration enables real-time data sharing across the organization, ensuring all departments access accurate and up-to-date information. With this level of integration, manufacturers can streamline their operations, reduce manual processes, and improve overall efficiency.

Integrating back-office systems also enables manufacturers to enhance the customer experience by providing personalized content, product recommendations, and customer-specific information. By leveraging data from CRM and other systems, manufacturers can tailor the eCommerce experience to individual customers, displaying relevant products, pricing, and promotions based on their preferences and purchase history. This personalization level helps build stronger customer relationships, increase customer loyalty, and drive repeat business.


  • Seamless integration with internal systems (ERP, CRM, OMS & PIM) for real-time data sharing
  • Enhanced customer experience with personalized content, recommendations, and customer-specific information

Evaluation Criteria:

  • Full integration with back-office systems
  • Order approvals and customer-specific workflows
  • Real-time inventory information with delivery timelines
  • Personalization and customer engagement strategies

Omni-channel Strategy (Stage 5: Advanced Maturity)

As manufacturers reach the Omni-channel Strategy stage, they successfully integrate their eCommerce platform with all other sales and marketing channels, creating a seamless and unified customer experience. Customers can now engage with the manufacturer through multiple touchpoints, such as web, mobile, social media, and physical stores, and enjoy a consistent and cohesive experience across all channels. This stage is characterized by a rich and immersive user experience that goes beyond the traditional boundaries of eCommerce, offering customers a more engaging and interactive way to explore products, access information, and make purchases.

At this stage, manufacturers also leverage sophisticated data analytics and predictive modeling techniques to gain deep insights into customer behavior, preferences, and buying patterns. Manufacturers can develop highly targeted and personalized marketing campaigns that drive increased customer engagement and sales by analyzing data from multiple sources, including eCommerce transactions, social media interactions, and customer service records. This advanced use of data analytics enables manufacturers to stay ahead of the curve, anticipating customer needs and offering proactive solutions that enhance the overall customer experience.


  • Unified customer experience across all channels
  • Rich user experience
  • Sophisticated data analytics for predictive modeling and personalized marketing

Evaluation Criteria:

  • Omni-channel sales and marketing
  • Unique and differentiated features
  • Advanced data analytics and predictive modeling
  • Product and data personalization

Innovation and Leadership (Stage 6: High Maturity)

Manufacturers that have reached the Innovation and Leadership stage are at the forefront of eCommerce excellence. They are recognized as industry leaders, setting the standards for best practices and pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the digital commerce space. At this stage, manufacturers actively embrace and invest in leading-edge technologies, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and augmented reality, to create truly innovative and differentiated eCommerce experiences. They have a deep understanding of the latest technology trends. They can leverage these tools to optimize operations, personalize customer interactions, and drive business growth.

In addition to their technological prowess, manufacturers at this stage are characterized by their relentless focus on innovation in product offerings and customer engagement. They continuously seek out new ways to enhance their products and services, whether by developing custom solutions, incorporating cutting-edge features, or creating entirely new product categories. They also actively engage with their customers, seeking feedback and insights to inform their innovation efforts and ensure that they meet their target market’s evolving needs and expectations. This commitment to innovation and customer-centricity enables manufacturers at this stage to maintain their leadership position and drive the industry’s future direction.


  • Leading-edge technology adoption and sophisticated use of technology tools
  • Active innovation in product offerings and customer engagement
  • Industry leadership in eCommerce practices

Evaluation Criteria:

  • Use of cutting-edge technologies
  • Continuous innovation in products and customer experience
  • Industry recognition and thought leadership

Embarking on the eCommerce Maturity Journey

Ecommerce excellence requires time, strategic focus, and dedicated resources to evolve and mature effectively. Unlike a simple tool or process that can be implemented quickly, developing a robust eCommerce presence is a journey that progresses through various stages of development. Each stage presents challenges and opportunities, requiring businesses to adapt, innovate, and integrate new technologies and practices.

“Achieving a high level of maturity in eCommerce goes beyond just deploying an online shopping cart; it requires a comprehensive transformation of business operations, customer engagement strategies, and technological infrastructure.”
– Graham Lubie, Vice President, Wasserman Digital

Wasserman Digital is committed to guiding manufacturers through their eCommerce maturity journey. Our expertise in designing, developing, and managing eCommerce platforms and websites and our deep understanding of the manufacturing industry position us to provide strategic guidance and practical solutions to help you achieve your eCommerce goals.

Contact Wasserman Digital today to schedule a consultation and take the first step towards elevating your eCommerce maturity level.