Ecommerce Solutions for B2B
Digital technologies continue transforming the ways of doing business in all fields and branches and now comes the turn of the B2B sector to change its selling mode and commercial approaches.
B2B Ecommerce Potential
Recent researches conducted by Forrester Research Inc. uncovered the new tectonic shift of purchasing habits in B2B towards online invoicing and ordering.
The researcher determined that the number of B2B customers preferring to purchase online with self-serving information is 93% of those, who have a confident purchase decision. Still, only 25% of B2B companies sell online actively. Source: Internet Retailer.
So, this growing and highly-potential market demands corresponding technologies aiming to provide buyers with a high-standards shopping experience equal to the functionality most retail merchants have. The ultimate development destination for B2B ecommerce software is to offer seamless online shopping experience, which requires no offline operations to complete a purchase.
B2B Ecommerce Functionality
Serving unique wholesalers’ demands B2B ecommerce solutions have to possess specific functionality and UX.
Personal Customer Areas
Customer areas for wholesale buyers are to be enhanced and powerful allowing users to track multiple orders, invoices, payments, shipments, etc. Such accounts should contain detailed order history, personal discounts, credits, and other finely-granulated information describing all aspects of products and the ordering progress.
Data details are especially important since every B2B account is entered by numerous employees with split-level access permissions interested in only some aspects of the business process.
50% of B2B buyers surveyed identified improved personalization as being a key feature for suppliers they would want to work with. Source: Ecommerce & B2B
Multi-layer access control is the critical feature for B2B ecommerce solutions. Besides multi-user accesses to company accounts settled for the staff, it should provide the opportunity to set up versatile permissions to enter certain catalog segments, get allotted prices and personal discounts.
Customers should also have an opportunity to automatically or intentionally change their statuses and experience new commercial terms immediately.
Advanced Catalog, Price and Customers Segmentation
The necessity to segment customers described above requires price and catalog segmentation, as well.
This division can not only be caused by promotional needs, but also by the needs of certain businesses in certain products often needless for other customers.
80% say customer expectations are a result of B2C retail practices. E2banytime.com
Product quotation is absolutely necessary for wholesalers as most deals processed in B2B are unique and require individual negotiations. Online dealing requires much less time and efforts still allows participants to establish bilateral dialogue with direct and counter offers.
In most fields B2B ecommerce software is to be more advanced compared to B2C solutions and shopping price cart rules is no exception. The opportunity to assign different prices to the same products based on different customer and order attributes is the crucial feature for successful online sales.
Advanced Order Approval Process
Often, purchasing decisions in B2B require additional approvals of senior management, so dedicated software should provide customers with this very opportunity.
70% of B2B purchase decisions include at least 2 decision makers. Source: Ecommerce & B2B
For those cases, when it is impossible to process certain payments online, B2B ecommerce software should offer a chance to integrate off-line payments to the payment process.
B2B ecommerce software also needs to provide the functionality for credit sales usual in B2B and provide the opportunity to negotiate their terms and invoice them automatically.
Wholesale and manufacturers’ catalogs are usually much more abundant, where products have numerous attributes and properties. For example, hundreds of shirts may not only differentiate by colors or sizes, but also by fabrics, screws, buttons, thread stitching, etc.
76% of B2B buyers listed Enhanced Search as one of their top three features, with 48% of B2B sellers citing enhanced search as a top technology priority. Source: Ecommerce & B2B
In order to get rid of boring and time consuming searches B2B solutions should offer advanced search functionality with multi-level and combinable filters.
Sales persons are one more entity in B2B ecommerce software, which needs diversified access permissions to the backend of the platform. They need to have an opportunity to read and edit customer-related information, appoint discounts manually, track order statuses, and contact customers online.
Third-Party Integrations (CMS and ERP)
As far as most large companies use different commercial software, including CRM and ERP systems, integration opportunities are especially important for them. This opportunity allows wholesalers and manufacturers to create a holistic commercial environment uniting back-offices, warehouses and the stores.
40% of B2B buyers identified back-end integration with financing, accounting, order management systems (OMS), or enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems as a key feature for suppliers to offer. Source: Ecommerce & B2B
Apart from specially designed custom ecommerce systems, some universal solutions are able to offer B2B features by default and sometimes need only minor adjustments to meet the requirements of most wholesalers and branded manufacturers. This also applies to Magento, which is used by numerous B2B companies, so, many of them obtained a vast experience of setting and fine tuning Magento for their unique B2B business demands.
The Enterprise edition of Magento meets most of the mentioned above requirements and is an advantageous option to step online for B2B companies, especially now, when Magento closely focuses on the B2B market.
Magento B2B Program
A week ago Magento launched its Magento B2B Program, which shows the company’s expansion to B2B and its commitment within this field. The program confirms a formal focus on B2B of the Magento marketing and sales departments and reveals the advantages of the platform’s Enterprise edition on the way of creating a B2C experience for B2B clients.
Magento recognized one of the leaders in the Forester Wave B2B Commerce Suites, and is appropriate for small and mid-sized businesses. Q2 2015. Source: Forrester.com
In the case you are looking for a reliable solution to go online for your B2B business and need it to be done swiftly, Magento is a great option for that. Using it will definitely take much less time than building a custom solution and allow you to take advantage of multiple ready-made extensions, including ERP connectors, customized search modules, payment gateways, permission managers, etc., able to fulfill almost any task you set for your company.
Some functionality extensions beneficial for B2B you will certainly find in our store.
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