Translating B2C Success into B2B

I’m writing this article for those who are all missed my Magento Imagine presentation about “Translating B2C Success into B2B”.

First we can see Magento’s success in a B2C platoform, then we can discuss more about How Magento Supports for B2B Platform.

There are many reasons for the Magento’s success in the B2C market.

  • Magento community is one the reason for the Magento’s success.
  • Magento has released its first stable version in 2008. Now it’s a successful ecommerce platform in the world.
  • Magento is a leader of e-commerce platform and it holds 29% market share around the globe.
  • More than 2,50,000 merchants around the globe using Magento.
  • It has a global ecosystem of 1,50,000 developers and a network of 300+ highly trained solutions partner.
  • It has both Free and Paid Edition. Of Course nothing beats free.
  • Magento community is a Free edition and Enterprise/Enterprise cloud is a paid edition with more features and better performance improvements.
  • A lot of extensions available. Some paid and some free. We can download the extensions from Magento Connect / Magento Marketplace.

Some of the key features for the B2C Success:

  • Multiple website/Store Management.
  • Multi Language Support.
  • Product and Category Management system.
  • We can easily configure different shipping and payment gateways.
  • Super effective SEO
  • Analytics and Reporting
  • Mobile friendly.

There is a misconception that magento is developed only for B2C. But the right configuration and perfect back office integration Magento can support B2B market as well.Magento is certainly one of the strongest B2B eCommerce tools out there for many reasons. It is especially powerful for companies that want one platform to power both their B2C, B2B websites.

B2B e-Commerce Potential

  • B2B e-commerce growth is expected to continue in big ways over the next five years, according to recent research data from Forrester.
  • By the year of 2020 B2B e-commerce sales are predicted to reach $6 Trillion globally. In US B2B e-commerce sales expected to 1.1 Trillion will be 2 times of B2C($480 million)
  • Magento is a leader in B2B commerce, powering 41 merchants on the Internet Retailer B2B eCommerce Top 300 list.

Key B2B Features

Quick/Bulk Order: In B2B websites, most of the customers used to buy the products in a bulk purchase. Also, customer used to buy the same items frequently. So, in that case we don’t want to take them to the search/catalog page to find the items. So, we need to have the system to purchase the items with ease.

Multi Warehouse: When you are maintaining the inventory in different warehouse, you need to have a system to manage the product for different warehouse and calculate different shipping rates for the different warehouse. Also, if the customer purchase different products with different warehouse, its again more complicated. So, we need to have the system to satisfy all those needs.

Negotiated Pricing Terms: In B2B business we may want to give some special discounts to the customer who purchasing bulk quantities frequently. Each and every customer may have a different negotiated pricing, so we need to have the system to support the different pricing for different customers.

Partial Payments: Partial payment is like allow your user to pay some initial payments and get remaining amounts later in a monthly basis. Partial payments helps to improve your business in your B2B store. Also, we can allow different types of payment system to the user and it helps to increase the sales.

Request a Quote: In B2B business, customer used to get the quote before purchasing bulk quantities to take the further decision. So, we need to allow the system to get the quote from the customer for the product base. Once the admin reviewed the quote and approved, it should convert as a order.

Sample Request : B2B market is not just like B2C. if you want to get new customer. They need to have a trust with your products quality. New customer hesitate to buy the products from your website. So, we need to allow the system to give sample products to the customer which helps to increase getting new customers. We can give the samples either as FREE or paid.

Approval Process: When we talk about approval process in B2B. There are 2 things. One is approval process from customer end and approval process from admin end. In some B2B business one customer may linked with multiple accounts. To add new account under the specific customer, either the customer directly add the account under his account or else they need to get approval from the admin to add multiple accounts under the specific customer. Also, we need to have the system to give different permission for the accounts. One account may have option to add items to cart. But, in order to check out they need to get approval from his super user. Once the user approved he/she can checkout the items to the specific shipping address.

Contract Management: Customer and admin may need some contract for the specific items with the negotiated rates for the products, shipment and payment terms. So, we need to allow the system to manage the contract with the customers within specific time period.

ERP & Third Party Integrations: In B2B business definitely they have some ERP system. So, we need to integrate the Magento with ERP in order to sync products, customer and orders.

How can we use Magento for B2B? We will see how we can effectively use Magento for B2B websites.

Native Magento Support:

Now, we can see how we can use native magento features to build your B2B store.

Multiple Website/Store: Multiple website is one of the important feature if you want to have different site to manage different category products and some business may run in different country. So they want better system to manage different types of products and different language. Magento native supports to create multiple website, store and store views. We can show different languages for each store view. If you are running both B2C and B2B business, then you can definitely use the Magento multi website feature for the better store management.

Bulk Ordering : As we discussed previously B2B customer purchase bulk quantities. So we need to allow them to set options for Bulk ordering. In Magento native we have a options to manage minimum/maximum number of quantities. We can set different tier level for the product price. For example if we want to set discount for more than 100/200/… qty, we can easily configure in Magento backend.

Customer Segments: Customer segments is one of the key feature for Magento enterprise edition. It helps for the targeted promotions. If you want to give discount based on the specific company email address, number of items in the cart, specific address, zip code, We can create the customer segments based on anyone of the specific attributes and create the customer. Once the customer segments created, we can use that for targeted promotions.

Private Sales: Private sales also one of the Enterprise edition feature. If you want to allow specific category products to only specific customer groups, We can enable the private sales and allow the specific customer groups. If the customer without permissions trying to access the page, then it will redirect them to the different pages.

Multiple Shipments: When customer wants to purchase the products for different location, Magento supports multiple shipments feature. While checkout, customer can select the specific products with specific quantity to the particular shipping address. In this way, customer don’t want to checkout twice for 2 different locations.

Order by Admin: In most of the cases B2B customer used to call the customer service representative to place the order. Magento native supports to place the order from admin. Admin can place the order for the specific customer with the specific products. They can also select the shipping and payment method based on the customer wish. It reduced the work for the B2B customer.

Customization and Extensions:We can get lots of B2B Extensions in Magento connect and Magento Marketplace. Based on your business needs you can purchase/download the specific extensions.

Most Common B2B requirements:

Now, we are going to talk about some of the most common B2B requirements we learned and customized for our customer.

Multiple User Accounts: Unlike B2C, B2B customer account managements is completely different. One customer account is linked with multiple sub accounts. Each account have different privileges. One account may have a access to add the items to cart. But in order to place the order. They need to get the approval from the super user.

Quick Order: Quick Order is one of the key features for B2B. In B2B businesses customer used to purchase the items frequently. So, there is no need to going to view the product details and purchase the items. So, we can customize the magento to have a option to enter the SKU/Product Name and allow to add directly to the cart.

There are many things we need to consider while customizing Magento for Quick Order.

  • It should support all types of products
  • Allow option to enter the qty to each product.
  • SKU/Name should be auto populate.
  • Ability to allow user to enter sku and qty in a comma separated and add to cart.
  • Allow option to upload the csv and add items to cart.

Sample Request: Sample request is one the most common features in B2B. As we discussed already if we can allow user to request samples, it helps to get new customer. We can customize the product detail page and have a option to add the samples to cart. We can allow customer to purchase the samples along with the regular items.

There are few things we need to consider while customizing Magento for Sample Requests.

  • You can allow admin to set the value for the sample either FREE, specific amount or % of regular price.
  • Set the sample price either by globally or by product wise
  • It would also great if you have a system that tells the conversion rate between the samples requested and that converts into order.

Get Quote: Many B2B customer used to get the quote before purchasing the items. So, we can customize Magento that allows user to request the quote. In Product detail page we can have a option to get quote for the specific products. You can have one form and get the quote details like, qty and expected price. Once submitted admin can process the quote in to order.

Advanced Order Search: In B2B business customer will expect to see more advanced options in My Order Page. I would like to explain some of the important customization in my order page.

  • We can have a options to filter the orders between the specific date.
  • Allow user to filter the orders by shipping city/zip code.
  • Filter orders with specific product name/SKU. In that customer can easily find the specific items purchased within the specific date.
  • Ability to allow auto populate when the customer enters the SKU/ Product Name.

Magento for B2B :

Magento Enterprise 2.x coming soon with improved feature for B2B Customers. We are going to see some overview about the new B2B features that comes with Magento2.x enterprise edition.

Account Management: B2B Customers can get additional features in account management section to manage multiple other sub customer and they can assign specific permissions to the sub customer.

Negotiated pricing Term: We can associate customer account into different pricing list, shipping price and payment terms. Either we can do it in customer group level or customer account level.

Quick Order: Quick order is used to order the item with ease. This feature allow customer to import the spreadsheet and order n number of items into cart at once and also it improves the reordering feature.

ERP Connectors: Magento Enterprise edition 2.x coming with flexible system that seamlessly integrates with most common ERPs.

Inventory Tracking: Inventory tracking module used to keep the track the inventory across multiple warehouse locations.

Mobile Responsive Design: Magento 2.x versions come up with mobile friendly responsive design for both customer and admin. Customer can place order from any device and also admin can process and manage the accounts and orders in mobile device.

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