B2B is the unsung hero of the eCommerce world. It has seen explosive growth over the past few years and now dwarfs B2C in global sales revenue online.
Many businesses still rely almost entirely on manual processes to service their B2B customers. The reality is that the average age of a B2B user is now lower than ever and this new generation of users is very tech savvy. In fact, 93% of B2B buyers now prefer to buy online when they’ve decided what to buy.
Even B2B merchants that have embraced the technology shift often still take a bespoke approach to development. This is usually based on the false premise that the features don’t exist or that the problem they are solving is unique to them. 9 times out of 10, it isn’t.
We should also recognise the different user interface expectations that B2B customers have. B2B customers do not need to be sold to. They typically already know what they are looking for and will opt for ease of use / clear presentation of data over pretty pictures and upsells. In short they are buying with their head, not their heart. Therefore user experience of your B2B is an important consideration and differential.
Regardless of your internal B2B business process it is essential to understand what B2B features your eCommerce platform offers you out of the box. In this article we are going to be looking at the most useful B2B features that Magento 2 has to offer.
The main building block of Magento 2’s B2B features is its ability to be able to manage suppliers via different accounts. As anyone who runs a B2B business will know, each customer has varying requirements and privileges and therefore it is paramount that your eCommerce system facilitates the functionality to service each customer in a different way.
Magento 2 provides an easy interface from which to add and manage B2B suppliers with an abundance of relevant configurations including Tax rules, policies and limits.
Once customer accounts are configured, Magento allows you to configure different pricing rules and even entirely different catalogs based on the supplier that is viewing the site.
There is no hard limit to the number of catalogs that can be displayed so it is entirely dependent on your customer requirements.
Customer segmentation also allows you to present different display banners to different suppliers meaning you can be very deliberate about what is shown to who. A very powerful tool.
Like it or not, the CSV is here to stay. This is a file format that is still very heavily utilised in the B2B world and quite rightly, it is simple, lightweight and universal.
Magento recognises this and creates an easy interface for customers to quickly upload product CSVs with order quantities allowing customers to build a large order request in a few easy steps.
Request for quote
Not all B2B customers are the same. Some are long term partners, others are new potential customers shopping around for distributors.
Magento’s request for quote functionality allows your customers to ask for quotes on a product and provides a space for negotiation. It also has a number of other features built with B2B in mind including minimal qtys, expiration date for quotes and more.
Payments on account
Another key difference between B2C and B2B is how payments are settled. It is extremely common for B2B customers to have open accounts with a supplier. Some customers are good payers, some not so good and some may simply not have earned the trust for large credit limits.
Magento handles this requirement excellently, allowing the Magento site admin to set a credit limit on a customer by customer basis. It also supports key features like payments on account.
Quick order / reorder
More often than not wholesale customers will want to simply reorder previous stock in order to fill back up. With this in mind, making this process as frictionless as possible is an important consideration.
Magento allows seamless reordering of previous orders mean that in a few clicks of a button the customer can simply reorder , adjusting quantities as needed. It also provides requisition lists to allow a company to build up an order over time from within their account.
Aside from the specific B2B features mentioned in this artcile, Magento 2 offers a number of other native features and qualities that make it a great choice of platform.
Clean API endpoints (including B2B features) allowing for easy integration of legacy and remote systems.
Partial shipments and fulfillment
The ability to manage multiple storefronts easily within a single system.
Unrivaled system extensibility
The list goes on...
There are also more B2B features in the development pipeline so with each new release of Magento we will see more and more useful features added.
See here for the latest Magento release at the time of writing
For assistance with planning your Magento B2B project or help with replatforming please get in touch here.