5 Key B2B eCommerce Features for Brands, Manufacturers and Distributors

Frank Thompson
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Launching B2B e-commerce sites is complex. Business rules are typically more extensive than in B2C sites, catalogs are larger, payment and delivery requirements are more extensive. For B2B companies that are launching new e-commerce capabilities, there are also a number of key features to keep in mind.

The Accorin team has implemented multiple B2B e-commerce sites and feels that the following key features (in Magento 2 Commerce) are “must haves”:

  1. Shared Catalogs. This allows each company (merchants) to create a unique catalog for each of their customers, or groups of customers. Within the shared catalogs, customers get to see the products that they are able to purchase at their negotiated prices. One of Accorin’s beauty customers, for instance, carries a number of products and brands, but not all are available to all customers. A Shared Catalog allows the client to deliver different brands to different clients at different pricing levels, such as price books.
  2. Purchase on Credit One of the baseline requirements of B2B e-commerce has been allowing customers to purchases using corporate credit vs. credit cards. Offering corporate credit online streamlines the purchasing process, potentially allowing a customer to buy more at once and improve customer satisfaction. Magento B2B now allows businesses to offer a “Purchase on Credit” payment method.  Companies that want to offer credit services are able to use the Magento credit module either manually (credit is managed within Magento) or via API to synch credit amounts with their enterprise systems. The reference PO information shows up on all receipts and statements. This service has worked well for one of Accorin’s clients that sells health and wellness products online. Customers with approved credit can place orders online in Magento using their lines of credit. When a customer goes through checkout, Magento does an API call to their ERP system to check if credit is available for that order.
  3. Price quotes. Customers who want to buy in larger quantities are generally interested in ways to save money. Magento provides the ability for negotiations between a sales team and a customer to facilitate their purchases of certain items. Accorin has a client that sells furniture online and uses price quotes for bulk orders, as well as orders that require freight information to be provided before an order can be placed. In the past, any “special cases” discounts had to be done over the phone. But now, the client team can take a quote online, provide a freight cost, and submit it to their customer for review. The Quote can go through a number of cycles before being approved.
  4. Streamlined ordering. Some companies need similar products month after month, regardless of sales, such as raw supplies or administrative/support equipment. Businesses looking to help their clients improve their efficiency can find ways to make these types of “purchase” orders easier for them rather than the slower “take your time and shop” models for others. Magento now allows companies to create “requisition lists” of routine products, and also “quick order forms” which can make transactions go smoother and faster. They also can easily duplicate lists if only a few items vary, rather than entering the entire order over and over.
  5. Shared company accounts. Things can sometimes get confusing on the purchasing and the accounting ends if multiple people from the same company have accounts at the same business. A centralized shared account can make it easier to allow authorized employees to shop using one account. This makes it easier for everyone to keep track of. It also can include price limits or management approval fields if employers are concerned about security/abuses or sizes of orders.

Accorin is always happy to help businesses improve their processes and the ecommerce options they provide to current and future customers. We especially recommend the features of Magento 2 for companies that are looking to launch a new e-commerce site. We believe that it is the leading B2B e-commerce platform and is clearly superior to Shopify or Demandware / Salesforce Commerce Cloud. Need help developing your B2B strategies? Give us a call! (617) 859-7900 ext. 700