Regular consumers have long ago adopted e-commerce as their preferred mode of shopping. Businesses and professionals are now catching up to the speed as well. In fact, more than 90% of B2B buyers now prefer to do their buying from vendors online. Why? The same reasons why online shopping is preferred by consumer buyers, for the sake of convenience, simplicity, and ease.
Now, Magento is arguably the most popular e-commerce platform there is for B2C commerce today and the CMS was initially oriented to work as B2C platform only. But changing times have seen a major extension in Magento’s capabilities as well, this includes addition of various B2B focused features that enable Magento to work efficiently for business to business e-commerce.
Here are some of the standard and advanced B2B e-commerce features that are offered by Magento:
A default feature in Magento 2, bulk ordering is a typical, important requirement in any B2B setting. Buyers don’t buy items individually, they like to place orders in bulk. At any given time, a B2B buyer may have to order numerous products in a wide range of colors, materials, sizes, textures, etc. Magento 2 makes it possible to order products in large quantities via multi-item and multi-attribute selection choices. In addition, B2B companies can also offer bulk discounts to their buyers, or set a minimum threshold for orders.
B2B businesses will appreciate Magento’s excellent inventory tracking and management functionalities. They can get real-time, accurate, reliable updates about their inventory throughout the supply chain, including delivery schedule, current location, in-between warehouses, etc. all from their own account. They can set automated business rules to streamline their order fulfillments and delivery processes. Because of the efficient inventory management afforded by Magento, B2B buyers get the advantage of planning their purchases ahead of time to deal with any contingencies.
Quote and Negotiation Management
In a typical B2B environment, the process usually takes on the following sequence of steps: Request For Quote (RFQ), negotiations, and quote finalization and approval. These steps from the beginning of any B2B transaction, and Magento 2 offers plenty of capabilities to manage this critical phase smoothly.
B2B customers can place a RFQ right from their shopping cart, along with information like documents and comments that supplement their RFQ. Once the request has been placed, the customers can keep a close eye on the status of the request and coordinate with the sellers if need be.
B2B businesses, on the other hand, can view the complete RFQ details and supporting documents on their quote management panel. They can define an expiration date for the quote, calculate the discount percentages they can afford to offer, negotiate with the customer on product and shipping prices, and much more.
Basically, Magento 2 allows merchants to respond to quote requests in a faster and better way, which ultimately helps them convert more leads into customers.
B2B wholesale customers often have a set of products that they need to purchase on a repeat basis. Since these products need to be ordered on a regular basis, it would be desirable for buyers if they could manage these repeat orders quicker and simpler. This is what Magento offers with its Quick Order feature.
Customers can either upload an order sheet CSV file consisting of SKUs or look directly for products using SKUs. If the entered SKUs are available for purchase in the catalog and inventory, then the Magento application would display the corresponding pictures and prices for buyers to validate their order.
Buyers can also place repeat orders from the Magento’s lists of frequently purchased products, or by creating their own custom lists in their account by copying from earlier orders or adding products from category pages to the requisition list.
With Magento platform, B2B businesses can simplify how their regular customers place their frequent repeat orders. This helps businesses retain their valued customers and encourage more frequent ordering by them.
Every business has its own suite of software that forms the foundation of its daily functioning. This could include ERP, CRM, etc. among various other types of back end systems. Magento 2 gives businesses the opportunity to integrate these systems with their Magento e-commerce store. In fact, one of the most beneficial and differentiating advantages offered by Magento 2 is the ease with which ERP, CRM, and such systems can be integrated with its website through a range of off the shelf extensions and APIs.
This can be crucial in a B2B setting since systems like ERP are often where all the financial, administrative, and logistic processes of the business are handled. It would be nice if a business could integrate a system as crucial as ERP with their B2B activities so that everything remains synchronized with each other. Moreover, since Magento makes the integration so easy and simple, businesses don’t face any hassles with excess deployment costs and delays.
Magento 2 offers a well defined workflow structure for company account management where there is more than one buyer using a given account. This capability is of particular advantage since it allows to easily manage company accounts where there are several buyers spread across the organization’s extensive structure sharing the account. Company buyers can manage the shared account as they deem fit without needing any merchant involvement.
In the shared buyer accounts, tiers, or levels, can be created for users according to a hierarchical structure. By setting tier-specific rules, permissions, and roles, it’s possible to offer each user a personalized experience. In addition to this, Magento buyer account is also equipped with all the necessary features like tracking credit, order history, quote, etc.
Allowing such advanced account management is crucial for B2B customers since a given customer account can have many number of users working with it. For instance, an account may be operated by diverse admin users, where some are responsible for preparing orders, some are responsible for approving orders, some are responsible for placing orders, and so on. Since each admin user would have his own set of tasks to do via the shared customer account, it would be necessary to define separate user roles, permissions, and accesses. This is an area where Magento really shines through.
Account management is not only simple and great for B2B buyers, but B2B merchants also reap the same benefits. The merchants are given the capabilities to organize and categorize buyer data more efficiently. They can export or import buyer lists, assign field sales representatives to accounts, etc.
B2B customers don’t only work from desks, they work from their laptops, smartphones, tablets, etc. For a customer that’s always on the move, it’s important to offer him a website that’s responsive to their changing website viewing and browsing needs.
Magento enables development of websites that offer optimized user experiences regardless of the device they are viewed upon. This means buyers can place and manage their orders anywhere, anytime, and using any device they want.