Magento for B2B Ecommerce: A Match Made in Heaven
Discover the powerful B2B features Magento has to offer, and learn how they can augment the shopping experience for your business customers.
Today, more and more B2B companies decide to launch webstores, either to support their brick-and-mortar offices or to shift to online retail completely. Despite this positive trend, the owners still face quite a challenge when it comes to finding an out-of-the-box solution that would efficiently maintain their enterprise online.
Perhaps the most important reason why this keeps happening is that too many platforms, be it SaaS or PaaS, are inherently geared toward the B2C model. So far, their owners have been unable or unwilling to introduce valid business-to-business features to their products.
Compared to its reluctant peers, Magento 2 stands out as one of the most B2B-friendly platforms for ecommerce development on the market. It offers a built-in B2B suite of tools to support merchants operating locally or globally.
The Magento 2 B2B feature set has earned wide acclaim: according to Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce 2019 report, around 40% of Magento users are B2B merchants, including such global enterprises as Procter & Gamble, 3M, Hewlett-Packard, and Cisco Systems.
This article will outline the most sought-after ecommerce features for business-to-business merchants of today, and match them with the existing Magento B2B functionality. You will also find the review of the top Magento B2B extensions for augmenting your customers’ experience.
Magento B2B Features for Self-Service
Traditionally, self-service was reserved for B2C customers, while B2B clients had to get in touch with a sales representative for literally everything, including a quote request for a product or a service.
But recently the tide has turned: the B2B Buying Process 2019 Report by Sapio Research and Sana Commerce determined that at least a third of B2B decision-makers would opt for a vendor offering online ordering, payment, and order tracking. This proves that self-servicing capabilities can become a vital competitive advantage for a B2B retailer.
Magento offers a solid set of features for enterprise self-maintenance that are bound to satisfy your customers’ need for independence.
Price negotiation is an inseparable part of business-to-business retail, especially if you are a wholesaler. Within the B2B ecommerce environment, though, it’s easy to get dragged into endless email chains and messages discussing quotes.
Magento allows streamlining the quoting experience for merchants and buyers alike. The customer chooses a product from the catalog and requests a quote right from their shopping cart. The seller reviews the quote and sends a response, either accepting the quote or naming their price. Merchants are also allowed to push forward the quote expiration date, thus creating a sense of urgency and avoiding drawn-out negotiations.
This exchange goes on until both parties settle on the price or quit altogether. All negotiation activities are automatically logged, so the participants can review the history of their interactions anytime.
Receiving repeat orders is a common practice for B2B providers with an established client base and long-term partnerships. Reordering is a simple yet rather boring process, so Magento’s feature for streamlining recurring purchases is very likely to catch your customers’ fancy.
Magento requisition lists are similar to your ordinary ecommerce wishlists, but on steroids. A company admin or other entitled representative can compile a list of items for reorder and then press the “Order” button to get them all shipped whenever needed. A customer can have up to 999 lists in their account and group them for better management and tracking into categories like ‘monthly purchases’ or ‘weekly stock-ups’.
Multi-user Corporate Accounts
In Magento, each B2B customer can set up an individual corporate account. The account dashboard provides instant access to the customer’s business activity records, from quotes, orders, and payment history to requisition lists and available credit. This allows responsible parties to always be in control of their corporate performance.
The customer account roles are not limited to admins only. Instead, corporate customers can choose to create multiple users for all the employees involved in procurement or requiring access to particular business metrics related to the B2B merchant. While customers’ admins hold the power of super users, each team member can be assigned their individual limited sets of rights and permissions.
Magento B2B Features for CX Personalization
Gone are the days when business-to-business relations were stiff and impersonal. A modern B2B merchant should keep in mind that behind every enterprise’s purchasing decision stands an ordinary person who wants to feel welcomed and attended to.
The 2018 State of the Connected Customer report by Salesforce has uncovered the scope of customer experience expectations that business buyers harbor today: 72% of the respondents admit they want merchants to tailor engagement to their needs. The surveyed business consumers in general are 2.7 times more likely to seriously consider a customized offer over a general one.
The shared catalog and customer segmentation are the two Magento enterprise B2B features that will help with personalizing your customers’ journeys.
Faced with a wide choice of providers, your existing customers are constantly reevaluating their choices and won’t hesitate to terminate the agreement that they don’t deem profitable anymore. The shared catalog is a viable B2B instrument in Magento for adding a personal touch to your relationships with existing customers and rewarding their loyalty.
The feature enables merchants to pick items from the main catalog, create a curated product list, and share it with a certain customer. Within the shared catalog, B2B merchants can set up pricing rules, discount percentages, or reduced taxes at their discretion. They can also easily modify the lists by including or excluding products and customers, adding or removing rules and discounts, all without affecting the main product directory.
The customer segmentation in Magento allows you to effortlessly personalize your customers’ experience and target your in-store marketing efforts more precisely. As a store owner, you can segment your customers based on their unique attributes, such as their age, location, and order history. Dividing the customer base in such a way, you can choose to set up price rules, create marketing campaigns, and display custom-made promotional banners for preferred customer segments.
Magento for B2B: Technical Features
Technological infrastructure is another focal point for B2B leaders. According to the Forrester research commissioned by Magento Commerce, the majority of business owners name reliability, high performance, and completeness as the most sought-after aspects when choosing their ecommerce solutions, and Magento 2 ticks all these—and even more—boxes.
Due to its solid and secure architecture as well as inherent stability, scalability and efficiency, Magento is an excellent choice for a B2B business. What is more, Magento developers constantly work on their platform, improving its capacity with cutting-edge functionality.
Here are the three significant Magento B2B capabilities that are bound to make a difference for business-to-business ecommerce merchants.
A lively B2B marketplace cannot go without continuous changes: prices are modified, products are added, catalogs are created, new price rules are set up, and such. Consequently, each data modification should be followed by instant reindexing. However, frequent reindexing puts a considerable strain on the store resources and slows down page loading for actively browsing customers.
Magento 2 employs the background reindexing method that allows your store to remain accessible and function without lagging. Beyond that, Magento also allows store owners to schedule reindexing for the least busy hours in order to minimize the strain on the servers.
As versatile as Magento B2B is, on its own it will be insufficient for supporting your entire ecommerce ecosystem. So, most likely, you will need to utilize additional tools to run your store, such as ERP and PIM systems, marketing automation and accounting solutions, to name but a few. The Magento API provides for the smooth integration of all the essential services into your store, allowing you to create a consolidated infrastructure and eliminate workflow-hindering data silos.
Fraud can be rightfully called the greatest threat to online companies’ well-being, as this inflicts not only financial but also reputational losses. There are a great many actions you could take in order not to fall victim to cybercriminal schemes, and choosing an ecommerce platform with strong security measures is among the staples.
Magento 2 comes with the out-of-the-box integration with Signifyd, a proven fraud protection application. Signifyd automatically reviews each order for suspicious details and rejects fraudulent purchases. The app also guarantees to reimburse a criminal chargeback if the system failed to detect it.
In case you wish to employ a different fraud protection instrument, you can choose to connect your B2B with any solution that works for you—Magento flawlessly integrates with all major security tools.
Getting a Magento B2B Extension for Missing Functionality
The Magento 2 developers realize that it is impossible to create a product that can fully cater to all the growing and ever-changing demands of its users using just out-of-the-box options. So, instead of packing the platform with multiple specific features, they keep enhancing its integration-friendliness, making Magento extensions the most time- and cost-effective way to improve the platform’s default capacity.
Today, the official Magento Marketplace offers a wide range of B2B software packages for every need and budget. Below, you will find four hand-picked B2B modules that can become a worthy addition to your Magento online shop.
Mass Product Actions by Amasty
Managing a continuously expanding and changing product catalog can become quite a headache—but it does not have to be this way. Mass Product Actions will considerably simplify the management and configuration of large directories.
The extension allows to perform multiple product modifications en masse, for example:
- Edit product prices and special prices
- Change product attributes, such as descriptions and images
- Alter the up-sell, cross-sell and related products
- Assign items to different categories
- Update product information
Better Change Qty by Mageplaza
If the out-of-the-box Magento price rules setting is not enough to realize your ambitious promotional plans, Better Change Qty is a top tool for stepping up your game. This Magento B2B extension allows offering discounts that correlate with the number of ordered items: the larger the quantity, the greater the discount.
The merchant can choose from the default quantity steps or create custom discount rules and apply them to any product type and category. It’s also possible to configure the display of the tier price notification as needed, showing it to one customer and disabling it for another.
Magento 2 B2B Marketplace by Webkul
With this extension, you can convert your ordinary Magento B2B into a full-fledged marketplace quickly and with minimal efforts. Magento 2 B2B Marketplace transforms your online store into a user-friendly platform where suppliers from around the world can register, set up their personal microsites, and offer their merchandise to business buyers.
Webkul enhanced their extension with the following valuable B2B features:
- Bulk ordering
- Quick ordering by SKU
- Buyer-seller messaging
- Supplier review and rating
Magento 2 Configurable Product Grid Table View by BSSCommerce
The out-of-the-box Magento 2 offers customers only the basic features for working with configurable products. For instance, it does not support such actions as reviewing the stock availability for product variations or adding them to cart in bulk.
Created to compensate for this missing capabilities, Magento 2 Configurable Product Grid Table View enables users to:
- Present product variations in a table grid
- Show essential product information in the table
- Let the customer add several product variations to cart
- Display the grid view to selected customer groups
- Calculate the total quantity and price for ordered product variations
- Display the total quantity and price in the table
Magento 2 offers a solid technological stack that will cater to the needs of a B2B enterprise of any size and industry. At the same time, Magento customization allows businesses to modify both the storefront and back-office functionality and deliver a unique ecommerce experience. Beyond that, Magento is highly suitable for integrations and extensions, allowing owners to tailor their stores to specific needs without developing all the required features from scratch.
On the other hand, Magento is justly known as a rather complex solution with a steep learning curve for store admins and developers alike, so it’s a common practice for emerging B2B owners to turn to reliable ecommerce development partners for initial guidance. In the end, the outstanding results they can achieve with Magento compensate for additional investments.
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