Iflexion
Magento for B2B Commerce

Magento for B2B Commerce: A Match Made in Heaven

There is a fundamental difference between catering to consumers and catering to other companies. Businesses don’t play around when it comes to spending their money. They operate on a different level of scalability. It requires them to be agile and more efficient in every aspect of running their business.

Losing a consumer is relatively painless for an eCommerce store. But losing a top-dollar B2B customer can be devastating.

At the same time, business decision makers are consumers too. Like everybody else, they don’t like navigating confusing, poorly optimized and dull websites. In fact, Gartner predicts that consumerizing B2B will increase revenue by 25% for those B2B brands that are willing to commit to this transformation.

That’s why Magento is an excellent choice for a B2B business. It provides the necessary technical and operational tools to sustain a global enterprise. And it is all layered within an infrastructure and functionality that was primarily developed for consumer-related commerce.

In this article, we’ll discuss how exactly Magento drives consumerization of B2B enterprises. So stick around if you’d like to find out why P&G, 3M, and other Fortune 500 brands use Magento for B2B commerce.

Business-specific Features

There is a variety of eCommerce platforms out there. But not many of them focus on B2B backend functionality that treats companies as if they were consumers. The best case scenario for many of them is a third-party solution that enables these features. In worst cases, these platforms are downright impossible to use for B2B due to their locked and restricted nature.

Magento has plenty of features that were specifically designed for business customers to facilitate their onboarding and purchasing experience, as well as improve retention.

  • Account Management

Many consumers prefer self-service. Same goes for businesses. It’s easier to run a smooth operation when your employee, and not a third party, is responsible for purchasing and managing different orders, services, and products. Magento 2 allows corporate clients to create accounts on their own, moderate buyer personas within the accounts, and track purchases. For example, with the company’s credit history, clients can track their credit limit at your store. So you can easily incentivize clients by opening up lines of credit for them, thus improving retention.

customers-company-create-company-credit-admin

Source: Magento

  • Art of the Deal

Pricing negotiations is an inseparable part of B2B commerce, especially when you’re dealing with bulk / wholesale customers. You can often get dragged into endless email chains and messages discussing quotes, then manually inputting them into the system for tracking.

Magento allows you to create a streamlined quoting experience that incorporates most of these steps. The customer can place a quote right from the shopping cart. You can update the quote, change its status or accept it. This activity is logged within Magento, and you can set up email notifications whenever a client has taken action with a specific quote.

There are also neat little marketing tricks baked into the quoting process, like quote expiration, which allows you to set a period within which the quote is active to give the customer a little nudge and create a sense of urgency around the pricing.

quotes

Source: Magento

This functionality is perfect for companies that sell large quantities of products or services in a competitive market where pricing plays an essential role in the customer’s decision-making process.

  • Flexible Prices

The shared Catalog feature allows you to create a curated list of products, which can be subjected to custom pricing rules. You can set discounts based on a product volume and enable a specific type of discount that you want to apply – a fixed amount or a percentage. This shared catalog can later be assigned to particular companies/clients/segments and easily changed without affecting your main catalog.

catalogs-shared-grid

Source: Magento

This is a powerful marketing and client retention feature that simplifies pricing optimization and marketing campaigns on your website.

  • Simplified Re-ordering

If you’re serving a large enterprise, it’s likely that they’ll be making repeat purchases. Unless, of course, you screw up their shopping experience. That’s why facilitating these repeat purchases is crucial. We’ve mentioned this in our previous article, but it’s important to remind you that returned customers are the core of your business.

requisition-list-view

Source: Magento

That’s why Magento offer requisition lists that allow your clients to create, edit, and manage recurring purchases. Think of them as your standard eCommerce wishlists, but on steroids. Each company can have up to 999 lists within your store. They can be grouped for better management and tracking, like ‘monthly purchases’ or ‘weekly stock-ups’.

  • Great Anti-Fraud Options

Although you can choose to connect any fraud protection solution that works with B2B businesses, latest Magento versions offer integration with Signifyd right out of the box. It’s already built into Magento, so companies don’t have to connect or install anything. Signifyd offers a relatively reasonable pricing, but the most critical aspect of this product is the chargeback guarantee that they offer.

Essentially, they reimburse any fraudulent chargebacks that were processed within your store. That’s the epitome of ‘putting your money where your mouth is’.

  • Consumerizing B2B Functionality

Magento’s functionality is significantly augmented by extensions available within the marketplace. While the B2B niche is not prevalent in Magento’s marketplace, there are still plenty of extensions, explicitly geared towards enterprises that sell to other businesses. Not to mention that many of the standard Magento extensions are going to be useful for a B2B company.

Technical Features

Of course, all of the above features aren’t going to be useful unless your Magento store has the necessary backbone to handle B2B operations. These essential technical pre-requisites include stable performance, scalability, reliability, and efficiency. And Magento ticks these boxes with ease.

  • Lightning-Fast Deployment

The recent addition of the improved configurations export feature shrinks deployment time to minutes. So getting your code from staging to production is a fast, simple, and practically risk-free process.

Zero Downtime Deployments (if no DB change)

Source: Magento:Live UK 2017

  • Integration

Magento offers API access to its latest features. So ERP and PIM integration with your new and shiny Magento store will not be a problem.

  • Improved Indexing

In layman’s terms, indexing is the process of updating/displaying store information. For example, a price change or a product description update. Every time a change like that occurs, your store gets reindexed. Now imagine a B2B marketplace, where a lot of people are browsing, and a lot of information is updated all the time. This puts a considerable strain on your store’s resources.

However, Magento uses a particular grouping method that bundles indexers running in your store for a while. This improves the overall store performance and minimizes strain on your server’s memory, which also improves cost efficiency.

  • Latest Tech Stack for the Coding Connoisseur

Magento supports PHP 7.1 – one of the latest versions of this programming language. It also supports MySQL 5.7 for your database needs and incorporates Varnish 5 – one of the latest versions of the caching technology that’s perfect for sites that are heavy on various types of content.

The latest versions of Magento have a layered application architecture. Simply put, Magento 2 business logic is separate from its presentation logic. This allows businesses to change the appearance and visual elements of their website without making any changes to their backend.

Additionally, if your development team works on a custom extension for your store, this separation provides a more straightforward navigation with predictable code locations. This setup improves the velocity of the development cycle for extensions. These combined technologies create a stable, reliable and versatile software ecosystem for building out B2B websites.

Afterword

Please note that the overview above is describing technical capabilities of Magento 2.0 and its later versions. If you’re thinking about choosing Magento as your preferred B2B eCommerce platform, anything older than 2.0 won’t have any technological and organizational sense. The older versions aren’t as functional and don’t have the same tech stack.

Magento 2 offers a myriad of solutions that can work for practically any B2B industry. The highly-customizable nature of this platform means that any business can modify it however they please. It’s a complex system, so if you’re looking for a reliable eCommerce development partner with extensive Magento experience and a track record of successful implementations – feel free to reach out to us.

What’s your favorite B2B feature in Magento 2? Would you add any specific B2B functionality that’s not there yet in Magento 2? Share your thoughts and ideas below.

Ivan Kot

Ivan is a Senior Manager at Iflexion, focusing on business development in verticals such as eCommerce, Business Automation, and cutting-edge tools such as Blockchain of Business. He began his career as a developer, taking different positions in both web and mobile development projects, and eventually shifted focus to project management and team coordination. Ivan’s everyday motto is: if something has to be done, it has to be done right.

Follow Us

Ecommerce Solutions

Stop shunning challenges as we’ve got the digital solution your ecommerce needs to face them. Learn more about our tailored offers.

TELL ME MORE