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Around three and more decades ago, businesses that wanted to purchase products from other businesses did it exclusively in the traditional, “physical” form. That is, a representative arranged a meeting, came to the seller’s office, held negotiations, and, finally, signed a contract.
This ages-long pattern changed when e-commerce B2B websites saw the light of day. They made it possible to buy large batches of merchandise over the Internet, almost completely eliminating the need for personal contact.
As e-commerce evolved and new systems were developed, the number of companies that bought goods in bulk online grew exponentially, as well as the revenue that e-commerce B2B companies generated.
According to Statista, the total B2B e-commerce sales in the United States in 2021 are projected to reach the staggering number of 1.2 trillion dollars. At the same time, retail e-commerce sales in America this year are expected to amount to just 407 billion dollars. With such a huge gap, it’s no surprise that more and more companies want to launch B2B online stores and seek professional Magento B2B development services.
There’s one big challenge that these entrepreneurs have to rise to, though: choosing a powerful and flexible online platform. After all, it’s one thing to deal with individual consumers, but it’s a different thing altogether to sell goods to corporations. You need more non-standard, advanced features to meet the tough requirements of business mammoths.
Some aspects to consider when looking for a good e-commerce B2B solution include:
- Payment methods suitable for corporate customers rather than for individuals
- Easy ordering of large quantities of products
- A simple way to repeat previous purchases
- The ability to determine prices for different categories of customers based on specific criteria
- A way to perform inventory management for multiple warehouses and storefronts
- A way to receive a quote and discuss prices and conditions online before striking a deal
… and many more.
One of the best B2B e-commerce platforms that has what it takes to successfully deal with large companies is Magento. This veteran of the e-commerce world, released in 2008, used to be a leader in the B2C domain as well. However, many new hosted e-commerce solutions have entered the market in recent years. They made launching Internet stores a breeze for “mere mortals,” robbing Magento of its hard-won status.
While still fighting in the B2C trenches, the Magento development team shifted the focus to B2B e-commerce and did it just in time to rush ahead of the competition with the release of Magento 2. The long list of the B2B capabilities that Magento 2 provides off the shelf is impressive. Let’s review some of these.
Suppose we’ve asked an aspiring B2B merchant what he or she wants from an e-commerce platform and told them what Magento 2 could offer to meet their needs. Here’s what we got.
#1: I’d like my customers to request a quote and discuss prices and conditions online just like they do in a brick-and-mortar business setting
Magento B2B e-commerce solution can give you that and much more to exceed all your expectations. It puts at your disposal a cutting-edge quotation system. From within the shopping cart, a customer can click the corresponding button to ask you, the merchant, for a quote.
Upon receiving the quote, the customer can start discussing it with you. Here are some actions they can perform:
- Write a message
- Ask to increase or decrease the volume of products
- Upload/download documentation
- Ask to lower the price
- Learn where the goods are at the moment
At the other end, you can:
- Offer a different price
- Propose similar merchandise
- Provide specific delivery terms
- Limit a quote’s term of validity so that the customer should act more promptly
In short, you can discuss a deal with a customer online almost as if you were sitting in your office. Note that the quotation system is one of Magento Commerce B2B features available out of the box rather than as an add-on, which was the case in the past.
#2: I’d like my customers to place an order as quickly as possible, automating the process to the maximum
We’ve all done online shopping as individual customers. You scan a catalog for goods and select what you need by adding it to the shopping cart. Then, you head to the checkout and pay. You do all this manually. Depending on the types and number of items, this process can be quite long. In general, though, you don’t buy many things, so manual selection is not much of a problem.
It’s a different story with B2B customers. Products are purchased in large quantities, so the typical B2C customer experience is out of the question. A different approach is required. The Magento B2B development team realized this and offered users the list-upload method instead of having them click on each individual item.
Knowing the SKUs of products they want to buy, users can simply add a list of these SKUs to the system. The former will check them for validity and ensure that the products are in stock. That’s it. The order will be formed with no need to scroll down page after page, clicking when a user stumbles upon a desired item. Besides, customers can use the same order in the future to save time.
#3: I’d like multiple payment options for my customers, including payments on credit
This is quite understandable. Traditional B2C payment methods, such as PayPal, are not always suitable for e-commerce B2B websites. As products are bought in bulk, there’s much more money involved than in B2C. Online merchants should clearly show their customers that they trust them.
To address this task, the Magento 2 B2B solution offers a list of features that allow customers of a B2B website to pay on credit. These are some useful functions that online merchants can perform as far as credit payments are concerned:
- Single out VIP users and provide more lenient credit terms for them
- Provide credit only to users with a good credit history
- Keep a CRM or ERP in sync with credit limits by using connectors
- Keep logs of all transactions for each individual user
This strengthens the ties between you and your customers. They will keep ordering more products in the future, bringing you a stable flow of revenue.
#4: I’d like the B2B e-commerce platform to seamlessly integrate with my key business systems and third-party solutions
With the Magento 2 B2B e-commerce platform, integrating various ERPs and CRMs is as easy as ABC. This is possible thanks to numerous APIs in the form of services and web APIs.
Everything on the list of Magento 2 B2B features has the corresponding API, such as creating a shared catalog, defining a company credit limit, or managing a company account. A Magento developer or development agency can leverage these APIs to streamline your business processes and make running your B2B website smooth and trouble-free.
We’ve reviewed just four features of the Magento B2B e-commerce platform. Even these show how great Mangetno is for selling products to big businesses over the Internet. In addition to multiple payment methods, integration with external systems through APIs, quick order placement, and an advanced quotation system, there are many more cutting-edge B2B capabilities the platform provides out of the box.
While Magento 2 is definitely one of the undisputed B2B e-commerce leaders, merchants still need to go the extra mile to make their online stores perfect from the aesthetic and functional viewpoints. This is where the PSD2HTML Magento development team can bring you real value.
Our varied portfolio of services includes everything from Magento theme and extension development to Magento migration and performance optimization. We can help you provide the best customer experience for your Magento store. Let’s discuss your project today!