Today I’m gonna tell you something about Magento B2B. I’ll start with our case study of TIM.pl – a B2B site which is doing few dozen millions of EUR a year.
It’s been built on Magento 1. If you’re considering B2B implementation right now – You must take a look at Magento 2.2 with all the B2B features already included. I’ll tell you why and show you how the 2.2 B2B features look like!
B2B eCommerce is not only about checkout; I’ll present your other puzzles, some quick wins: PIM and Self-service platforms, open source ready to deploy and integrate quickly.
B2B Perspectives in general
How B2B perspectives for eCommerce look like? Well, very promising:
- Nearly 75% of B2B buyers say buying from an eCommerce site is more convenient that buying from a sales rep.
- 30% of today’s B2B buyers finalize at least half of their purchases online. By 2017, this will nearly have doubled to 56%.
- 60% of B2B companies – their B2B buyers spend more when interacting with multiple channels.
What’s funny – as Ben Marks recently acknowledged – Magento was leading B2B platform even before any B2B feature has been included.
Magento 1 B2B is possible but costly and challenging. Definitely not for starters.
TIM.pl case study
We know how it’s gone from the trenches. Our largest B2B platform, TIM.pl base on Magento 1.
It’s a case of Digital Transformation for the whole company (including logistics, offer, and processes), even described in Harvard Business Review. They went from 100% offline to 90% online business.
The project was the huge investment. It took us initially 18 months to develop the site with enormous design effort – figuring out how the features should look like because there were rare reference cases. We decided to go with Magento 1 because it was business proof although almost no required B2B features were available – even by 3rd party extensions – back then. So Magento flexibility was another reason – because we added a lot, lot of custom logic.
We had to implement very custom pricing algorithms into Magento, integrations with ERP, CRM, WMS, quick order, credit limits, multiple carts, customized logistic options and so on. After launching the MVP release, with business growing few percents each week we started to add new features – working in SCRUM teams.
B2B features on Magento
We’ve learned a lot about B2B. Which features are used, which ones generate money and how to design user experience.
Here are the key B2B features based on the real-world usage statistics:
- Custom pricing,
- Quotes & negotiations,
- Quick Order,
- Credit Limits,
- Company structure support,
- Loyalty – self/service,
- PIM – often used as a starter
In our case, almost 80% of business requirements are covered by new Magento standard features. Imagine how much could we save back then!
To know the product better we managed to extend our relationship with Magento B2B product team, even contributing some code and features to the core.
Doing so, we learned the platform in details. I must admit it’s really a well-engineered solution: with support for queues, batch processing and support for large number of SKUs ( the key feature for our case – aiming at 1 mln SKU).
Custom pricing / shared catalogs
B2B is about relationships and custom pricing assigned to specific companies. Magento 2.2 allows you to create many specific price lists and assign them to companies. You can have also one default public pricing – accessible for non-logged in users.
It’s possible to limit the visibility of products or categories in specific pricing and to set up the prices based on percentage discount as well as a custom value.
Another popular B2B feature is a credit limit. It allows companies to finish checkout with postponed payments. Usually, credit limits are connected to merchant credibility and limited base on the purchase and payments history.
Magento 2.2 comes with account model per company where all payment and purchase transactions are stored. During the checkout, a client can choose “Payment on account” as a payment method which automatically decreases the limit.
Credit limits can be synchronized (customization required) with ERP
Exposing to B2B clients you cannot be blind on how the buying processes work like in real world.
Usually, there is an approval process for orders, subsidiaries within one account, buying specialists responsible for accepting the quotes and orders.
Company structure is a totally new feature which allows you to map your client account structure, assign clients reps. to specific roles and setup role based permission on specific views and actions within the platform.
If B2B is about relationships then negotiations must be part of the buying process. And it usually is.
So it’s not surprising sophisticated Quotation engine is included in new version of Magento.
You can convert your cart to quote instead of sending an order. Then the merchant can answer to it setting up the prices, adding comments.
Two-way communication between user account front end panel and admin panel is provided.
TIM.pl is an example of a B2B platform which is used more like the transactional platform and self-service system than typical shop.
What do I mean is – users usually use the platform during the working day with sessions last 4-8 hours. They create separate cart (multiple cart feature) for separate clients, complete the orders during the day and then send them.
Requisition lists is a new feature of Magento2.2 that allows your users to do just that. You can convert carts to requisition lists back and forth and store many of them within the account.
The last feature I would like to show you is the quick order. When it comes to B2B users they usually exactly know what they need down to product SKUs. They don’t want to browse the fancy product descriptions and pictures.
Why not give them what they exactly need? The quick order is about that.
Full B2B eCommerce implementation can take some time – 0.5-1 year to publish the first version. Pricing rules and integrations are usually what consumes most efforts.
It’s not surprising that many companies start with the eProduct catalog, especially producers.
PIM is a quick win here. It’s possible to start with pilot/proof of concept implementation within 1-2 months using tools like Pimcore.
Ready-made, business proof, enterprise-grade features, great UX, based on Symfony framework.
If you’re interested just drop me your email and we can schedule a demo!
Self-service / loyalty
Self-service is another quick win for B2B which allows you to decrease the costs of service and improve the overall experience with your brand.
Open loyalty is an open source platform for building engaging / loyalty programs as well as building your central database for all the purchases, clients and events.
It gathers the information from all channels – online and offline and merges them into 360deg of a customer.
The platform consist of 3 panels:
- POS application
- Clients panel
- Admin panel / CRM like application
It bases on event sourcing design pattern and it’s built implementing the microservices architecture.
One of the use cases in B2B is to make the agents loyal by programming rewards rules that promote selection of your offer among the others on. You can click through and create such solution within 2-4 weeks without major custom development.
Let’s schedule a demo, or visit our Github to learn more!
Just drop me your e-mail: email@example.com
Published May 24, 2017