Is Magento the right platform for B2B eCommerce

Care to share?

Customers often ask us about B2B eCommerce solutions. We’ve been operating since 2008 and we have tried many eCommerce platforms in that time. Today, Magento is still usually the best choice.

Why you should consider Magento:

  • Magento is currently the most popular eCommerce software.
  • Magento is the most popular platform to migrate to.
  • You have the producer’s support and a flexible license model – you can use an open source version or buy Magento Enterprise.
  • The software provides a rich set of ready-to-use features.
  • Magento 2.0 is a great piece of software.

Magento as a B2B platform

Magento is great, but it’s primarily designed for B2C rather than B2B.You should consider these points when thinking about Magento as a B2B platform:

  • Adding products faster (with photos and videos) – you can use a dedicated software, like PimCore or Akaneo.
  • Marketing automation that actually works and is easy to use. We suggest trying Mautic.
  • Recommendation engine: When your business is growing, at some level you’ll need to differentiate from your competitors. One of the best ways is to build your own recommendation engine. This engine will personalize your website for every visitor to help them buy and improve your conversion rate. You can build your own reco engine based on Hadoop.
  • Search that works like Google: This is crucial for usability. SOLR is definitely a worth considering player.
  • CRM allows your sales reps to work on your clients’ accounts. You can use OroCRM platform, built by the same guys who build Magento.
  • Probably you will also need some custom B2B modules, like: a tree structure of the clients’ account, payment methods, and a flexible shopping cart (e.g. converting shopping cart to an offer).

You can address these issues by using specific dedicated software. We prefer to use open-source because of its flexibility, so we created Omnichannel Open Architecture. You can build quite a complex omnichannel solution based on open source modules.

B2B Dedicated Functions

To give you a general overview on B2B functions at your disposal, I’ve made this short list. These are the most common B2B functions we implement in our projects:

  • List of verified contractors,
  • Individual or collective negotiation of discounts / price lists,
  • Wholesale ordering system with the use of advanced techniques, such as ordering files or offering creation,
  • Consultants who can accept the order on behalf of the customer by phone / email / during a meeting,
  • Saving and sharing the cart content,
  • Forms of payments that are typical for B2B (for instance a trade credit).

In the cases like this one, all the dedicated functions are implemented as extra Magento modules. That way, you are still able to update your Magento, which is crucial for safety reasons.

Magento is still the best Price-2-Value choice but you should also consider software packages like SAP hybris and Oro Platform. I will write more about them next time.

If you are interested in B2B eCommerce, you can download ”How to become successful“ whitepaper. We based it on the expertise we’ve got from a number of B2B projects and generalized it to find the golden rules of B2B eCommerce

ps. Photo source – TIM’s Case Study of B2B Digital Transformation

Published March 2, 2016