As growth often tops the polls for many companies’ future plans, going B2B is by far the best method to do it. Not only that through its online status it can help businesses reach all levels of the market audience whenever and wherever across the globe, but at the same time, selling with a higher-order value to a smaller number of customers means a trimmed–down product and services cost.
Both the B2B and B2C business models place customers at their core, but it seems like this is where the similarities stop. The sheer scale of the B2B market is almost six times bigger than its smaller counterpart, and it is imperative to emphasize that every part from product and order management to marketing strategies and sales processes, is different. And eCommerce platforms had to adapt for satisfying their needs accordingly.
At OAK3, we have been developing B2C and B2B eCommerce platforms for more than 10 years. Our certified developers have great expertise working with Magento and Shopware, so if you want to know more about which platform you should choose for your eCommerce solution, please contact us or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re here to help!
High impact vs customized solutions
We all know that great products sell, and this is the reason why B2C projects focus on providing that eye-catching experience. Because the buying decision is based on personal preferences and emotional impulses, it’s essential for B2C eCommerce platforms to showcase their products in a way that grabs the attention of their target customers. Pricing is kept simple, usually the same for all customers, except for promotional activities based on segmentation.
On the other hand, due to having a more logical and planned procurement process, with higher levels of order values, the B2B model requires presenting products with more specialized information, such as brochures and manuals. With pricing based on negotiation and subject to quotations and contracts, each B2B buyer needs highly customized solutions to fit his own business.
B2B orders are more complex than the average B2C online sales, due to the sheer volume involved. And this triggers a whole set of challenges. If in B2C, product identifiers are not of paramount importance, and customers can order by product names, in B2B SKUs are often referred to throughout the purchasing process. As purchases are often made in bulk, B2B transactions also require an accurate stock inventory and the ability to distribute to different locations where stores are located, whereas in B2C e-stores, a simple “in stock” message will suffice.
Simplicity vs flexible payment options
It is well known that B2C often means impulse buying. Promotional events will generate increased traffic, but at the same time, buyers have no time. All they want is to grab the products and be on their way. Large and clumsy checkouts can frustrate even the most eager consumers, and this is why in B2C, the checkout process has to be kept simple.
On the other hand, B2B clients are more focused on having more flexibility when it comes to the checkout process. Companies may still use traditional methods like paper checks or wire transfers, or they might have gone digital. B2B eCommerce platforms must be prepared to have flexible but streamlined workflow engines that serve both traditional and modern options.
Magento for B2B
We are strong advocates for Magento B2B and we believe it to be the best B2B eCommerce platform out there. The power of Magento B2B comes from its flexibility and scalability. Customizable with over a thousand high-quality integrations and extensions, there is no stone left unturned.
Merchants can set up their Magento B2B e-commerce site and integrate it with their ERP or CRM resources, to overcome order size challenges. At the same time, Magento B2B provides a quick order solution, by allowing direct SKU search, the use of requisition lists, or copying a previous order for fast checkout. With Magento B2B e-commerce, merchants can tailor experiences to specific groups of companies based on their browsing behavior or purchase history.
B2B e-commerce depends largely on building trust and long-term relationships. With Magento B2B, merchants can store all payment and purchase transactions, and allocate credit limits to credible buyers, following that during checkout, buyers can opt for the “payment on account” option.
When it comes to managing products, Magento B2B is a real powerhouse that takes your commerce capabilities to the next level. With real-time inventory information across the supply chain, merchants allow their distributors to know how much inventory they have across multiple locations, deliver a better experience, and increase sales. Pair that with a robust quotation system that allows buyers to request a quote and negotiate prices, the ability to build responsive e-commerce websites that permit buyers to effortlessly place orders from any device, at any time, and you have your image as a trusted merchant sorted.
Last but not least, the extensive list of security features means that your Magento B2B e-commerce website is always up-to-date to keep pace with the online world.
OAK3’s B2B projects
At OAK3, we have a strong team of certified specialists with great expertise in developing eCommerce platforms for B2B online stores. Here are some of the projects we have been involved in over the years.
Cupio is one of our long-term collaborators and our relationship goes back a few years. If initially, they contracted us to build their B2C e-store, the idea to develop a B2B platform soon followed. The project involved multiple customizations to simplify purchases. We integrated a multi-user account, which allowed companies to register multiple user accounts to enhance the shopping experience and get more orders quickly. At the same time, we added the possibility to select multiple products and Mass add to cart from the product listing page.
Last but not least, we integrated a Fast order function where customers were able to upload .csv files with multiple items and add them to cart, without the need to add each product manually.
Fulton Fish Market B2B
Fulton Fish Market approached us back in 2014 to design its B2B eCommerce platform. The project was based on the idea of making fresh fish available with an emphasis on quick ordering. We used Magento Enterprise as the solution, coupled with a proprietary WMS. The B2B website, which can be visited at chef.fultonfishmarket.com, is dedicated to restaurants and chefs. Some of the key features are custom lists for quick ordering – tailored for each user, product-level specifications, tiered, and negotiated pricing, and features geared towards the sales team.
The entire UI, especially on mobiles, was developed to facilitate the ease of online buying for chefs that needed to order fast and easy. At the same time, we developed a proprietary WMS solution, which integrates with Magento and seamlessly pulls orders, and allows the Fulton team to ensure fast delivery to each customer. The hardware needed to operate the platform – scales, barcode scanners, temperature sensors, and printers, were also integrated by OAK3.
B2B project for pharmaceutical company
Back in 2015, we were approached by a consulting company to develop the B2B platform for one of the top pharmacy and healthcare products enterprises operating in the UK and Ireland. The technical difficulty lied in the fact that the platform needed to be capable of handling high volumes of orders whilst maintaining the accuracy of inventory data.
At the same time, the platform had to be able to show each client a distinct set of pricing, such as trade price, net price, rebate, discount, and settlement discounts, as well as a My Account dashboard featuring past orders, invoices, accumulator for rebates and an entire online returns workflow. The agreed solution was Magento Enterprise, with tight integration to SAP, the ERP already in use. You can read more about this project here…
One of our current projects, Hinkley B2B is pretty suggestive regarding the trends that this market is looking towards for the future. Hinkley contracted us to develop their B2B outlet website, but focusing on a more personalized user experience, a feature that was more prevalent in B2C e-shops in the past. Our answer was to use the B2B module from Magento commerce, extended with different custom functionalities.
When merchants enter their customer number, acquired through a contract with Hinkley, a validation module connects to the remote MsSQL database on an Amazon Web Services server. The database works as a sync server between Macola – the ERP, and Magento. After validating the customer number, the form with the data coming from Macola is pre-populated. The registration request must be moderated by the administrators. Once accepted, the customer is automatically assigned to an existing or newly-created customer group defined by a similar price type, hence creating a more personalized shopping experience.