70% of Enterprise customers use Magento for either solely B2B or hybrid B2B/B2C commerce and Forrester predicts B2B ecommerce sales in the US to reach $1.13T by 2020 representing 12.1% of all sales. Even though Magento is the top ecommerce platform on Internet Retailer’s 2017 B2B 300 Guide for the 2nd straight year, there were still some commonly requested B2B ecommerce features that weren’t native to the platform. Stores selling products to businesses had to leverage a Systems Integrator, like Blue Acorn iCi, to custom develop new functionality to match their unique business processes. This meant expensive development for sometimes a very small group of high-purchasing users. However, on September 27th, Magento released Magento Commerce & Commerce Cloud Edition 2.2, which includes Magento B2B features and functionality.
Magento Commerce B2B features handle many B2B requirements out-of-the-box, reducing the cost and complexity of implementations, so merchants can get to market faster. For the purpose of this article, I’m going to review a list of commonly requested features from B2B clients and the approach and functionality the Magento B2B team has developed to solve them.
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B2B Need: Parent / Child Order Approvals
When you sell products to another business, you often aren’t selling to just one buyer. Many companies have multiple locations with multiple buyers and designated approvers of those purchases. Setting up company hierarchies and allowing access and approvals can require a good deal of custom development on most traditional ecommerce platforms.
New B2B Magento Feature: Corporate Account Management
New self-service account tools for selling to corporate accounts with multiple buyers and layered organizational structures include:
- Submit a request for a company account
- Designate a “super user” to manage the company’s account
- Drag and drop buyers into the hierarchy to match the business structure
- View and approve orders and quotes for direct reports
Company profiles can map easily to many use cases including teams, divisions or regions. Each company (and buyer) can have their own set of roles and permissions, purchasing and shipping options, and even specific catalogs and pricing (more on that below).
Blue Acorn iCi customized Magento’s corporate account management tool and implemented several of Magento’s B2B native functionality for SouthernCarlson’s B2B online experience. Read about it here,
B2B Need: Self-Service Quotes and Approvals
B2B commerce can be an inherently more complicated process due to larger bulk orders, endless product customization options, and additional negotiations around pricing and terms. Adding quote functionality and new business processes into a traditional ecommerce system can take lots of customization and development that may not be forward compatible.
New B2B Magento Feature: Quoting
After configuration of the new B2B functionality, Magento 2 stores will be able to offer customers the ability to request a quote from the cart, previous quotes or orders. Quote functionality can be turned on at the global level, at a dollar threshold, or at the company account level. Admins can easily title each quote for easy tracking, add comments, and even upload relevant files (including reseller certificates, right to buy, etc.) to streamline the process. The merchant then has the option to make changes, add products, submit a new price, or deny the quote request. Merchants can also configure expiration dates for quotes and optionally include shipping charges. To prevent conflicting updates you can easily put the quote in a locked state during negotiations. My Quotes will appear in the customer’s My Account section with the current status of their quotes and a full list of change history.
Merchants can easily manage and track quotes in a customizable and searchable summary view with access to quote details and history log of updates and communications. During the negotiation process, merchants can optimize the proposal with cost data and discount calculation tools, negotiate both product and shipping pricing, suggest additional SKUs or substitutions, and even add comments and attachments to explain their proposal.
B2B Need: Quick Order / Reordering
Magento Commerce included native ”Order by SKU” functionality as a widget allowing customers to enter the SKU and quantity directly into a form or upload as a CSV file. B2B merchants expect that functionality to be even more robust, user-friendly, and easy to find. Another common B2B request is to repurpose and reconfigure native wishlists to include more B2B features allowing companies to have a set list of items they periodically reorder.
New B2B Magento Feature: Streamlined Order / Reorder Processes
Magento Commerce 2.2 brings “Quick Order” functionality front and center featured in the site header (instead of just My Account page) and includes easier order creation combined with live validation of submissions against catalog to validate the SKU and confirm inventory is available.
Also, requisition lists are now available (in addition to native wishlists) which allow customers to create lists of frequently purchased products for easy reordering. Merchants can set up as many lists as needed and assign lists to specific buyers. Requisition lists are also easy to create by manually entering SKUs, copying previous orders, or directly add to a list from product and category pages.
B2B Need: Customer-specific products and pricing
While Magento has included a rich feature set of advanced promotions, category permissions, and customer groups for a while (allowing some degree of product and pricing personalization) true B2B customer-specific custom catalogs required additional custom development.
New B2B Magento Feature: Custom catalog and pricing
Magento Commerce 2.2 now includes the ability to easily configure company and individual-specific product pricing and catalogs. When setting up the catalog SKU pricing can be set to fixed or as dynamic discounts using pricing rules against the default catalog. These customized catalogs and pricing can also be integrated with your ERP to keep everything in sync across platforms.
B2B Need: B2B Payment Options
Magento 2.1 B2B payment options included purchase orders, invoice me, and sophisticated authentications for various options—PO limits, good credit standing, etc.
New B2B Magento Feature: Payments on Account
With the newest version, the Magento B2B team has introduced a new payment method allowing customers to checkout by applying charges to their account. In the admin portal, you can limit this payment option to orders with a subtotal over a minimum and/or under a maximum amount. You can also integrate with external systems to check customer credit status before approving the payment on account method on checkout.
Interested in learning more
If you’re interested in learning more, you can reach out for a chat with Blue Acorn iCi. We’d love to hear about your needs and review how Magento can help you hit your goals.
Note: Since the release of this article, Magento announced the end of support for version 2.2. Read more about it here.