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Top Trends That Might Shape Your B2B Strategy

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Posted by Brian Thomas - 06 June, 2019

How to Turn Your Magento Site Into a B2B Powerhouse

The Magento platform is widely known as the framework of choice for many B2C eCommerce companies. Although not as widely known, Magento is just as useful for B2B eCommerce. In fact, just recently in August, Magento Commerce was named a B2B leader in “The Forrester Wave: B2B Commerce Suites for Midsize Organizations, Q3 2017,” along with ten other providers that included BigCommerce, Oracle NetSuite, and SAP Hybris.

Why B2B eCommerce?

Before we further dig into the merits of Magento B2B, let’s first touch on the numbers powering online B2B. B2B eCommerce projections compiled by CMS Connected indicate that:

  • B2B online retail is expected to grow twice as big as the B2C eCommerce market by 2020, with revenues forecasted to reach $6.7 trillion
  • Frost & Sullivan projects that worldwide B2B eCommerce will cross the $12 trillion sales mark by 2020, which is an 8.11% annual growth rate from 2015’s $5.5. trillion
  • Forrester estimates that B2B eCommerce in the U.S. will grow to $1.3 trillion by 2020 from $855 billion in 2016

THe growth of B2B eCommerceImage source

Long story short, B2B eCommerce is on an upward trajectory, and as more B2B buyers prefer online experiences that mirror those of B2C, B2B organizations are failing to capitalize on the growing popularity of digital and online technology; specifically eCommerce solutions, will find themselves lagging behind their peers.

Unpacking the power of Magento B2B

So how do you turn your Magento ecommerce store into a B2B powerhouse?

#1. Magento B2B implementation

Out of the box, Magento comes with ready-to-use features that are best suited for B2C eCommerce. B2B customers, however, can still place their orders on an existing B2C eCommerce site in case you already have one. Magento has the necessary features (e.g., account management, payment methods, and pricing) to show the correct products and prices for each type of customer.

Still, Magento experts suggest that you create a separate B2B site for the following reasons:

  • Product catalog. You can enable or disable specific products per store, especially if your B2B offers are different from the B2C ones.
  • Price display. With B2B, you consider bulk pricing and special discounts per customer. Whereas with B2C, prices are generally the same for everyone. Also, in certain jurisdictions like some parts of Europe, for example, B2C prices commonly include VAT while B2B don’t.
  • Message. Chances are your unique selling propositions for B2B are different from B2C. If you use the same eCommerce site for both, it can be difficult to tailor your message altogether. Worse, you may end up confusing them.
  • Customer journey. The buying journey is also different for each type of customer. Where the B2C customer will often add products into their cart one by one, the B2B customer will merely reorder the same products from several weeks ago. 

#2. Automation integration

Magento integrates with a multitude of third-party tools, thereby extending the power of the platform beyond just what it offers on its own. 

Magento B2B marketplace

Extensions available in the Magento marketplace include:

  • Marketing automation: Oracle Marketing Cloud, Out of Stock Notification and Advanced Customer Segments by Amasty, The Feedback Company by Magmodules, Sold Together by Templates Master, and Predictive Replenishment Automator by Windsor Circle
  • Email marketing: SendGrid, TriggMine, Abandoned Cart Email by Magewares, Remarkety, MailChimp, and Wishlist Notification by Mates Marketing
  • SEO/SEM: Rich Snippets by WeltPixel, XML Google Sitemap, Blog by Pixlogix, Google Tag Manager Pro, and SEO Friendly Images by Zymion
  • CRM: Zoho CRM, HubSpot, Salesforce CRM, OroCRM, and SugarCRM
  • Accounting and finance: AvaTax, Connect Xero, Avalara Sales Tax Automation, and VAT Exempt by OSC Professionals
  • Shipping and fulfillment: Shipwire, Order Delivery Date by BssCommerce, Stitch Labs, Shipping Matrix Rates by Mageside, and UPS/USPS Address Validation by IWD Agency
  • Payments and security: Authorize.net, Stripe, PayPlug, FraudLabs Pro, Sage, Amazon Pay, and McAfee SECURE
  • Customer support: Zendesk Chat, Olark Live Chat, LiveAgent, FAQ by MagePrince, JivoChat, Facebook Live Chat, and Advanced FAQs by M-Connect Solutions
  • B2B credit: Apruve

Apruve B2B credit management for Magento

#3. Dedicated B2B transactional services

Magento offers specialized B2B features as separate modules (see automation integration above) and has developer APIs you can use to add in-house functionalities not available in the Magento marketplace. 

Just recently, it also released Magento Digital Commerce Cloud for B2B, which bundles critical B2B features out of the box, so you don’t have to add them from scratch. Among the features included are:

  • Corporate account management with different roles and access permissions, plus multiple buyer levels and payment on credit
  • Quick ordering where customers can upload an SKU list, copy previous orders, and use requisition lists 
  • Quoting to pricing in a streamlined workflow
  • Personalized pricing and custom catalogs for the right groups of customers
  • Real-time inventory management to showcase available inventory across multiple locations
  • Smart routing and order delivery where the best fulfillment source is selected to help customers save on shipping costs 
  • Multichannel support to serve multiple customer types from various geographies through the same platform
  • Integration with backend systems such as ERP and CRM via pre-built extensions and developer APIs

#4. Magento mobile store and responsive capability

Because more and more B2B buyers are using their mobile devices for work, statistics collated by eMarketer point to the importance of a B2B mobile journey “that is seamless with the rest of their engagement.” For the generations of B2B buyers that believed their mobile device was vital for work, millennials led the charge at 84%, Gen X at 76%, and baby boomers at 60%. 

These numbers are bound to change as more baby boomers leave the workforce, and more millennials take on leadership roles.

Thankfully, Magento comes with mobile-responsive themes that you can implement right away. 

Make the most out of your Magento B2B site today

Magento is an option worth considering when looking into building your B2B eCommerce site. It has the features and extensions your site will need to provide your customers with a website that allows them to quickly pick and order the goods they need, without having to deal with sometimes obnoxious salespeople.

Become a Magento B2B Powerhouse

Which other Magento B2B features did we miss? Let us know in the comments.

Topics: B2B eCommerce, B2B Sales, Magento, Sales & Marketing

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