This is part of a series. See here for the initial post and a list of all the articles in the series – Better B2B eCommerce solutions are coming


Let’s imagine that you are a manufacturer or distributor selling a range of products. You have a team of sales reps that process orders on behalf of their customers or accounts. These sales reps may be your direct employees or partners.

If you don’t have a web based solution for your sales reps to process orders then they are likely meeting with their customers, collecting orders, then processing those orders manually in your ERP or over the phone.

As I mentioned in the past, I’m managing a team at xTuple that’s building a B2B eCommerce solution called “xTupleCommerce”. With our system they can do all this work on the eCommerce site. Your Sales Reps will be able to log into the site and use the Sales Rep Utility to purchase on behalf of their customers.

A sales rep may have a long list of accounts that they manage. When they log into the eCommerce site they would start by updating the specific customer that they are currently representing. They’d also have the ability to choose a specific ship-to address and a future ship date for the order.

They would then continue adding items to the cart just like a typical eCommerce Shopping Cart and they could process the order (either via a credit card or on the customers credit).

There are a few more layers of complexity here.

Pricing Schedules

Your sales reps may have negotiated unique pricing schedules with you. Once they log into your eCommerce site they will see the product price update to reflect these negotiated prices.

Saved Carts for their accounts

Let’s imagine that your sales rep is slowly building orders over a period of time. Maybe their accounts only process purchases on a quarterly basis. As they begin building a cart for your customer, they can save that cart to their profile and re-activate the cart at any time. Additionally, they can save notes and references along with the cart to help them stay organized.

Templated Carts for their accounts

In some cases your sales reps will have customers that order the same products time and time again. Perhaps those accounts are simply stocking their shelves every quarter and the products rarely change. Your sales rep can save what we call “Templated Carts” that represent their accounts. When they are ready to start a new transaction for a customer they will simply activate a “Templated Cart”, update quantities and possibly add/remove products from the cart before making the transaction.

Multiple Ship To Addresses

If the sales rep’s accounts have multiple addresses to order for, the Sales Rep can choose which is the required address at this time. For instance, imagine that the account has several retail shops. The rep can choose the appropriate location to order against.

Mobile Ready eCommerce Solution

The xTupleCommerce system is mobile responsive which means that it will work on mobile devices. This means that your sales reps can do all this work from a mobile device like an iPad or smart phone. This will make it much easier for them to work while on the road.

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