TageCommerce

B2B eCommerce – Challenge #9 – Creating an Omnichannel Buying Experience for Your B2B Customers

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

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Let’s start by defining what Omnichannel is. It’s a current buzzword in the eCommerce world and isn’t that familiar to everyone. Omnichannel refers to the shopping experience that is created by the seller. Customers today are seeking a seamless buying experience with multiple purchasing options whether they are on a desktop computer, a mobile device, in-person at a brick-and-mortar store or on the phone. The key here is the integration between all these shopping experiences. If a user is shopping on their desktop computer, they should be able to continue the shopping experience on their mobile device. Perhaps the online customer can view inventory levels that represent a store location, then they can decide to purchase the product at that location or even purchase online and retrieve the product in-person from the store. Additionally, if the customer has made purchases in the past then their account information, past purchase list and buying preferences should be as easily accessible by the buyer and the customer representatives alike.

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B2B eCommerce – Challenge #8 – Multiple Payment Options

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

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In the B2B world it is not uncommon for customers to have customer credit or an authorized purchase amount. You need to offer multiple payment options to allow customers to checkout in the best manner for them. This is especially helpful for customers that are making significantly sized purchases. For these large purchases your customer may not want to use a credit card.

In these cases you can associate customer credit with a customers account in the ERP and that credit will allow them to make a transaction on the eCommerce site without processing a credit card.

After they add items to their cart and proceed through checkout they will have the option to either “Pay by Credit Card” or “Pay with Customer Credit”.

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B2B eCommerce – Challenge #7 – Saved Carts, Favorites, Templated Carts, and Quick Order Entry

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

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As a large scale business, you want your customers to have the flexibility to build orders over time and not lose their work. Imagine that your customer builds up large orders over time before processing an order. We have built multiple tools for quick order entry that allow your customers to easily manage the purchasing process. Below are several examples of how these tools are used in the B2B eCommerce world via xTupleCommerce.

Saving your cart for a future purchase

Let’s imagine that you are selling building materials to construction companies. It would not be uncommon for the customer to log onto the site and begin adding required products to a cart but not be ready to process the purchase until a future date.

With our Saved Carts feature a customer can build one or several saved carts to their profile. This means that they can add multiple items to a cart and save that cart to their profile with a name that they choose. They can even save several carts in their profile.

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B2B eCommerce – Challenge #6 – Marketing content vs. ERP content

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

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If you’ve ever worked on an eCommerce project you’ll know how important content is for increasing conversions. The art of fine-tuning marketing content, campaigns, keywords, and product descriptions is essential for ensuring customers find your products and make purchases. Ensuring that content management is fluid, easy, and non-technical was incredibly important when our team was building xTupleCommerce.

Unfortunately, most eCommerce systems are built to handle products and shopping carts well, but they are not good at building marketing campaigns and various other content types like testimonials, blogs, reviews, and company news. We’ve overcome this problem by building xTupleCommerce on top of the Drupal Content Management System (CMS). The Drupal system handles both eCommerce and content marketing very well. With Drupal we can build content types and make it incredibly easy for customers to manage large amounts of content on their website (blogs, news, marketing pages, landing pages, etc) as well as managing internal ads, promos, homepage carousels, etc.

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B2B eCommerce – Challenge #5 – Pricing schedules

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

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Offering the ability to work with pricing schedules on B2B eCommerce sites turned out to be one of the most desired features from potential customers when our team was building xTupleCommerce. Not familiar with Pricing Schedules? Let me explain. Imagine that you are a wholesale distributor and you had many “Partners” that bought your products to then turn around and resell them. The partners will expect a price break on your products and as the wholesale distributor it’s worth it to you to negotiate a rate at which you will sell products to this partner versus other partners or customers. If this partitular partner will possibly bring you a lot of business, you might be willing to give them a great rate. If the partner seems to be a newbie and might not bring a lot of business, you might not give such a great rate. So on and so forth. Those special rates are called Pricing Schedules.

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B2B eCommerce – Challenge #4 – Allowing guest purchasing

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

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As a large scale b2b business, you want the ability to keep a customer record in your ERP for various reasons. But consumer’s today are used to making purchases without creating accounts online (if they choose to do so). Your system should accommodate what is best for your business. At the end of the day, you should decide if your customers would like to allow guest purchasing and give users the ability to check out as a Guest. If so how that will impact your business. At the end of the day, customers tell you a lot of information when checking out. But getting them into your system (forcing them to create an account) could have some great benefits for both parties. You could continue to engage with them via email marketing, offer additional promo’s or special offers if they are a registered user, and you can more easily track their involvement with your site.

When choosing a b2b eCommerce platform you must choose a system that can accommodate either need. You should be able to choose whether you want to allow Guest customers or not. Better yet, you should be able to toggle these settings easily on your own. Actually, it provides various options and you can choose which is best for your business.

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B2B eCommerce – Challenge #3 – Multiple user’s purchasing on behalf of one company

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

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In large B2B transactions it’s typical for a business customer to have multiple user’s making purchases. A lousy solution to this problem is to create one account for the customer and then expect all their user’s to share that username/password. Instead, a better solution is to associate multiple eCommerce accounts with one customer account.

Let’s imagine that you sell building materials to construction companies and your construction company customers are buying materials for multiple jobs. However, the construction company’s account should be keeping record of the purchases in the ERP and each purchase should be affiliated with the appropriate project. The project managers for those jobs may need to buy materials for each of their individual projects. Instead of calling their headquarters to place orders it would be much more efficient to allow them to log into your eCommerce site and purchase the materials they need for their one job.

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B2B eCommerce – Challenge #2 – Multiple Ship To Addresses

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

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In large B2B transactions it’s typical for a business customer to have multiple ship to addresses that they need products shipped too. A good example is a construction company that has multiple active jobs and needs supplies sent to those jobs.

Be sure you are working with a B2B eCommerce system where your customers can log into your eCommerce site and manage the shipping locations for specific orders. They would start by adding items to their cart, continue to check out and choose the appropriate ship to location for the order. The system should be connected to their customer record in the ERP, so if they have multiple ship-to locations in the ERP they will be able to choose which address the order should ship to.

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B2B eCommerce – Challenge #1 – Sales Reps

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

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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.

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Better B2B eCommerce solutions are coming

eCommerce is not the way of the future, it’s the way of the present. Consumers are now fully comfortable researching products and making purchases online. Even from their phones. Not only are people buying online, they are involving themselves in the entire shopping experience on the internet.

This is a pretty straight forward process for typical consumers in the B2C world. Let’s imagine that you want to buy a new pair of hiking boots. You start by googling, reading articles, reading reviews, comparing prices, looking for the best deal and you make your purchase. The web shopping experience is different than the buying experience a decade ago, but overall it isn’t that complex.

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