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Important Features of B2B eCommerce Open Source Platforms

Important Features of B2B eCommerce Open Source Platforms

Invariably, B2B businesses must take the time to do competitive research and use the right digital tools to retain a competitive advantage in their respective market. For instance, if your website does not stand out within your niche, you can easily lose customers to other B2B marketplaces. Therefore, it is crucial to select the right B2B eCommerce open source  platform to ensure you are on top in your industry.

Even as there are many differences from one B2B marketplace to the next, many features of a B2B eCommerce platform can remain the same. Thus, it is essential to use a solution that will improve your customer experience and make it easy for shoppers to do business with your company. As a result, it is critical to ensure the platform you select offers the important features documented below.

Access Controls, Roles, and Permissions

In the B2B space, you might have different customers from the same company. For example, one customer might shop for their marketing department while another would shop for accounting. Hence, it is vital to ensure each unique customer can access the products and services they need to perform their roles. Often, there is a main admin who can manage access controls and permissions for buyers vs. unauthorized users.

To illustrate, you might work with both a purchase manager and a junior buyer from the same organization. Each buyer category may have different permissions. A purchase manager might work with invoices, tax codes, and orders where a junior buyer might only manage purchase lists, prices, and quotes. So, choose a platform that provides different levels of access.

Corporate Account Management

B2B eCommerce frequently requires personalization at the subdivision and sub-unit level. A B2B buyer often has a hierarchical corporate account structure. So, some users might have the ability to only purchase office supplies while others can purchase office furniture. In addition, B2B buyers may have varying divisions based on offices, branches, and locations.

The good news is OroCommerce offers account management features built right into its admin console so end-users can configure accounts that align with their hierarchical structure.

Multiple Organizations, Websites, and Stores

Undoubtedly, many B2B organizations have offices that span tax regulations, regulatory bodies, countries, and currencies. It’s critical to have access to features to address this structure right out of the gate.

For instance, OroCommerce Enterprise Edition offers comprehensive tools so businesses can manage all their locations, regulations, sub-brands, lines of business, and divisions from one console. On the other hand, if you were to build a B2B eCommerce platform from scratch, it may not meet scalability needs or the borderless demands of always-on eCommerce for B2B.

Yet, OroCommerce lets B2B customers set up multi-organization and multi-website marketplaces (including restrictions) from one admin interface.

Content Management System

Many B2B buyers have to follow stringent protocols, budgets, and approvals–even when making recurring purchases. As such, it’s crucial to display clear descriptions, videos, certifications, and marketing sheets on the benefits, price points, and issues addressed by your products and services that are relevant to your target B2B buyer.

Unquestionably, to do this you need effective content management features to completely manage your layout, content, and embedded items with intuitive content editors.

With OroCommerce, you can access a WYSIWYG editor with blocks and drag-and-drop elements to make it easy to create a customized site.

Personalized B2B Catalog Management

Successful online selling does not incorporate the same components and elements for every organization. To compete in your market, you need to tailor your catalog to ensure it appeals to your target audience. To illustrate, you might want to bundle specific product groups or set minimum order requirements for certain types of buyers.

OroCommerce offers the ability to personalize your web catalogs so you can promote relevant items while upselling and cross-selling easily. In fact, you can customize an unlimited number of web catalogs, while also having the option to restrict catalogs for specific B2B customers.

Multiple Price Lists

Unquestionably, B2B marketplace pricing can get complicated rather quickly. Consider purchase frequency, negotiated discounts, volume buying, and more. It’s essential to implement a solution that can calculate these types of pricing structures based on the business and their associated pricing rules.

You also need a platform that can customize multiple pricing lists for each business, unit, location, and more that are authorized to make purchases. These lists may include the following:

  • Multiple currencies
  • Pricing tiers
  • Various price points

You also want a solution that can sync price lists with your ERP system frictionlessly.

Fortunately, OroCommerce gives you options to customize price lists based on business accounts, individuals, and customer groups. Additionally, it comes with an advanced pricing engine that supports attributes, price merging, fallback, and multiple pricing strategies.

Multiple Shopping Lists

B2B buyers are frequently busy and inundated with multiple projects at any given time. Your marketplace should address these types of pain points and make it easy to shop on your site. Thus, B2B buyers may want to retain multiple shopping lists where they can complete their orders at a different time, add other buyers, have access to carts, request quotes, and more. All of these types of features save them time, which will improve their shopping experience.

At OroCommerce, we were the first ones to recognize the expectation of a convenient and seamless B2B shopping experience. Thus, we designed a platform that is built around offering multiple shopping lists that enables B2B buyers to duplicate their lists, remove lists, or add buyers. Further, it supports quick ordering with one-page checkout and bulk functionality.

Segmentation and Custom Reports

There isn’t any question that your B2B eCommerce platform will collect a massive amount of data over time. However, how will you sort your invaluable data? Making the right data-driven decisions requires features that facilitate segmentation for account-based marketing and analytics and reporting on customer behavior. In addition, KPI measurement is crucial. With this data, you can make the right improvements and offer the right products and promotions at the right time.

OroCommerce does offer a robust reporting engine with segmentation features to provide detailed results. It also supports Google Data Studio reports, which your end-users can save to their respective dashboards.

Flexible Custom Workflows

It’s essential to utilize a flexible platform. The old approach of “set it and forget it” no longer works in the continuously evolving digital B2B market.

OroCommerce makes eCommerce automation easy with the ability to create an unlimited number of customized eCommerce workflows that support buyers and sellers. It is a built-in automation engine that supports pricing calculations, quote management, inventory synchronization, negotiation, confirmation, routing, and more. By automating your manual and time-consuming tasks, you then have more time to offer personalized customer experiences.

Self-service Options

In the digital age, B2B customers are accustomed to instant gratification, including self-service options. Frequently, they would prefer to only contact support agents for highly complicated questions. As a result, you should implement a solution that offers the option to submit quote requests, order submissions, create reorders, track shipments, and other buying behaviors without customers having to contact a support agent.

Still, there are some B2B eCommerce platform features that cannot replace the value of human interaction. Yet, it’s vital to have options for both available for your B2B customers, which is why

OroCommerce comes with self-service portals so your shoppers can place orders 24/7 and also review order status, past purchases, shipping, and delivery tracking. B2B clients can also manage their shopping lists, buyer roles, and any bulk actions without needing to call a sales rep first.

Don’t Forget These Bonus B2B eCommerce Features

We feel it’s crucial to include three more vital B2B eCommerce features below.

Streamlined Buyer-Seller Interactions

OroCommerce makes it easy to create and submit questions, purchase orders, and RFQs digitally. Therefore, buyers don’t have to deal with an overwhelming amount of manual data entry processes and thus enjoy a seamless shopping experience.

Payment and Invoicing Options

Companies have different protocols for how they submit payments. One organization may prefer to pay by company credit card while another wants to use a credit line or ACH. Once a payment is sent, you may need to sync it with your financial and accounting systems. With OroCommerce, the platform supports separate payment terms with unique options, invoices, delayed payments, and more.

Optimized Integration

Frequently, B2B companies already use various stacks of technologies. However, it’s vital to ensure they are integrated so data is accessible by the right end-users in real time. A list of systems that could be integrated may include an ERP, CRM, PIM, warehouse management systems, and others. OroCommerce can integrate with the tools that are already essential for your business with an open-source architecture and expandable APIs.

The Right B2B eCommerce Solution Ensures Success

Your B2B eCommerce store is the first impression many buyers will have of your brand. Therefore, you must take the time to understand your needs, your customers’ needs, as well as your future trajectory before you start your eCommerce software selection process.

It’s vital that your B2B eCommerce store leaves a positive first impression on your target audience. Thus, it’s critical to take time to understand what your business needs, and more significantly, what your customer’s need and expect.

Once you have determined your B2B eCommerce objectives, don’t limit your selection to features. Instead, consider how your business might evolve in five or ten years and what the B2B market may look like then. Can you find a solution that can future-proof your business? Is it scalable? Does it offer customization and integration so you can quickly adapt to changing market conditions? By answering these types of questions, you can finally come to a research-driven decision on your next B2B eCommerce platform.

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by Lottie Pritchard // Lottie Pritchard is a contributor to Businessing Magazine.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.