Magento – the overlooked powerhouse for B2B Commerce

After working in eCommerce for over 10 years I’m always surprised at how many wholesale / b2b (business-to-business) retailers struggle with efficient order fulfilment.    Many report that most orders are taken over the phone or through outdated workflows involving spreadsheets.

Pleased to say the help is at hand and I’m going to step you through how by leveraging Magento in your wholesale business can help you build efficiency, improve customer experience, take pressure of staff and get some of your precious time back.

For those of you who don’t know what Magento is, then in short definition is the most widely used eCommerce platform across the globe, it’s popular for many reasons but I won’t turn this into a ‘What is Magento’ blog – you can read more about that here.

In the past Magento has primarily be marketed at retail and subsequently been overlooked by most wholesale businesses.    Many wholesalers ask me “I don’t want a shopping cart, I need an ordering system” – what is the difference?     Essentially it’s about user experience and structuring that around fast, easy repeat purchasing for account customers,  other than general browsing like you have on a retail store.

The inner engine is the same, you still deal with customer accounts, adding items to an order (or in the retail world ‘cart’), payment and shipping methods.

 

Magento also has many core software features that can be leveraged by wholesale businesses including:

 

Multi-Store Capability

This is one of my favourite features of Magento and allows you create multiple store fronts from the one installation – we commonly use this for clients that have both retail & wholesale component to their business.

If you are operating both retail & wholesale, Magento allows you to vary the products that are available to both customer groups

 

Tiered Pricing

This allows you to set pricing based on different quantity breaks.   For example, the single unit price for a black t-shirt might be $25.00 but if they buy 10 or more this reduces to $22.00.       Pricing tiers can also be calculated based on a percentage value.

 

Customer Group Pricing

If you deal with different levels of wholesale customer then Magento allows you to set individual pricing against each product for each customer group.   This can also be extended across tiered pricing.     For a simpler approach, the promotional rules in Magento allow you to set discounts for customer groups across your entire range of products, or just products that match certain parameters.

You can create as many customer groups as you need.

 

Minimum Purchasing

 

Magento allows you to set a minimum purchase amount which can be configured on a per-product basis if required.

This can be based on quantity or total order value.

 

Re-Order

 

Under each customers account they can choose to re-order their last purchase, which adds these items to their order (or cart) where they can modify the items if required before processing the payment

 

Order by SKU*

This is a great feature in Magento Enterprise that allows customer to upload a spreadsheet under their account area which consists of SKU number and the quantity they want to purchase.   Once uploaded these items and quantities are simply added to their cart to checkout.     This can be effectively utilised by your fulfilment staff but also allow the customer to easily update their purchase before ordering.

 

Wholesale Application*

This allows you to create an application form on your website for new customers to apply for an account, once submitted this creates an account in Magento that is pending review.    Once you have reviewed the account information, approval is as simple as a click of a button and the customer is notified of their approval and can log into their account and start shopping.

 

Stored Payment Authorisation / PA-DSS Compliancy*

Take the hassle out of repeat purchasing by not needing the customer to enter their card details each time they order.     Through various payment integrations to Magento you are able to set-up a payment authority for transactions to be automatically processed to the customers card.

 

Website and Category Restrictions

Depending on your service model there are a variety of ways you can handle public access to your wholesale store

1) Restricted Access – this is where your website is totally locked down unless the customer logs in.    Typically to the public your store will just present a login page with option to apply for an account.      In this instance you can also have general information pages about your business visible.

2)  Catalogue Only – this is where the general public can browse your store the same way as a standard product catalogue but not be able to view any pricing or add to cart – these options are presented after they login.

3) Through Category Restrictions in Magento Enterprise you can control the accessibility at a category level if needed – this provides flexibility in having your store open to some product ranges, but locked down on others.

 

Automated Data Import / Export

 

Have you had your account customers continually ask for your product data in CSV’s or spreadsheets?    Through Magento this data can be automatically created and available for remote access to your customers.    This then allows capability of them importing this data into their own systems.

Additionally the flexible structure of data importing into Magento can bring greater efficiency into keeping your online channel up to date.

 

Integration

If you operate direct warehouse sales you would benefit from an integrated solution that can manage your stock across multiple channels.    There are wide range of integrations available to Magento and we can help you develop an integrated strategy that will bring efficiency to your operations.

 

Account Management

Magento offers detailed customer account profiles including past order history and cart contents.

For your staff you can create different access levels for store management, allowing them to work on the areas they know best whilst keeping the other operations of your store for your eyes only.

 

Find out more

If you would like to discuss how you can efficiently utilise Magento in your wholesale / B2B business please get in touch.     You can also read more on the Magento website, including success stories of B2B commerce at http://magento.com/solutions/b2b/overview