Historically the market for digital commerce platforms has given a lot of love to the B2C community. The last few years have seen rapid innovation aimed to deliver better shopping experiences in order to satisfy expectations and behaviors of the digital savvy consumer.
While many of these B2C innovations have applicability to the B2B market, not much of this innovation has been specific to B2B. Let’s face it, despite their similarities, there are distinct capabilities required to support the needs of B2B buyers and sellers. To be clear, there are a few B2B commerce platforms available today. However, many of them are not within budget reach for manufacturers or sellers – especially those who are still in the early stages and need to prove business cases for more investment.
As a result many of these B2B commerce managers have found themselves either getting by on a B2C platform or have decided to invest in customization to meet those needs. As a firm that specializes in B2B digital commerce, we here at Jamersan have had the opportunity to work with companies that have gone both routes and are always on the lookout for advances that will benefit our clients.
The good news is that B2B merchants are about to get some love. While at Magento Imagine 2017, we had the opportunity for a “deep dive” into the soon-to-be-released B2B module for Magento 2 Enterprise.
Here’s a summary of capabilities that we found particularly interesting:
- Tiered buyer accounts within an organization. Your customers are now able to setup an organizational structure consisting of individual buyer accounts with granular control over buying permissions.
- Custom product catalogs (and pricing) for entities/departments within an organization.
- Quote process to support complex products that require offline configuration. Many B2B sales transactions can’t be completed without some back and forth between buyer & seller – these interactions can all be handled within the platform now.
- Sales rep capabilities. Ever wanted your sales reps to place orders, create catalogs, respond to quotes, or establish pricing for their accounts? Check, this has it.
- Designed with ease of use in mind. Magento has ensured that even the most complex tasks are not complex to perform. For example, the organization builder is a simple drag and drop UI.
Perhaps the most compelling fact is that these B2B capabilities are all included within Magento 2 Enterprise. Why is this important? It means that B2B merchants can be assured that they will reap the benefits of continual innovation across the “core” Magento 2 platform (and partner ecosystem) and will never outgrow it.
While a closed B2B beta is currently underway, Magento 2’s B2B capabilities are expected to be available in Q3 this year. Reach out to us if you are a manufacturer or distributor who is ready to advance your digital commerce program on the Magento 2 platform.