For several years now we have been helping B2B merchants design, configure and deploy e-commerce websites using Magento 2. It’s obvious that the requirements of B2B merchants can be very different than those of B2C. B2B merchants typically need a lot more requirements in order to meet their customer’s unique needs. For example:

  • Price tiers
  • Company Catalogs
  • Customer groups
  • Customer Quotes
  • Purchasing on Credit
  • Company Specific Shipping Rules
  • Purchase order and purchase order approval processes

With the advent of Magento 2 commerce and cloud versions, B2B merchants now have a lot of functionality that can serve them and serve these requirements right out of the box. But setting up all of these features and making them work with all of the integrations that are typically required in a B2B set up can take a lot of time. It can also be frustrating to set it up differently for every business customer because they might have different requirements for their particular procurement process. At Accorin we’ve established a baseline B2B “self-service set up” for Magento 2 Commerce, combining out-of-the-box features and some of our own extensions.

Who Benefits from Self-Service B2B e-Commerce?

An example of a merchant that can most benefit from Self Service B2B is a retail supplier (wholesale) like an apparel company that sells to a chain of retail clothing stores. Within the chain there can be hundreds of stores and within each store there can be 2, 5, 10 or more purchasers, based on a hierarchy of responsibility. Here’s a fictional example of a simple B2B buying organization, a retailer with an HQ and 4 locations and multiple buying roles at each location.
Figure 1: an example retail customer company with many buying roles facilitated for Self-Service by Magento:

What’s Included in Our B2B Self-Service Setup?

The self-service configuration has a number of out of the box features pre-configured, integrations pre-configured, and also some extensions that we’ve written that really help a b2b merchants provide a true self-service experience to its B2B customers and the users within those company customers. The Self-Service B2B setup has 5 key aspects:

1. Core B2B Features of Magento 2 Commerce

We start by leveraging what’s available to us out-of-the-box with M2 Commerce. We setup, configure and test with the required B2B integrations.

    1. Shared buyers on a single account
    2. Request for quote
    3. Company price lists
    4. Make payment on credit / Credit limit checks (requires integration of course)
    5. Pay for an order with multiple payment methods (Credit + CC)
    6. Improved shipping management

2. Configuration of Company Customer Roles & Permissions

…and a cool integration of these permissions with our very own Company Address Book extension (see extension see #4).
When a B2B eCommerce merchant serves a company that has a lot of prospective buyers, things can get complex. The roles and permissions functionality within a business customer account allows a company customer to set up an actual purchasing hierarchy. This self-service makes your e-commerce store as easy to use as an internal purchasing system. Combined with subscription ordering and other automation it can really increase AOV for B2B company users.

3. Purchase Order Approvals

Purchase order approvals and their integration with Roles & Permission is a big part of release 2.4 and a big part of making Magento a truly “self-service” eCommerce tool for B2B buyers. Other Self service Goodies (Accorin b2b Extensions) including company requisition lists and previously purchased products increase the self-service benefits – the idea of company customers being able to truly self-service even the most complex purchasing – facilitated for buyers that have teams of people that also need access to purchasing from your merchant eCommerce store. As a part of Accorin’s Self Service setup of B2B Magento, we take a thorough look at your organization and setup, configure, and set up the purchasing organizations that you need. If you have 4 or 4000 company customers that you want to enable with this multi-person purchasing capability, that has different levels of controls. We will work with you to map out the organization prior to development, set it up and train your teams so they know exactly how it works. It can also be adjusted and modified as needed through admin.

4. Company Address Book

The Accorin Company Address Book takes the out of the box address book functionality in Magento 2 and merges it with the Roles & Permissions functionality that makes Magento 2 B2B so powerful. This simple extension allows merchants to give their company customers the ability to control purchasers shipping destinations for all orders. For example, a “store clerk” buyer can be granted to use an address book associated with their role; and they can only ship to N company addresses but cannot ship anywhere else.

5. Shared Requisition Lists

The Accorin Shared Requisition List extension, like the previous one, take the out of the box “requisition list” functionality and ties it with Roles & Permissions and also allows for sharing. This allows merchants to give their company customers the ability to control who on the purchasing team has access to requisition lists and who can create and share them.

The Bottom Line

With the setup described in this article a B2B merchant can achieve true self service e-Commerce for all of its company customers and their users save time increasing AOV and bottom line profits quickly. It’s important to scope out the levels of self-service, the roles and permissions that a merchant wants to give to its customer organizations in advance, and to allow for significant training and knowledge transfer.  While the system is powerful, it can only reflect the business rules that it is configured to deliver against.
That said, “Self-Service B2B eCommerce” is available with Magento 2 and it can be a powerful way for B2B merchants to automate e-commerce and increase the quality of the experience for B2B customers that are parts of complex organizations. Contact us for more information on B2B self-service.