Managing a B2B store is a different process to managing a B2C store. When your customer is actually a business and not simply a regular customer, your store needs to be adaptable in order to provide a complete solution for the buying process of the company.
So, what’s the difference? A customer (in this case a business) arrives on our store, selects products, pays for them, has them shipped to the address provided, and everything works as usual. Why then do we need to define a different process?
In B2B stores, who requires the product and who pays for it are usually two completely different people. The payment process incorporated usually involves submitting a request for the purchase, gaining approval, and paying for the product. Each step is usually done by different people in the company.
The payment may be done with regular credit card, purchase order or credit line on the store.
The same account and payment method may be used by different people in the same company. Accounting departments may need to get reports on all orders made.
Magento’s® default behavior is for B2C stores. To achieve the ability to support the needs of the B2B ordering process we need to use custom modules or extensions to introduce the missing functionality.
At Creative Minds we have spent a lot of time working to provide B2B solutions for our Magento® clients. As we understand that B2B stores have different needs, we have developed a number of extensions to support these needs.
Our Multi-User extension came to life after we identified our B2B clients’ need to provide a “company” account serving different users with each one holding a different responsibility. The person who needs the product but doesn’t pay for it themselves, the purchasing department who does pay for it, the manager whose role it is to approve it and the accounting department who needs to see reports. Each one needs a different level of permission – this functionality is fully supported by the Multi-User extension.
Order Approval Process
Our newly released Order Approval Extension came about to support need for B2B clients to place an order, then allow the employer or purchasing department to seamlessly approve or pay for it in two clicks. The person who ultimately needs the product can browse the store and create their purchase, before sending it on to the payer to approve it, disapprove it or edit it and finally pay for it. This displays as an additional payment option during checkout and is great for the B2B buying process.
If you have a B2B need that you think is missing a solution, please send us your ideas. We’re always on the lookout for great ideas and the individuals who have them.