Magento is bringing its consumer e-commerce tools to the business-to-business (B2B) market. At the company's Imagine 2017 user conference in Las Vegas today, Magento announced its new Magento Digital Commerce Cloud for B2B module. The module arms enterprise sales professionals and corporate buyers with features that include quotes, custom catalogs, and quick ordering, combined with a wide array of integration options.
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This is Magento's first B2B-focused platform release. The popular open-source e-commerce platform counts more than 260,000 customers and a development community of more than 200,000, according to the company, which competes with Shopify, WooCommerce, and others in the fluctuating battle for e-commerce provider market shares. Magento's B2B capabilities are available today as part of Magento Enterprise Edition and Magento Enterprise Cloud Edition, its on-premises and cloud-based enterprise products, respectively.
"What we're looking to do with this B2B offering is to provide our B2B and B2C [business-to-consumer] customers with a toolkit that treats B2B like a first-class citizen," said Jason Woosley, Senior Vice President of Product and Technology at Magento. "There are nuances but we don't think about B2B as a separate entity from B2C. At the end of the day, a customer is a customer. We want to provide the same high-touch experience to business customers as we do to consumer shoppers."
What Magento's B2B Module Can Do
The Magento Digital Commerce Cloud for B2B module is a free edition to the on-premises and cloud-hosted enterprise products, available today at no extra charge to Magento Enterprise Edition and Magento Enterprise Cloud Edition merchants. It's not available for the open-source Magento Community edition.
Magento has been running an alpha program for the B2B module since October 2016, with more than 100 partners to tweak the platform through an active feedback cycle. Woosley said Magento aims to provide a robust, out-of-the-box feature set with room for extensibility and expansion through Magento's extension marketplace and developer documentation.
"Sixty percent of our customers are already doing some kind of B2B sales. We're accommodating this trend where you're managing more of your business with a commercial platform, including both supplier touch points and the traditional shopping experience," said Woosley.
The B2B commerce platform's core features include:
- Quick Ordering: Merchants can upload lists of SKUs, use requisition lists, copy previous orders, or speed up recurring purchases with rapid re-orders through quick order interface
- Quotes: A built-in workflow for requesting order quotes and B2B price negotiation
- Multi-Channel Support: Manage multiple e-commerce brands in multiple geographies, including both B2B and B2C portals with custom branding (e.g., the Brentmill demo brand shown in screenshots)
- Corporate Account Management: Customizable corporate structure (including multiple levels of roles and permissions) for B2B enterprise customers plus a payment on credit option
- Back-end Integrations: Application programming interface (API) and extensions to integrate with customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise resource planning (ERP), and other back-end systems
- Custom Catalogs and Price Lists: Merchants can build custom product catalogs and pricing lists for specific B2B customers or customer groups
Woosley broke down the B2B value for which the company is aiming with this selection of tools. While features such as rapid re-ordering are meant to replicate the ease of consumer online shopping in the age of Amazon, other features (including quotes, customized price catalogs, and corporate account management) play into particular B2B sales needs. The idea, he explained, was to find areas in which Magento could save enterprises time and effort in manual customization and implementation.
"As a whole, this addresses a set of solutions that heretofore have had to be custom-coded and led to all sorts of implementation trouble," said Woosley. "A quote is a core negotiating tool for B2B. This group of features will shorten up that cycle and bring a B2B implementation in line with B2C, leveraged with things like custom catalogs and price lists."
"You can build up an order, request a quote, receive customized pricing, negotiate on it back and forth, and make changes. And when it does become an order, you then have the option to fulfill it from a quota or another order," Woosley continued. "You're treating these order items as the potential for a quote or a re-order, basically a shopping cart."
Magento's e-commerce platforms recorded $101 billion in sales volume in 2016 across 51 million shoppers, according to the company. Woosley said Magento included some B2B functionality before but only at a rudimentary level. This release signifies the company officially marketing and positioning itself as a B2B services player.
"We strongly believe that commerce has to be reinvented. That's not just a Magento perspective; it's broader than that," said Woosley. "Part of this is having agility in the marketplace to a level you don't see in a lot of other platforms. We're trying to raise the bar for B2B so businesses are experiencing commerce in the same friendly, delightful way as B2C."