Perspectives

Why B2C e-Commerce Platform won't work for B2B

Gaurav Singh Rana
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Why B2C e-Commerce Platform won't work for B2B

The B2B industry is still mostly functioning offline and they have no idea how far their businesses can grow if they embrace digital distribution. A suitable online B2B e-Commerce platform can transform the business, and fundamentally shift the expectations of your wholesale customers. Online shopping has already changed the way people buy, people are already quite comfortable ordering online and this sets the precedence for the fact that online B2B ordering platforms will also be equally welcomed which is a huge opportunity for Brands and Manufacturers.

You may already have a B2C online store where you can take direct-to-consumer orders, or you are selling on Amazon, Flipkart etc as a part of your online D2C distribution strategy but how are you going to set up a store that your retailers or business customers can go to? More importantly, what kinds of features will you need in order to accommodate those orders?

When faced with this situation, many businesses first turn to e-Commerce solutions like Shopify or Magento, which offers a great set of customisation, but the fact is, these platforms aren’t prepared to cater the B2B ordering requirements.

Why Shopify, Magento dont cut out for B2B commerce?

Because, these are originally designed for B2C commerce. They have stretched themselves a lot already catering to the B2B segment, and it is still not enough. Major features that are missing from these platforms are:

  1. Buyer specific pricing
  2. Complex payment terms
  3. Product exclusions
  4. Sales Rep workflows
  5. Complex product variant structures that are company or industry specific
  6. Bundles and case packs
  7. MSRP and MAP information, and many more.

Even though these requirements are like tip of the iceberg, as there are a whole lot of complexities involved in B2B commerce. In order to get these features on the website, a lot of expensive programming is required, which doesn’t seem to give good ROI, especially for small-medium enterprises.

It is like the story of Sid, who wanted a great race car. He did not have enough money, so he opted to buy a Honda Civic and worked for months to get it customized into a race car. He not only invested a lot of time and energy, but also invested into a lot of expensive racing components, replacing engines, shocks, tires, brakes, etc. Or, he could have just bought a Ferrari, a car made for racing. It would have saved him a lot of resources.

Key difference between B2C and B2B e-Commerce Platform

What happens when you customise a B2C e-Commerce platform for B2B ?

If you want to go the Sid’s way by opting a B2C ordering portal like Shopify and modifying it into a B2B ordering solution, you might go through a lot of trouble not just once but all the time. First of all, you need to understand that these B2C commerce platforms like Shopify, Magento, etc are not in your control. So, no matter how many changes you make for your B2B distribution requirements, one little change in their software which will be focused on B2C audience, can disturb everything. Till the time, you will be able to settle down with the change, a new update will be right there.

Also retrofitting a B2C e-Commerce solution to work for your B2B commerce needs requires a great deal of custom work by your IT team or contracted developers to reconfigure the entire system and patch up all the B2C holes. This approach is both costly and difficult to maintain. Most of the time, you will be spending your resources in keeping that B2C platform functioning like B2B for you. This can lead to two options:

  1. Keep dumping a whole lot of money for the changes.
  2. Stick to the older version, and never let your online B2B ordering platform evolve or become better.

What is an ideal B2B e-Commerce platform looks like ?

B2B e-Commerce platforms are focused on driving productivity and business efficiency from an existing customer who already intends to buy from you. Some of key features are:

  1. Such a platform will be prepared to handle all the complexities of the wholesale sales.
  2. Buyers can log-in and see the custom catalog with the products as well as pricing suitable to them.
  3. Inventory levels will be visible to them for quick bulk selections across a vast range of categories and product variations.
  4. Buyers should be able to break down the quantities into multiple shipping dates.
  5. Order history should be easily accessible with the features to reorder by just duplicating the heavy details of the previous orders.
  6. A resource library must also be available to access product training videos, guidelines for merchandising, and wholesale marketing promotions.
  7. At the backend, the portal should be effectively integrated with the ERP or other back office system.
  8. Platform should be able to facilitate Sales Rep workflows to manage customer relationships both online and offline.

If you choose Edistera for your B2B digital distribution needs, these special benefits will also be included:

  • Sales Rep workflows
  • Credit and collections management
  • Customer specific pricing and payment methods
  • Assisted buying for customers
  • Complex product variant structures that are company or industry specific
  • MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price) and MAP (Minimum Advertised Price) information and many more.

Overall, B2C e-Commerce platforms are just not suitable for B2B commerce. An ideal B2B e-Commerce platform covers all the complexities and nuances of the B2B industry. At Edistera, we have made sure that all the requirements of the B2B business are involved with the scope of any required customisation. Request a demo of Edistera B2B e-Commerce Platform and reinvent your business online for exponential growth.

Last Updated :
June 4, 2021
Published :
25/7/2020

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