At a brief glance a B2B eCommerce site might look similar to a B2C eCommerce site. In both cases there is a catalog of products and a check out process. In reality they only look similar. When you look in more detail you can see there are a number of differences. We discussed some of these differences in this blog post. At Keyora we also approach the design and integration of B2B sites slightly differently from a B2C site. There are many ways in which our approach is tailored to B2B but for simplicity we will highlight two of them below.
One of the features our B2B solution offers is the creation of a favourite order. Favourite orders might be a regular monthly order or it might be the order before an annual event. Business like the efficiency of creating and refining an order in advance so that they spend less time on repeat orders. Not only is the notion of a repeatable, favourite order, not common in B2C sites how we handle quantities varies slightly from the typical approach.
In a B2C site any item that is added to an order is going to be shipped at the conclusion of the checkout process. For this reason, when adding items to an order the quantity added is at least one. In the case of a B2B favourite list this might not be the case. Perhaps there is a favourite order that includes 30 items that are regularly ordered on the first of the month. It is July and the facility has a number of vacations that month so production will be slightly lower. In this case there are a few items in the regular July order that do not need to be order. In our approach, items added to a favourite order are added with a quantity of zero. Why this small change? To prevent the ordering of items that aren’t needed. A favourite list serves as a modifiable template for orders. As such we can’t assume that everything in the favourite order list will be ordered every time. By making this small change we can avoid large hassles after the order has been placed.
Another way our approach to B2B eCommerce differs is in pricing. For a consumer oriented site pricing it typically the same for all customers. In B2C when you see a price listed on the page that’s the price you expect to pay. That is certainly not the case when it comes to pricing in B2B.
For B2B sites the prices vary depending on the company that is logged in to view the site. The pricing changes might be based on location, customer type, the specific customer or any number of reasons. In all cases the B2B site needs to be able to accommodate customer specific pricing. This means that the price book for a B2B site might be as simple as a single price list or as complex as a specific price list for each customer. Pricing is one of the more intricate aspects of a B2B implementation that you don’t notice when all you see is the price on the page. The amount of real-time calculations required to accomplish this is significant. It can get even more complicated when we have to factor in special promotion pricing.
The examples above are just two of the ways that our B2B eCommerce experience is embedded in the sites we build. There are many other subtle B2B differences that we know how to accommodate.