As Magento is ever growing in popularity as an e-commerce platform, B2B business owners are also increasingly looking to Magento as a basis for their online efforts. Below are the biggest weak points of Magento when it is to be used as a buiness-to-business store along with solutions for them.
– No built-in quotation proces
Most business to business transactions follow this flow: there is a request for proposal, there is some negotation, a quotation is made and sent to the requester, and the requester accepts the proposal. Only in that last step a transaction usually occurs. Because Magento is a B2C platform, it does not facilitate this process out of the box. Luckily there is a module called Cart2Quote that adds this full quotation process to your B2B/B2C Magento store.
– Purchase after login
In some B2B sites, only logged in customers can order. (For instance to assign the right pricing rules to the customer.) This module offers this functionality.
– Pricing per customer
Out of the box Magento can assign prices to customer groups. In B2B often special pricing arrangements are made with individual customers. Specific pricing for particular customers can be achieved through this module.
– Hiding product prices and disabling of purchase
In stores where not all products are to be ordered directly, for example because they are too complex to fit into a web form, a B2B store may want to hide prices and make ordering them impossible. Magento does nog offer a clean way to do this but a module called Not2Order takes care of both wishes.
– Quick ordering based on product attributes
Often a B2B customer is a returning customer who knows exactly what he needs. B2B stores can facilitate these customers by offering a quick order funcionality. This usually is achieved through a form where SKU’s or other defining product attributes can be entered and submitted, immediately placing these products in the cart. An example can be found here.
– ERP integration
Existing B2B sellers may have large existing systems to support their business processes, price discount rules, logistisc, etc. Unfortunately, integrations between ERP and Magento will almost always be a custom project. The same can be said for tying ERP to almost any serious e-commerce platform however.
Summarizing: by default Magento is not a B2B commerce system, lacking in a couple of essential areas. Several modules exist to overcome these drawbacks and make Magento a serious choice for a business to business commerce platform.