B2B essentials: How to customize Magento CE for B2B use.
Many customers ask us on how we can configure/customize Magento CE (Community Edition) for B2B functionalities. Though Magento EE (Enterprise Edition) comes with a B2B ready modules, but is it worthwhile for a company starting out on an eComemrce model to invest in the same from the word go? Answer is subjective, for some it makes sense, for some it doesn’t (at least initially till you gain traction and larger scale in operations).
At Connecting Dots, we get to answer these questions regularly. I am sure you as an eCommerce website owner, someone who is looking to enter into eCommerce or a eCommerce portal development company; you must be wondering what is a good set of functionality one should have in a B2B oriented site, or one with both B2C and B2B side. We have come up with a simple solution which is a customisation on top of Magento CE.
We assume that there is a same instance of Magento (where your B2C portal sits) will be used for B2B customers as well… we can create separate set of tables in the DB for B2B customers and also a separate store front (we can use Magento’s multi store functionality here), which will be essentially the copy of the B2C store will added functionality and screens. The information to be pulled from these tables will be transferred to and from your Backend (Or ERP if you are using) or manually pulled, collected and used by your admin personnel. Reports will also be pulled from these separate tables. We have suggested some features that can be incorporated in B2B module (detailed documentation of B2B features suggested can be found in Annexure).
The picture below describes the various important and salient features for B2B portion of the site:
B 2 B Functionalities
|Each line on an order can be tracked independently so partial orders are fully supported.||There will be one order ID for multiple products in a single order. We can track based on product ID or SKU|
|Detailed Shipping information included estimated delivery date.||Options will be provided in the backend to track the shipments and details pertaining to it. Shipping ID will be generated for every item shipped together (those in one consignment).. This information will be displayed from front end to the customer.. this information will be manually fed at the backend by the admin.|
|Option to link to the courier website to view detailing tracking information. (Where available)||If the courier website has extensions/API, then they can be installed and configured. Where APIs are not available, we can generate a semi automatic system.|
|Option to view POD from the order history screen. (Where available)||We can pull information from the order history already populated in the database for point of delivery (shipping address)|
|Each line on an order can be scheduled for different delivery dates.||Manual selection from backend admin.. Already discussed earlier.|
|Approval limit used to allow on-account orders to be taken or immediate payment required as configured.||At the time of customer account generation we can give a provision of capping the amount for On-Account orders for all customers.. This can also be edited/altered at the customer maintenance screen.|
|Varying levels of discounts such as:|
|o Customer Level Discount|
|o Commitment Discount – Based on annual volume.|
|o Order Size Discount|
|Customer Credit Hold Information||If a customer is on Credit Hold, he should not be able to buy and a message displays on his profile accordingly.|
|Simple re-order process.||ReOrder can be given in the order history screen|
|Product alternatives available for selection if required product is out of stock.||Related products functionality already a Magento Std functionality. Suggestion: We can also have an auto generated email to the customer when the product is back in stock.|
|Email notifications at each stage||Magento will send regular updates to your backend system ( or admin through extracted file formats) which will enable specific messages to be triggered from the Backend System (or your admin) to respective targets.|
|Full Order Status Updates|
|Stock Availability Levels Shown|
|Customer Maintenance Screen|
|Customer Ordering Screen / Order History|
|B2B Mode||B2B customers need to have provision to search products based on SKU ids, bulk orders, last bought data etc.|
Points to be Noted:
Admin can be same or different for B2B and B2C stores
Admin to create separate login credentials for B2B customers, admin can also determine specific rights/access to B2B customers.
When the B2B customers login from the same login screen of the portal (same URL), the system will identify whether this is a B2B customer or a B2C customer and display respective store front/screens to them.
Hope the above post was helpful. If you need any help on your Magento website or eCommerce business, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at +91 776 017 7330.
[I also run Connecting Dots, a business & technology consulting and software services company. At Connecting Dots, we help startups and emerging companies build great businesses, we are also Magento solution partners and build great eCommerce portals]