written by Alain Veuve MD, Switzerland
Magento and B2B: Does it really work?
Magento and B2B: Does it really work?
March 03, 2015 | Categories: E-Commerce , Web Development , Technologies & Open Source
About author Alain Veuve Alain Veuve MD, Switzerland

Last October I had the honor to give a presentation about Magento and B2B at Meet Magento Switzerland 2014. Now, a recording of the presentation has been made available to the public. Opportunity enough to revisit the topic, expand on a couple of items from the presentation and provide links to both it and the video. Here we go.

B2B E-Commerce: The hidden champion

B2B has always held a special position in E-Commerce. This is because he has long been considered the “Hidden Champion” of all E-Commerce disciplines. The reason for this is simple: The new ordering option simplified daily procurement for the customers of B2B companies (e.g. manufacturers, distributors, etc.) considerably. Eighteen years ago and barely out of school, I started my first computer trading company; in the beginning we placed our orders via fax and telephone. The daily ordering process was accompanied by constantly changing availability, juggling credit lines and a lot of manual work, despite the support by a rather advanced ERP system. TechData, known then as Computer2000, was one of the first distributors with an E-Commerce platform – which instantly eliminated several steps in the workflow process; availability was made visible and orders could be placed with the greatest of ease.

That must have represented some kind of turning point for Computer2000. After all, at the time a host of telemarketers was necessary to master the rush of orders (as a customer one usually placed orders toward the end of the workday), and E-Commerce usually meant significant cost savings with a simultaneous reduction of sources of error in the process.

B2B E-Commerce: The success story

For this reason B2B E-Commerce was a success story from the beginning in many companies. And it continues to be until this very day. It is far easier to convince executive management and supervisory boards to invest in B2B E-Commerce initiatives than in the B2C sector. Most of the time one can use facts and figures to argue to this effect. So far, so good – but of course there is quite a bit of movement in B2B E-Commerce as well.

After all, while it has been entirely sufficient until now to provide a simple order-capture system, customers are increasingly looking for E-Commerce functionality similar to what they have come to expect from B2C E-Commerce. In addition, the competitors usually wins who can provide the best and easiest system for his customers. So this is definitely pressure to innovate.

Magento and B2B

So, what could be more natural than to use Magento for B2B? During my presentation I asked the question whether Magento is B2B-ready and immediately answered the question in turn: No, not even close. But in the final analysis Magento still is the best choice for many businesses, as the Magento Open Source solutions offer the following advantages:

  1. Lower total costs, because the usually immense licensing costs of proprietary systems don’t apply
  2. High configurability, much of what needs to be developed in other systems can be configured in Magento
  3. High adaptability by simply adding additional modules
  4. No vendor-lock-in due to Open Source

During my talk and in the presentation I point out the typical B2B requirements and show how these can be fulfilled by Magento. To access either, please follow the link below.



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