Business Challenges Solved with B2B Ecommerce
Case studies from a decade of building B2B commerce for clients
At Bear Group, we’ve helped many businesses successfully navigate the world of B2B ecommerce over the past 14 years. There are a few "themes" that emerge in the type of challenges that companies hope to solve using B2B ecommerce. We've pulled together eight case studies to illustrate the business challenges and ways our clients have found B2B ecommerce success.
1. A fragmented B2B wholesale network of smaller retailers
Seattle Chocolates is a consumer-focused brand that also has a thriving wholesale business, with a sales team handling the large retailers and grocery stores directly. They first became interested in a platform for their wholesale customers way back in 2010 and came to us with the idea of creating a B2B channel to more quickly distribute to their smaller “mom and pop”-sized stores like the candy shop who might need a case of chocolate each month. Using B2B ecommerce, they were able to simplify ordering for these smaller wholesale customers and reduce the burden on their sales team.
2. Educating B2B buyers, converting leads to your salesforce
Precor Fitness, manufacturer of exercise equipment (and recently purchased by Peloton), had an interesting ecommerce need. We built their B2C site for direct sales, but they also handled sales to specific verticals like gyms, hotels, multi-unit housing, universities, etc. They needed to be able to segment traffic on one domain (precor.com) from consumer versus commercial, and then further segment commercial traffic by vertical. While their general product lines were the same across verticals, the sales approach was very different and it is not a “self-service” ecommerce experience.
They leveraged the same Magento platform for both B2B/B2C but used verticalized content as a way for buyers to research and identify the ideal products as a self-service experience online. But instead of a “buy” button on the commercial side, there was a contact with your regional rep. They did not try to fully complete the complex sales process online, but instead used it as an informed lead generation process.
3. Access for specialized/licensed B2B buyers
Thorne Research, a manufacturer of supplements, needed a B2B website where the buyer was licensed doctors and practitioners. Practitioners could set up accounts, enter their license numbers to be validated, and then gain access to purchase refill orders and orders on behalf of patients. Thorne Research was able to streamline the process for reorders on the private Magento storefront and pull a fragmented network of providers to a centralized ordering process.
4. Efficient B2B parts distribution
IDEX Health & Science is a large public manufacturer of fluidics components. They sell large orders to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), but have a vibrant business with labs, research institutions, small manufacturers who need small volumes of key components. ecommerce is a perfect distribution channel to the fractured, smaller buyer of components rather than relying on their enterprise sales teams to service this market.
5. Quick B2B reorder
For party supply company A2Z Balloons, it all comes down to a speedy re-ordering process. They have a very large catalog, as well as a large base of purchasers, so replacing the paper order sheet with an online ordering process on their Magento website allows their customers to quickly zip through their reorder purchases when supplies are flying off the shelves.
6. B2B quote systems
Biomark, manufacturer and distributor of wildlife identification solutions, built a detailed catalog of their products but also needed to support a negotiable sales-based processes. So they used ecommerce to inform end customers, and a Magento cart as a quote building system, which passes orders into the sales team through an integrated CRM. .
7. B2B content and commerce
Back to IDEX as an example. As a manufacturer, they’ve developed tremendous expertise in fluidics. So they “wrap” the buying experience with a full content marketing strategy. They have Idexology to help share their expertise and guide people to the right solutions. This style of B2B content-driven marketing can pair nicely with an ecommerce platform. It helps in educating buyers, and is much more than just a product catalog.
8. B2B integration with ERP
Armor Animal Health created a tight integration between their ecommerce platform and their ERP to allow for customer-level pricing. Pricing rules are set in their ERP at the customer level, then as customers log in to the website, real-time pricing updates occur between the ERP and the Web System, along with current inventory levels, discount rules, shipping options and other features. These types of integrations streamline their in-house operations.
Magento’s B2B Features
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