ost modern e-commerce solutions are centered around the needs of the retail consumer. Meanwhile, the B2B sector is more than five times more valuable than B2C! There's no doubt that e-commerce for business deserves innovative solutions tailored to its needs. And that's exactly what Shopware offers - a sales platform that supports B2B sales.
B2B e-commerce in the age of digital transformation
Cost reductions, time savings, increased productivity, optimal use of resources, minimized risk of errors, and process automation are just some of the benefits that technology brings to the B2B sales sector. In the time of digital transformation, those who fail to innovate are left behind, and at the current pace of development, the distance to competitors may quickly become impossible to catch up with. Technological developments are affecting every area of the supply chain, from sourcing, manufacturing, and warehousing to distribution and delivery. In this article, we'll focus on how choosing the right sales strategy can change the face of your business and how Shopware supports e-commerce in the B2B sector.
Shopware functionalities to support the B2B sector
Shopware understands that it's impossible to meet the specific requirements of the business sector solely by tailoring solutions created for B2C. The platform offers a separate Shopware B2B Suite dashboard, with functionalities to meet the needs of even the largest and most complex companies.
Data collection and structuring
E-commerce in the B2B sector is much more complex than that aimed at retail consumers. This is primarily because more entities and processes are involved in this type of sales. In addition, B2B businesses typically use several separate systems, such as ERP, CRM, PIM, and sales platforms, which operate on different types of data but still require fast exchange of information between each other. The way data is managed is therefore fundamental to efficiency. Shopware's approach is based on the belief that an e-commerce platform cannot slow down the flow of data but is meant to support it, so the system is based on strategic data storage. What does it mean?
There are two main types of data processing available to a sales platform:
Central data storage - all data is kept in one place, synchronized, and updated in real-time in case of any changes. For example, if data on 1,000 new products are entered into the PIM system, that information is automatically transferred to the ERP and CRM systems as well. While this model seems sensible at first glance, in reality, it can lead to data bandwidth bottlenecks and prevent the platform from running smoothly.
Strategic data storage - in this model, systems exchange only the information that is necessary for a particular process. The leading system is the one that is responsible for the ongoing procedure at any given time. For example, if a purchase has been made, the store platform is the lead system. If the ERP system has entered pricing information, it is the one responsible for the process, without involving the others. If it’s needed to update product data, the PIM system is at the helm. In this way, the systems not only do not unnecessarily involve the others but are also independent to some extent - for example, if the ERP system does not function properly, it will not prevent the store from taking orders (of course, for some time). Such a solution allows the platform to function faster and more efficiently.
Intelligent data transfer with HEPTAconnect in Shopware
Shopware enables the optimal exchange of different types of data using HEPTAconnect, a modular system that enables the creation of individual data transfer paths between systems. For example, product information from the PIM system goes to the store. Order data is transferred to the ERP system. After processing the order information - in terms of availability and lead time - the ERP passes the appropriate guidelines to the CRM system, from which the target customer is contacted. In this way, the systems can quickly exchange data with each other, but only the data that is needed to complete the process so as not to slow down the platform.
Huge integration possibilities
Every B2B e-commerce business is extremely complex, so it's impossible to create one solution that fits everybody. Shopware gives its customers the ability to do business without compromise, by implementing every integration needed. Through API technology, Shopware customers can implement various payment and delivery methods, ERP systems, CRM, PIM, analytics panels, marketing automation, email marketing, and much more. Shopware's mission is to support the individual growth trajectory of each business, not to limit it and impose a specific framework and solutions. PayPal, Klarna, DHL, GLS, xentralERP, alumio, Trustpilot, AGICAP are just some of the dozens of integrations offered by the platform. And more are coming!
Global business development
Shopware supports the global aspirations of its customers by offering them the support they need to enter new markets. Users of the platform have access to features that analyze the legal and tax situation in different countries, sales channels tailored to each market, a custom tax calculator, and price and purchase configurations for different currencies and specific target groups.
B2B customers are fewer in number but spend significantly more than B2C customers. For this reason, building lasting relationships in the business sector is crucial. Obtaining an experience similar to that of a customer's direct interaction with a salesperson is one of the biggest challenges in the e-commerce market. Shopware allows you to appreciate your regular customers and give a personalized experience with the option to create customized offers and price lists. Discounts, promotions, and special packages for new customers or those who buy a lot and frequently are a great way to build valuable customer relationships. What's more, a repeat order option can be implemented in Shopware, allowing consumers who regularly order the same products to shorten the entire shopping process.
Assigning custom roles and permissions
Complex B2B stores require the involvement of many people - different teams are responsible for posting product information, customer service, contacting suppliers, controlling company resources, and so on. Everyone needs access to the system to do their daily work. On the other hand, giving everyone administrator privileges is not a good practice. This is especially true when it comes to security and process control. If too many people have access to all system privileges, it creates a higher risk of attack or data leakage. Additionally, in such a situation, it takes more time to find out who made changes to a particular area and why. If a PIM system suddenly starts to fail, it's harder to identify the activity that may have caused it if two hundred people are managing the system instead of five.
To avoid such problems, Shopware offers the option to assign roles, individual permissions, and budgets to employees, so users get full flexibility and transparency within the platform. It's also a great feature for customer service support, as it allows you to give employees in support or sales the ability to manage B2B customer accounts, such as placing orders on their behalf.
Filter and report on key data from the order history
Knowledge of customer behavior is crucial for business development and strategic planning. Shopware gives you the ability to analyze purchase history by purchase frequency, demand, or order value. In this way, B2B e-commerce can more accurately assess what customers need. Data-driven operation is, after all, the foundation of an effective business.
When working with business customers, it's easy to forget that each of them is also simply a consumer. Entrepreneurs, who trade huge amounts of money on a daily basis as part of their job, privately use online stores to shop for groceries or clothing. They are used to the high standard of customer service and intuitive shopping path that is the domain of the B2C sector. Unfortunately, in their work, they often have to struggle with a clunky interface and processes that drag on forever. And yet, nothing stands in the way of making stores for business customers as user-friendly as those for retail customers! This is the premise behind Shopware, which offers B2B customers specialized tools for a complex, multi-level business while providing ease of use and the best possible shopping experience. Shopware's Easymode is the golden mean between specialized B2B functionality and B2C UX.
Strix - your partner in digital transformation
Tools with so many possibilities can seem overwhelming. The question is - how do you implement all these features and integrations to make your store successful? This is where we come into play! Strix is an e-commerce technology agency that will guide you through the entire process of creating and maintaining your store. Our cooperation starts with a consultation, during which we listen to your needs, analyze the market situation and suggest solutions that will most effectively meet your goals. Then, we set up your store on the platform, implementing all the functionalities you are interested in. We also take care of the UX/UI design and optimize the store's performance after implementation. Once your store is running perfectly, our cooperation doesn't end at all! We are responsible for the ongoing maintenance of your store's architecture and we support you on every stage of your path to success. Our effectiveness is proven by our extensive portfolio of long-term customers. Their trust is the best indicator that we know our stuff - after all, we've been in the business for 15 years! If you want to learn more about how we work and what we can do for you, check out our Shopware implementations for Husse and Amisell.
Interested? Write to us!