Now that I am back on track, I can dive a little deeper into some of the topics that had the greatest impact from Imagine 2017. The announcement our team was most excited about was that Magento will now support B2B capabilities through the launch of its Magento Digital Commerce Cloud for B2B. Magento Commerce Cloud will have new capabilities for shipping, content management, social commerce, payments, and business intelligence. Merchants will benefit from elegant drag-and-drop content management features that make it easier to build rich sites, facilitate social commerce, and leverage built-in analytics to elevate the brand experience. The introduction of these enhancements will enable merchants and developers to help their audiences with seamless, personalized experiences across all channels and phases of the customer journey. Some of the relevant highlights include:
Expanded content management capabilities: Magento Digital Commerce Cloud for B2B will provide richer experiences, faster: The addition of advanced content management from Magento BlueFoot CMS simplifies content creation and management with powerful tools and intuitive user interfaces. Non-technical teams will be empowered to own and deploy content, and the advanced CMS enables merchants to quickly launch richer, more compelling shopping experiences that drive conversion.
Extend and integrate a unified social media presence: Magento Social enables merchants to engage with audiences directly through social media channels, including Facebook and Pinterest. With social channels expected to account for upwards of 10 percent of total online sales in 2017, Magento Social enables merchants to easily integrate updates and promotions and provide detailed analytics that drive improved traffic.
Provide business performance visibility and insight across commerce channels: Magento now offers merchants customizable business intelligence tools as a part of Magento Commerce Cloud. With Magento Business Intelligence Essentials, Magento merchants can cost-effectively understand customers, products, and orders.
Whether as buyers, sellers, or both, all companies have substantial stakes in the B2B marketplace. Their supply chains, their product and marketing strategies, their processes and operations—even their business models—will be shaped by the way B2B relationships are formed and transactions are processed. According to the SVP of Product and Technology at Magento, Jason Woosley, “Magento Digital Commerce Cloud for B2B addresses the key challenges of branded manufacturers and distributors.” Magento worked directly with B2B companies in the development of its Digital Commerce Cloud for B2B, offering and incorporated their feedback throughout the process of creating the cloud-based commerce suite. Woosley added that merchants can “quickly bring consumer-like innovation to their buying experiences while driving revenue growth, growing customer loyalty, and reducing costs.” Furthermore, he said, “the Magento Digital Commerce for B2B leverages the complete Magento Commerce portfolio, allowing merchants to avoid putting all their focus on building B2B functionality from scratch.”
Why not? B2B eCommerce accounts for the clear majority of total eCommerce sales and plays a leading role in global supply chain networks. In 2003, approximately 21% of manufacturing sales and 14.6% of wholesale sales in the United States were eCommerce related; by 2008, those percentages had increased to almost 40% for manufacturing and 16.3% for wholesale trade. Frost & Sullivan projects that B2B e-commerce will hit $12 trillion in sales worldwide by 2020, up from $5.5 trillion in 2012.
The steady growth in B2B eCommerce has changed the cost and profit picture for companies worldwide. At the microeconomic level, growth of B2B eCommerce results in a substantial reduction in transaction costs, improved supply chain management, and reduced costs for domestic and global sourcing. At the macroeconomic level, strong growth of B2B ecommerce places downward pressure on inflation and increases productivity, profit margins, and competitiveness.
Magento, as the industry’s only mid-market solution that serves both business and consumer buyers on the same platform, is committed to catering to the specific needs of B2B merchants. Woosley explained that “many B2B distributors are stuck in old systems, processes, and the ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ attitude, so it is challenging for them to make changes.”
Traditionally, B2C companies have been leaders in customer experience innovation through large investments in talent and technology. B2B companies are realizing they must follow that lead. With that said, B2B companies face unique challenges related to cataloging, repeat order management, custom pricing, and integration with complicated back-ends. According to ECCOMERCEANDB2B.com, “40% of B2B buyers identified back-end integration with financing, accounting, order management systems (OMS), or enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems as a key feature for suppliers to offer.” Furthermore, “42% of B2B companies state that customer retention is a top metric for measuring the success of their eCommerce program.”
Magento, with their flexibility and scalability, has a solution for those challenges the Digital Commerce Cloud for B2B. Key features include:
Corporate account management: Support sales to corporate accounts with multiple levels of buyers and varying roles and permissions. Offer flexible payment options, including payment on credit, to boost sales.
Advanced inventory and order management: Expose distributors to available inventory across multiple locations to increase sales and deliver a better customer experience.
Backend integration: Easily integrate and enable real-time communications with any ERP, CRM, or other back-end systems using extensive APIs and off-the-shelf extensions.
Multi-channel support: Enhanced efficiency and a more consistent brand experience by serving B2B and B2C customers, multiple brands, and multiple geographies on the same platform.
The times are changing and the goal is to provide exceptional customer experiences before they ask for them. The goal of Magneto’s Digital Commerce Cloud for B2B is to go to customers, whenever and wherever they want it.
The new Magento Commerce Cloud enhancements will be available this summer.