Check out these 11 examples of innovative solutions to complex business problems.
Looking for B2B e-commerce examples?
Below, you’ll find some of the most innovative examples of B2B e-commerce solutions on the web. These examples represent a wide variety of markets, unique technology, and specific business needs. However, they all have one thing in common: they’re used every day by thousands of B2B customers.
Want to learn more about B2B e-commerce? Check out our Platform Comparison Chart.
You’ll see a lot of B2B e-commerce examples out there. You’ll see beautiful storefronts inspired by B2C. You’ll see great Marketing-ready websites. One thing you won’t see: the ecommerce integration to the ERP system.
That’s actually the most important part. Any B2B e-commerce examples that don’t hint at the ERP integration aren’t giving you the full story. Why? Because the ERP integration will make or break your company’s ecommerce operation. (Trust us–we’ve seen it!)
Here’s why a real-time integration to your ERP is such a game-changer.
Contract pricing is hidden until login. In this example, the entire catalog is hidden behind a login screen, but other companies choose to display the catalog publicly on the web, with contract pricing, availability, and other SAP data hidden until login.
B2B Example 2–Shipping Options with Real-Time ERP Data
In Corevist Commerce, “ship to” and “payer” must be specified in the first screen of the cart. The only options available in the dropdown box are real ship-tos and real payers in SAP–with real-time data ensuring accuracy. Check it out:
In B2B e-commerce, it’s often necessary to specify a ship-to and sold-to as the first step in completing the purchase. Pricing often depends on the person who’s buying. You might think that a logged-in customer would see only 1 option in the Payer section, but that’s not necessarily true. B2B relationships are complex–and customers aren’t the only ones who will use the store; your own salespeople can use it, too, to buy on behalf of your customers. Hence the need to specify!
In many cases, a customer could ship the order to any number of locations–i.e., if the customer’s company has multiple plants. There’s a need to specify here as well.
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B2B Example 3—Cart with Real-Time ERP Data
It’s not enough to supply your ecommerce catalog with real-time ERP data. You need to integrate the cart in real time, too. Why? Just watch this to find out:
Why is a real-time ERP integration so critical in the cart? Because this is where the user adjusts quantities to get exactly what they need or to take advantage of discounts. It’s also where they see data on proposed delivery dates. This screen contains lots of crucial information. Without an integration to the ERP system, these numbers could be inaccurate, which could lead to order errors when the order is loaded via batch update from ecommerce to the ERP.
B2B Example 4—Cart with Quantity Rounding from SAP
This might seem like a small point, but it’s actually critical: your cart needs a real-time integration to SAP to display accurate data on minimum quantities. A product that ships in pallets of 10 units can’t be purchased in a quantity of 13. You have to constrain purchasing to multiples of 10.
A real-time integration in the cart honors all your SAP data on minimum quantities. Check it out:
Since SAP rules require that the quantity be changed from what the user specified, we provide a helpful message to that effect. It’s one small way in which we communicate with the customer and ensure there are no surprises when the invoice comes.
B2B Example 5—Real-Time Order Placement from Ecommerce into SAP
Real-time integrations make or break B2B e-commerce. There’s no better example than order placement. What you see below is real, live order posting from ecommerce to SAP. (We’ll show you the SAP screens in a minute.) Check it out:
Why is this so important? Because it eliminates order errors 100%. As we saw with the pricing and quantity rounding examples, our real-time integration won’t allow the customer to place an order that SAP will reject. Our automated feedback process ensures that customers can only assemble 100% SAP-accurate orders.
That’s a game-changer. No more troubleshooting of order errors when a batch upload posts to SAP from ecommerce.
Speaking of SAP, let’s take a look and see just how much accurate data was posted to SAP from ecommerce in real time.
Space doesn’t permit us to list all the data that posted to SAP from ecommerce. But here are the high points. Each of these was generated in ecommerce and posted to SAP in real time when the order was placed:
Accurate ship-to information
Exact product information, with SKUs, quantities, and pricing based on relevant SAP rules
Buyer instructions from the ecommerce order
B2B Example 6—Sales Doc PDF Loaded from ERP
While the B2B world is making the shift to digital (and discovering the incredible gains in efficiency that result), some processes still require paper documents, or at least PDFs. A good B2B e-commerce solution will account for this need. For example, Corevist Commerce provides PDF sales document for the order after it’s placed. This document reflects the “one true truth” about the order–the data for the order in SAP. Check it out:
As you can see, accessing the PDF is ridiculously easy in the ecommerce store. Simply click the link!
To start the configuration process, the user finds a configurable product and–you guessed it–clicks the “Configure Product” button. The user then reaches the screen below. It displays pricing, allows the user to specify the product’s variable options, and allows the user to place a request for quote.
Even after hitting “Submit,” the user can still configure the product options in the cart (next image). Enabling this B2B e-commerce functionality in the cart is a crucial step in simplifying the user experience. Now the user can manipulate the configurable product options right from the cart screen (below), without having to back up to the catalog.
All in all, configurable products offer a great example of what B2B ecommerce can do. This functionality enables manufacturers to offer self-service product configuration–which cuts down on the time their Customer Service/Sales staff has to invest in communicating with customers about product options.
B2B Example 8—Product Comparison
Corevist Commerce has plenty of room for custom functionality. Our client, Honeywell, needed a Product Compare feature. It’s a great example of B2B e-commerce that gives customers the detailed information they need to make a decision.
The product comparison user experience starts when the user views a product and clicks “Add to compare.”
After adding a product to the comparison pane at the bottom of the screen, the user can keep searching the catalog to find another product to compare to the first one.
Once the user finds a related product, he/she can click “add to compare” straight from the search results (shown) or from the product page (shown in first screenshot). The next step is to launch the product comparison (blue button).
Clicking the “Compare” button launches a detailed product comparison window which puts complete product details side by side. This allows the user to make an informed decision. In the case of our client Honeywell Research Chemicals (shown), detailed product information includes crucial data such as chemical formula and molar mass. This is an example of highly specialized B2B e-commerce.
All the data surrounding product details is taken straight from SAP. In this case, a real-time integration isn’t necessary–that functionality is reserved for contract pricing, availability, and other data that’s tied to an SAP sold-to ID. The product data you see above is loaded from SAP via regular batch updates. It’s publicly visible on the web.
B2B Example 9–Global Microsites with Built In Translations
Global manufacturers encounter a unique problem when it comes to B2B ecommerce: they often have numerous sales areas and/or divisions that operate in different parts of the world. How can global manufacturers run ecommerce efficiently while fulfilling the needs of each sales area or division?
The answer is often a collection of B2B ecommerce microsites, each one serving a unique country or sales area. For example, our client, Axalta, sells powder coatings in the EU and UK through 7 different microsites. They are all linked from the powder coating division homepage:
Each of these buttons links out to a country-specific ecommerce store selling Axalta products. The stores are available in multiple languages using Corevist Commerce Translations (next image).
Why Corevist Commerce Translations and not simple browser translation in Chrome? That’s a great question. Actually, B2B e-commerce is such a unique enterprise, Google Translate may not offer precise translations that are accurate in the context of ecommerce. This is especially true when it comes to units of measure. Corevist Commerce Translations fill this gap with translations that work for global companies.
B2B Example 10–Integration to SAP and Salesforce
B2B companies are finding a greater need for data streamlining across their organizations. There’s no greater example of this than the need to integrate B2B ecommerce with a CRM (customer relationship management) system as well as their ERP system (often SAP). How do you get all of these systems synchronized in real time?
First, you treat the ERP as the system of record. It’s the “one true truth” as far as your business data. Next, you carry that ERP data to 3rd party cloud software via real-time integration (like Corevist). In fact, Corevist’s integration isn’t just for ecommerce. It can connect any 3rd party software to your SAP system. The result is total data streamlining across your organization.
B2B Example 11–Real ERP Data in Advanced Search
Advanced search in B2B ecommerce is more complex than it is in B2C. Ideally, you want to search real ERP data (and display real ERP data in results). That way, you minimize data maintenance between two platforms, and you provide users with an accurate picture of product availability, lead time, and more.
This is more complicated than it might sound. First off, you have to work with some ugly data from your SAP extract file. This SAP data is the “one true truth” about your product, so it’s imperative that your ecommerce search reflect this data; but that SAP extract isn’t user friendly–take a look:
The trick is to load this data automatically in the ecommerce store (and in advanced search). Here’s what that same data looks like on a product page:
Every one of those highlighted product attributes is searchable. For example, you can search by EC number (an identification system for chemicals).
That search will display all the results having that EC number. For this product, that means chemicals related to acetic acid that have the same EC number. Take a look:
This allows the user to look at all chemicals related by EC number and choose the one that’s best for their application. But what if they need more information? What if they don’t realize that the product isn’t what they need until they get to the product page?
That’s why we introduced search by common attribute from the product page. Check it out:
From the product page, the user can click the product attribute by which they want to search. Behind that one click is all the functionality of our Advanced Search. In other words, clicking that product attribute will bring up all the products that have the same value for that product attribute.
Here’s what it looks like:
We’ve become accustomed to this kind of functionality in the B2C world. In the B2B world, it gets way more complicated due to the ERP integration. But that shouldn’t stop you from offering sophisticated search functionality to your customers. This is a great example of technology that extends the B2B ecommerce user experience.
Have these B2B e-commerce examples inspired you? Are you curious about ecommerce and what it can do for your business? Schedule a demo of our B2B e-commerce solution, which interfaces with SAP in real time.