66% of B2B buyers prefer e-commerce over traditional sales interactions.
That’s up from 48% before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
The shift is so strong, the B2B e-commerce market is on pace to grow 10% this year, to $1.4 trillion—even as the global economy as a whole continues to suffer.
B2B buyers have spoken. They want e-commerce.
Yet most B2B commerce platforms create IT headaches.
Conventional B2B e-commerce solutions don’t play well with ERP systems. They’re built to work alone, and troublesome middleware integrations create order errors and friction in the user experience.
What if you could launch B2B e-commerce with built-in ERP integration?
Welcome to Corevist Commerce.
A fresh approach to B2B ecommerce.
Unlike other B2B e-commerce platforms, Corevist Commerce is built on a deep integration to SAP ERP. From Day 1, your B2B e-commerce solution is populated with real-time data straight from SAP. Orders post to the ERP immediately, and each user gets a personalized experience driven by their unique data in SAP.
It’s a new kind of B2B ecommerce, built for today’s global organization.
Corevist’s prebuilt integration leverages your existing ERP investment, saving you valuable resources.
✔ Cut friction from your order-to-cash process
Give customers self-service capabilities for research, ordering, invoice payments, & order tracking.
✔ Get powerful business intelligence
B2B ecommerce offers real-time data on market shifts and strategic insight into your demand chain.
Get the features you actually need in a B2B e-commerce solution:
✔ Real-time inventory availability in B2B ecommerce
Without real-time ERP integration, your B2B ecommerce solution can’t display real-time inventory. It’s really that simple. Corevist’s built-in SAP integration displays 100% accurate inventory data in your B2B e-commerce channel, including any personalized rules for ATP (available to promise).
✔ Accurate, personalized pricing in B2B ecommerce
Each customer’s unique, complex pricing rules live in the ERP system. It stands to reason that your B2B ecommerce solution should present the same pricing which the customer can get over the phone. Corevist’s deep integration to SAP honors all pricing rules for each logged-in customer.
✔ Instant B2B ecommerce order posting
Other B2B ecommerce solutions will send orders to a middleware platform. That software will post orders to SAP in batches. However, without direct integration like Corevist provides, other solutions can’t guarantee 100% error-free orders coming from the B2B e-commerce solution.
✔ Real-time digital payments in B2B ecommerce
A B2B e-commerce platform isn’t much good to your users if they can’t pay for orders. Corevist’s SAP-integrated payments allow your customers to pay with your preferred methods like credit/debit card, ACH transfer, eCheck, Paypal, and more—plus users can select and pay down invoices through self-service.
✔ ERP-integrated order tracking within B2B ecommerce
Customers come to the B2B ecommerce channel to buy, but they also come to manage their accounts. That means checking order & shipment status, invoice status, and more. Corevist includes real-time carrier integration with SAP data for a smooth customer experience.
That’s only the beginning.
Want to see more B2B e-commerce features? Check out our 53 B2B e-commerce integration points:
No other B2B ecommerce platform increases your operational efficiency.
Every other B2B ecommerce solution requires a third party, whether human or machine, to transfer data between B2B ecommerce and the ERP. Only Corevist includes prebuilt, configurable integration to SAP ERP.
Wherever you’re at in your B2B ecommerce journey, you benefit:
No existing platform: Our integration eliminates the cost of phone/fax/email order entry
Got a standalone platform: Our integration cuts out the cost of rekeying B2B ecommerce orders.
Got a platform with middleware: Our solution eliminates the cost and risk of batch-sync architecture.
Calculate your financial benefits with Corevist for B2B commerce.
Enter data in the fields marked (*). Other fields are calculated automatically.
Note: This calculator is for illustration purposes only. Your costs may vary depending on your business requirements.
Best Practices in B2B Ecommerce
What B2B e-commerce best practices should manufacturers follow? This question is critical to success in the digital age—but the resources you’ll find in Google aren’t entirely relevant for manufacturers. Much of the ink spilled around “B2B e-commerce” refers to B2C companies that are trying to get into distribution. Obviously, that’s not a manufacturer’s world.
So what best practices should manufacturers use in B2B ecommerce?
1. Offer real-time inventory/ATP personalized by customer account in B2B ecommerce
If you take one thing from this article, it should be this:
If your customers can call in to get inventory availability, you need to provide that information in your B2B ecommerce solution. If you don’t, you’ll introduce a friction point in the self-service buying process.
The only way you can show real-time inventory data is with real-time ERP integration (which Corevist includes out of the box).
In the SAP world, real-time inventory comes in two flavors:
Displaying the full inventory quantity to all logged-in customers.
Either way, whether you show customers total raw inventory or an ATP quantity, Corevist Commerce takes that information from SAP in real time and displays it in your B2B e-commerce solution. In the case of ATP, the displayed quantity is driven by the customer’s SAP sold-to.
In both cases, the moment inventory data changes in SAP, that change is reflected in Corevist Commerce for all relevant users. Of course, we’ve seen rare cases where a manufacturer actually doesn’t want customers to see inventory availability. This is often the case if the order fulfillment process includes some kind of manual approval workflow which may delay the order (for example, if regulatory compliance is involved).
Corevist adapts to workflows like this with inventory display turned off, plus full flexibility to support your manual order approval process.
2. Get each customer’s pricing right in B2B ecommerce
Since manufacturers often have contract pricing negotiated with each dealer/distributor, it’s imperative that your B2B ecommerce solution show the correct pricing.
If pricing is inaccurate (or—even worse—missing), your buyers will be forced to pick up the phone or send an email.
If that happens day-in and day-out, the B2B commerce platform has essentially become useless to them. If they can’t see an accurate price, they can’t very well place an order.
Since contract pricing and scaled/quantity pricing are defined in SAP, we believe it’s best to bring it to the B2B e-commerce store through real-time SAP integration. That way, every logged-in user sees their personalized price—including any quantity discounts that are defined in SAP.
What’s the alternative? You could maintain all your pricing rules separately, in the ecommerce solution and in middleware. But that will require ongoing data maintenance in 3 places (SAP, middleware, B2B e-commerce platform). At scale, that’s prohibitive. It’s also why we built Corevist Commerce to function as a real-time window into your SAP system. Your SAP business rules function in real time within your Corevist B2B Commerce solution, so your customers get the same pricing interaction through self-service which they would get if they called Customer Service.
3. Answer the rich content question in B2B ecommerce
You know you need to provide a best-of-breed B2B ecommerce experience. But what does that mean to different buyers? Do all your buyers have the same needs?
Chances are, they don’t.
If you have multiple customer segments, multiple brands, or multiple geographies/sales areas, you need to map the needs of every customer segment that will get a B2B ecommerce experience.
The biggest break point we see is between customers who need an Amazon-style browsing experience, and those who would rather just type in SKU numbers to place an order.
Customers who need B2C-style rich content in B2B e-commerce
Some buyers may want a B2C-style experience for ease of browsing, learning about products, and comparing different options. As we’ve documented elsewhere, Millennials are ditching distributors and buying directly from manufacturers. Their digital-first expectations are raising the bar for the kinds of online experiences which manufacturers must offer.
How do you know if this trend affects your business? Talk to your customers. Conduct a survey, both online and through Sales reps and CSRs, and find out what your buyers are looking for in a customer experience.
If you have a customer segment (or segments) that need product images, product comparison, suggested products, and so on, you should provide these things within the B2B ecommerce channel.
Customers who DON’T need rich content in B2B ecommerce
Other buyers who prefer to order by SKU might actually find the B2C-style experience frustrating. Give them a B2B online ordering portal, with saved carts, upload carts, and SKU-based order entry, and they’ll be happy.
4. Define your B2B ecommerce revenue target
As we’ve written elsewhere, we believe there’s 1 question that will define your B2B ecommerce success: What percentage of your overall revenue do you want to come through ecommerce?
It’s a powerful question.
Now, you can ask it in two contexts:
What % of existing revenue do you want to transition to B2B commerce? In this case, a few corollary questions arise naturally. What % of existing customers do you want to adopt B2B ecommerce? How are you going to turn them into dedicated ecommerce users?
What % of future revenue do you want to flow through B2B commerce, with ecommerce as the competitive differentiator that drives that new revenue? Other questions naturally follow this one: Where are your future customers doing business now? What benefits are they getting from your ecommerce competitors? What are their pain points in doing business with your competitors?
Obviously, you don’t have to choose between these two—in fact, a smart plan will ask both questions. You should strive not only to transition existing business to ecommerce, but also to take new market share from competitors who are lagging behind you in online customer experience. An intelligent B2B ecommerce plan will empower you to do both (possibly in successive phases).
5. Make sure your B2B ecommerce platform supports order approval workflows (if you need them)
If there are multiple decision-makers involved in your buyers’ purchasing process, then your B2B ecommerce solution needs to account for that (and support role-based privileges).
For example, say there are 3 types of users working for your customers. They’re differentiated by their privileges as it relates to orders:
Level 1—Can build orders but can’t see pricing or place orders.
Level 2—Can build orders AND place them, but can’t see pricing.
Level 3—Can build orders, place orders, AND see full pricing.
We see use cases like this when the manufacturer needs to protect the personalized pricing which they offer each customer. In high-turnover fields, where workers change jobs frequently, it’s best to hide pricing from the first two levels of worker, since they may take that knowledge with them to the next job.
Corevist Commerce includes full support for role-based privileges.
6. Choose your B2B ecommerce management model
This is a fundamental question, and it doesn’t get much play from B2B ecommerce platform providers: Who’s on the hook for your ecommerce infrastructure as a whole?
That question has far-reaching implications for the life of your ecommerce business. Because enterprise-class ecommerce is a system of systems, someone has to own that system—the larger infrastructure of which the ecommerce platform is just one piece.
If you source your B2B ecommerce platform from one vendor and your ERP integration from another, you’ve got a system of systems without an owner. That leaves your in-house IT team or another third party with the responsibility for the overall B2B commerce infrastructure.
That works fine for some organizations. Others can’t justify it.
We built Corevist Commerce to solve this problem. It’s a fully managed solution for manufacturers who don’t want to worry about their B2B e-commerce infrastructure in-house. We offer the platform (Corevist Commerce), the implementation & integration, ongoing support—and we help you grow the business—and 1/3 of Corevist clients have no in-house IT resources dedicated to supporting our platform.
Here’s what that looks like:
7. Get your Sales team on board from the start
As we’ve reported, Forrester Analyst John Bruno claims that the #1 way to kill B2B ecommerce is not to incentivize Sales reps to use it.
That makes sense. Out of all your employees, your Sales reps are (hopefully) the most in tune with customer needs. So they’re the ideal people to sell B2B ecommerce to your customers.
To do that, though, you’ll need to incorporate the concerns of Sales into your B2B ecommerce plan—from the very beginning. That way, you include them in your ecommerce transition and ensure you don’t alienate them.
8. Look for economies of scale that can serve all your global divisions and brands
Here’s another talking point which isn’t getting enough play: If you have multiple divisions or brands that need ecommerce, it just doesn’t make sense to force each division to pursue their own solution.
Why? Because the first 2 B2B ecommerce best practices depend on real-time ERP integration.
And if your ERP system is centralized or templatized across all your divisions/brands, then you’re not leveraging available economies of scale if you force each division to go their own way and build their own integration.
In fact, if that’s the case, each division will make large, duplicate investments in one-off B2B e-commerce/ERP integrations. This will hurt your bottom line now, but also in the future, as each division’s ecommerce channel will have its own technical quirks and will require the individual attention of a dedicated team.
Corevist Commerce is different. Our solution is built on a real-time, configurable SAP integration that’s ready for reuse in any/all storefronts. Because our implementation is as templatized as your ERP system(s), Corevist allows you to scale your global ecommerce business fast.
Here’s what that looks like for a sample project with 10 global storefronts: