B2B order management is more complicated than the average B2C sales. The order value is typically higher, the average buying circle is much longer, and involves technologies such as punch cards, RFP, and EDI. To effectively manage B2B orders, businesses should be aware of the current challenges and solutions.
B2B order management challenges
Late delivery is disgruntling for every customer. Yet in a B2C world, most of the time you can make it up with a simple coupon, worth only a few dollars. However, this is not the case for a B2B relationship where the stakes are much higher.
Failure to meet the promised delivery date may result in a refund or in the worst-case scenario, cancellation of the contract. And because of the large order volume, a single customer can represent a large percentage of your business, which can be catastrophic.
B2B customers often make a large and high-valued order and are looking for long-term suppliers, their standards are usually much higher than your B2C customers.
Furthermore, B2B buyers these days want an experience that reflects B2C. Including easy browsing, fast checkout, fast shipping, and first-class customer service. Yet one-to-one sales meetings, attractive discounts, personalized service, and efficient ordering processes remain the key to win a deal.
Therefore, your company must be able to cope with these high demands. Failure to fulfill their needs risks payment refusal and cancellation by important customers. Here, the key is to have an efficient order management system and an e-commerce platform that provides internal support for your unique business type.
The diverse customer demands
Just as B2B customers have different needs when reaching out to your store, they might require special treatment, such as:
- A product needs configuring but only a part of the configuration is available
- Customers may qualify for volume-based pricing
- They may qualify for special pricing
- Customers require a variety of payment options and credit terms. Such as proforma invoices, deposits, split payments, and payments on account
- Or even matching the price with the market fluctuations
Available B2B order management solutions
Standalone order management software
A quick solution is to install B2B order management software into your current e-commerce platform.
Software like Atom8, BackOrder to centralize your order across all channels. More advanced apps even allow for inventory management and real-time reporting. You can discover Atom8 and BackOrder on BigCommerce platform here:
However, you need to make sure that the new configuration goes along well with your existing system. Check if the app aligns with your delivery and other management software as well as your accounting system. This might be consuming as you have to compare data across departments and work out the most feasible solution.
Another popular method companies use when they encounter operational inefficiencies is enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. This system covers a wide range of functions, from order and inventory management to financial management, procurement, CRM, warehousing and logistics, and even human resources and payroll.
However, despite having a large number of functions, ERP software is generally not tailored to specific industries and types of businesses. This means that you might have to pay for features that you will never use or need while missing out on industry-specific practices. In addition, they often come with complex navigation and learning systems, and the implementation time is much longer than that of other B2B technologies.
All in all, B2B is a massive opportunity for your business. By understanding the bottlenecks and applying the right solutions, you will be able to pursue world-class B2B order management. While large corporations often build their own services, standalone order management software is more cut out for small and medium enterprises. Start thinking about automatic order management today should you plan to fully capitalize on the growth of B2B eCommerce.