Most B2B companies struggle with implementing B2B eCommerce to be a major piece of their business. This is starting to change as companies adapt to COVID-19 and there is an increasing necessity for eCommerce in B2B. A top reason that companies miss the mark with eCommerce in B2B is that they don’t get the pricing right with eCommerce.
Many companies in B2B eCommerce simply offer list price or maybe some tiered pricing. However, if a company calls in they can simply get a better price by negotiating with a sales rep. Of course, you will not buy online if you can call in and get a better price.
This is a massive failure on the part of B2B companies to make eCommerce successful. You need to have pricing match the pricing that they would get if they called in or work with a sales rep. This might be negotiated pricing or contract pricing.
How do you do this? There are two main ways:
Display your pricing on the frontend via the ERP if it is pricing that is negotiated. This will require a real-time lookup and authentication of the customer to determine the correct pricing so you can display the pricing from the ERP on the eCommerce website. This also requires your ERP to be able to handle fast pricing API calls. If this is not possible you may want to find a way to build a custom pricing table that can provide real-time lookups and maybe is batch updated by your ERP price once a day.
If you can’t do that then you can simply manage price at a customer group level or customer-specific level in a platform like Magento that has customer group and company level pricing. One thing I have seen companies do that is very successful is to have an automatic pricing algorithm in which if a client orders x amount per year or x parameters, the price will automatically change. That way customers can know exactly what they need to order to get better pricing.
Your Customer’s Profile
Price should be tied to certain factors and should be modified over time. Price should account for competition, the general economic environment, perceived value, and emotional factors. Different products have different price sensitivities and profitabilities. Use algorithms to decipher which item lines should be treated in which way.
Every customer is unique and has its own price sensitivity. Small volume customers tend to be less price-sensitive than larger volume customers. Customers who purchase less frequently are also less price-sensitive than frequent buyers. Other profile considerations could include the likelihood to pay extra for speedy delivery, buy more, or request for special assistance.