— Better sides of B2B e-commerce solutions —

 

Magento e-commerce, which currently holds 10,1% of global market share is an open source platform, meaning that is free to download and use. But, being an open-source platform doesn’t often mean that all features are absolutely free of charge. Magento e-commerce, which is a strong and serious system, offers two customer solutions. One of them is Magento community edition (CE) – totally free to install and configure, but left to us (Magento specialist companies) to deal with and develop it further. The other is Enterprise edition (EE) – also part of this open-source platform, but it doesn’t go for free.

Magento Enterprise edition costs around $18k per year, so it can be considered as a really big “bite” for smaller online businesses. However, there are many webshops using Magento enterprise edition. Let’s just list a few of them: Pepe Jeans, Bulgari, Chopard, Huawei, etc. However, these are larger companies willing to spend on quality and sustainable online presence (webshop). Still, it doesn’t mean your growing business shouldn’t think of a good b2b e-commerce solution.

B2B solutions for e-commerce are becoming more and more popular, having in mind that online sales tends to overcome bricks-and-mortars for good. The entire sales process can now happen within this online system: in our case, it’s Magento. It’s a complex system that consists not only of order management and processing; it also consists of warehouse / distribution centres management, then targeting marketplaces and doing follow-ups (social, support, etc.). The image below is taken from official Magento Enterprise 2.1 demo presentation, and it clearly shows the process.

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The price of Magento enterprise edition may seem very high; but it offers numerous features that are essential for building what we mentioned in a previous paragraph – a quality and sustainable webshop. For that reason, Magento has recently introduced a new Enterprise version – Magento Enterprise 2.1, which has many enhanced features, mostly in the filed of marketing and webshop campaigns.

Magento team is doing marketing and demo sessions for users interested in what this new version has to offer. The demo covers key features and benefits, brought to help the user find out what’s different and better in this version. Since Magento commerce is a complex system, there are also a few explanations about order management system and similar processes that happen within Magento enterprise.

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This time, the emphasis on the new update (Magento Enterprise 2.1) is definitely on boosting business and creating quality marketing tools for end-users (webshop admins). It is often a concern whether admins could schedule a sales campaign, or improve in the field of webshop’s promotion directly from Magento admin part.

When it comes to marketing, the improvements will take effects on end-user experience, thus letting the Magento admins rely on the platform for good marketing, and customer retention. Some of the improvements that are more marketing than development optimized are:

 

1. Emphasis on responsive design

This is now almost a default feature on every website, and it’s called “responsive web design”. However, many Magento webshops have a mobile theme installed and optimized for product search and buying cycle. Since cross-device shopping has become more popular in recent time, Magento Enterprise 2.1 has enhanced reference themes for responsive design, thus enabling even better cross-device experience.

2. Redesign of the checkout flow

We are more than aware that our customers don’t want to go over endless checkout processes in order to finalize their purchase. Magento Enterprise 2.1 update has made it even simpler – it reduced checkout steps from 5 to 2. On the other hand, most of Magento community addition users already know about one-step checkout process, using OSC Magento extension. But, this is still a major update for Enterprise version.

3. Live changes preview for Magento webshop admins

The most important thing for boosting sales and online search (webshop SEO) is posting relevant and updated content. This content includes textual product explanation, or imagery or product videos. For the purpose of quality content upload, new Magento Enterprise 2.1 version has improved staging and live preview changes.

4. Product videos

Enhancements on product pages are crucial for attracting more customers that will, preferably, proceed to checkout page and complete the purchase. With more and more product videos on the Internet, embedding a YouTube or Vimeo video on your webshop product page will increase: 1) average page visit; 2) time spent on page (duration); 3) return visits (return customers), and will, finally, decrease bounce rate on the webshop’s product page. With this enhancement, Magento Enterprise 2.1 proved that it cares about facilitating marketing efforts of webshop owners and store admins.

5. PayPal checkouts, great for customers

This improvement includes usual PayPal actions, but this time a customer doesn’t leave your Magento webshop. This feature is improved in order to boost sales, since in-context checkout with PayPal increases conversion rates by 69 points (research done by Magento internal merchants’ data). Since PayPal is a preferable payment method for customers that want to avoid entering their credit card numbers, this enhancement will only help in attracting more direct buyers.

 

These are only some of the enhancements brought by Magento Enterprise 2.1. Many others affect development and overall webshop’s performance. Let’s just list some of them: enhanced Magento admin drag and drop tools, new Elasticsearch feature, product importing and exporting feature is also enhanced; then PCI compliance (payment card industry) and Magento Enterprise on cloud.
All the improvements brought by Magento Enterprise 2.1 will definitely save time and ease the process of product marketing to Magento admins and marketers. Since the platform should help in all sales-related processes, the only thing left for admins is to cleverly use it and get all advantages of improved marketing tools for Magento enterprise webshops. Since customer experience is number one but, on the other hand, webshop owners need to think of many other things that will increase sales, this version – made for b2b e-commerce businesses – is surely the right thing for bigger webshops that will now dedicate on details for attracting and retaining customers.

 

Image courtesy: Magento Commerce – screenshots taken from Magento Enterprise 2.1 demo session.