Before we jump into the meat of the article, I want to make a point — ecommerce solutions that are built for B2C businesses, in most cases, are not an appropriate fit for a B2B business.
The truth is, it’s very common for up-and-coming manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, and importers to get it into their heads that they need their site to be like Amazon, and that’s simply not the best way to do business when it comes to B2B customers. That’s not how your customers want to do business, and quite frankly, it’s not how you want to do business either. It’s worthwhile to emulate certain aspects of the Amazon experience, but not necessarily all of them.
Here’s the difference: Amazon has a shopping cart (most modern ecommerce systems are shopping-cart based). B2B ecommerce, though? A shopping cart with the same available products, inventory, and pricing with credit card checkout for every customer doesn’t reflect the reality of how your customers purchase and order product.
This is where you need to begin. If you want to get an ecommerce system that integrates with QuickBooks, you need to make sure you’re getting a solution that provides the best possible experience for your customers.
And that means customer and sales rep portals.
The Best B2B Ecommerce QuickBooks Integrations Provide Dedicated Customer and Sales Rep Portals
Most B2B manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, and importers use QuickBooks. That’s not something that’s going to change any time soon, which is why you’re searching for a QuickBooks ecommerce integration in the first place.
If you want to provide ecommerce for your customers and you’re “locked in,” so to speak, to QuickBooks, the best solution is going to be tailor-made both for the nature of B2B customers (and their purchasing habits) and for the unique needs of QuickBooks.
B2B customers don’t browse a website for hours comparing products. They don’t put items in their shopping cart and let them sit there for weeks on end, trying to discern if those products are exactly what they’re looking for.
B2B customers have a pretty solid idea of what they’re looking for, long before they ever reach you. Even when they’re brand new customers and are unfamiliar with you, your products, or your business (like a new restaurant that has never worked with a supplier before), you or your sales rep can fairly quickly help them determine what their needs are.
After that, it simply becomes a matter of placing repeat orders. Of course, every industry is different, and there will be changes to what your customers order throughout the year, but even with seasonal changes or changes resulting from changes to their business, the ordering process itself will look very similar month to month.
These customers need a few things out of the ecommerce solution you provide:
- They need accurate information about product availability and inventory levels
- They don’t need to view or access your full product catalog
- They need to only see pricing (and availability for that matter) that has been specifically determined beforehand by you
And on your end, you need all of their orders to be sent automatically to QuickBooks.
The value of having these portals is clear, both on the customer’s side and on your side (and your rep’s side too).
From the customer’s point of view, they don’t see a lot of extraneous information that gets in the way of the ordering process. If they’re making a repeat order, they can easily put the order through and be done with it — they can even train an employee to make orders so they can focus on other work.
From your point of view, life is easier too. You no longer have to worry that an error has been introduced somewhere between the order being placed and the order hitting QuickBooks, which also means you don’t have to worry about an error further down the line. You’ll know that your customers aren’t going to order anything strange (or anything that you can’t fulfill) because you’ll have precisely set the products and availability that they can see.
It’s great for your reps too. They save time in the field because they can easily see current inventory levels from their portals, and they can also see exactly what products are and aren’t available to specific customers.
Everyone wins — at least, that’s how the best ecommerce QuickBooks integrations should be set up, though not all of them are. If you come across an integration that gives your B2B customers a shopping cart, run far, far away.
See the Now Commerce Sales Rep Portal in Action
To see what your sales reps would see and how simple Now Commerce makes ordering for them, click the link below to watch the free video.
On the page below, you’ll be able to see how Now Commerce also provides a rep portal, integrates with QuickBooks Desktop, and can even be used to send orders to a warehouse.