The E-Commerce Column

6 Ways You Can Have a B2B and Other Non-Standard Stores

6 Ways you can have B2B with Hotcakes Commerce

What is a "Non-Standard" Store?

This term isn’t meant to belittle your online store simply because it doesn’t fall into the normal standards of what many think when they picture an e-commerce solution. Shopping cart solutions get used for all kinds of purposes, and a lot of those do not result in a transaction. Essentially, a shopping cart solution is a perfect way to display and manage a large number of items to website visitors. This could include an online catalog, people matching, classifieds, real estate listings, and so much more. The list is endless.

(Helpful Tip: Hotcakes can do all of those examples, and more.)

The following six types of stores can be done independent of each other, or combined in one or more ways. That’s the beauty of a truly flexible e-commerce solution… YOU get to define how you want your store to function, and YOU get to decide how customers see your features.

1 – Members Only Pricing

There are typically a few different flavors of members only pricing. The primary way that people do this is either hide/show pricing based upon the member logging in, or by creating a pricing group, where different members can have different pricing options. For example, your may have contracts with different businesses for different discounts off of the list price.

In Hotcakes, showing and hiding pricing based upon varying login conditions is a pretty trivial custom viewset update. Creating pricing groups is even simpler, with it being point and click!

(Side Note: You shouldn’t think of modifying a custom viewset as extra work. You’re going to be doing that anyway if you want to apply your branding to your store.)

2 – Members Only Catalog

Sometimes, you want to only show your catalog to people that you know. You need for them to identify themselves, and then you show them your catalog of products and/or services. Once they login, new pages, features, and your store can become readily available. This is an easy one as well. All you have to do is determine what level(s)of hiding that you want to achieve. Once you do, you can assign the appropriate permissions on pages, store views, and even in the store product types, categories, and individual products.

3 – Completely Hide Pricing

This is a very flexible way to say that your store either doesn’t accept currency for transactions, or you are not actually a “store” at all. You might be one of those other examples from earlier, such as a classified site.

Hiding pricing is a very easy thing to do with Hotcakes as well. While we have an excellent suggestion for this to be a configuration feature (you should vote for it if you want), a handful of minor changes in your custom viewset will have you up and running in minutes.

4 – No Checkout

Whoa… An online store without a checkout? Sacrilege you say!

There are many sites that are not actually trying to collect money at the end of the catalog process. Instead, they might be a simple catalog site. They might have a certain number of products and services with complex display requirements. In these instances, they still want to show their goods, but desire a structured way to manage those goods. This is especially important for delegation of those editing responsibilities. Doing this allows your content editors to fill in fields, without you having to worry about them learning HTML or breaking a design.

Removing your checkout is a single change in your custom viewset. It’s as easy as that!

5 – Replace Checkout with Email

Another interesting way that some B2B stores function is to simply replace the checkout step with an email step (or other kind of notification). Think about industries where products are either highly regulated or very expensive. Instead of buying outright, you might want to get a listing of what your customer is looking for, and send that list to a retailer or a sales team. All you have to do here is replace the checkout button and add a single new view to your custom viewset.

Hotcakes Commerce email instead of checkout

6 – Bulk Ordering

Often, if you’re a B2B site, your customers are not ordering a single product at a time. They might be ordering many products, with each line item perhaps being in the hundreds. This kind of customer needs a fast and easy way to find their desired products, enter the amounts, and then add them all to the cart. We thought about this since our first release… This is why one of your out of the box views in your default viewset is called “Bulk.” Simply change the view for your category to use this view in your configuration and you’re ready to go!

Hotcakes Commerce bulk ordering

Bonus Tip

Don’t limit yourself to these methods for your own store. Just because you’re a B2B organization doesn’t mean that you can’t use B2C features. In fact, you should be using B2C features. Your customers may work for a business, but they are people just like you and are used to and even perhaps spoiled by using B2C features all day long for their other purchases. Why not have a web presence that takes advantage of their expectations?

Author and B2B marketing thought-leader, Bryan Kramer

There is no more B2B or B2C: It’s Human to Human

Like author Bryan Kramer once said before coining human to human (or #H2H), “Consumers are confused. Why can’t we make it simple for them to understand what we’re selling, to share their experiences and the value they felt with others?”

That’s what you have with Hotcakes Commerce. A commerce platform that allows you to simplify the experience for your target customer – no matter who they are.

Don't just take our word for it... Let us SHOW you!

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About the Author

Will StrohlWill Strohl

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