Insights from the Shopping Cart section of the online course Digital Commerce for B2B Business.
- In B2B, one cart is not enough.
Large organizations usually have several purchasing processes in progress. They can start at different times and take time to be finalized.
That can be solved with multiple carts functionality. It allows customers to maintain multiple independent carts in parallel. The process becomes much more streamlined, and the user experience improves. B2B shoppers can assign names to these carts and configure them under specific organizational accounts or contracts.
- Sharing and Collaboration
It is common for several people to be involved in placing a B2B order, and the shopping cart needs to be optimized for collaboration. A cart owner can share a shopping cart or list with a co-worker or anyone in their business unit. When sharing, it should be possible to control permissions by specifying what another person can do with the cart – full access or view only. Businesses also need ways to share shopping carts outside an online store. For example, a user can generate a link to a cart or list that can be copied and pasted into an email or messaging app.
- Bulk orders
As many B2B buyers know precisely what they want to buy, they can search for products by SKU number on a Quick Order page.
Keep in mind that large customers may request that B2B merchants support SKU search not only by their internal SKU but also by SKU numbers used in the buyer’s procurement system. The quick order page should also allow customers to upload a CSV file with a list of products prepared in a spreadsheet or exported from an internal system or paste it as text from the computer’s clipboard. When the list of products is ready, a customer can add it to a cart, create an order, or save it into a shopping list.
- Multiple ways to add to the shopping cart
B2B online shop needs to be optimized for productivity and give customers multiple ways to add products to the cart. In addition to the familiar Add-to-cart button on product details or categories pages, customers should have the ability to reorder from previously placed orders, add multiple products at once from the bulk order page, upload a prepared in advance CSV file, search and add products by SKU, or add products from a wish list.
- B2B Cart Page
The key principles for displaying cart content are clarity and control. It should be easy to understand what’s in the cart and the final cost, including shipping and taxes. It should be easy to make changes, like updating the quantity or removing products. The B2B Shopping cart page requires some additional functionality. Customers should be able to add comments to the cart or specific cart items. Some customers may want to add an order reference from their internal procurement system to help to reconcile the purchase internally. A B2B site can save customers time by supporting search and quick add-to-cart functionality right on the cart page.
- Cart approval
The Approval Process feature lets B2B customers configure a single or multistep approval process. When the cart total exceeds a pre-configured threshold, a shopper may need the manager’s approval before placing the order.
The employee can proceed to checkout only after the manager has received the request and approved the order. Some businesses may require multiple approval steps depending on the price and products purchased.
- Request for Quote
An RFQ, which stands for a request for a quote, is usually submitted by customers looking to get a better price than the one listed on the website.
A competitive B2B environment requires online stores to raise their game and add multiple features to effectively facilitate buyer and seller interaction, especially at the early stage of negotiating prices and signing agreements.
There are multiple ways to implement the RFQ process in Ecommerce. A quote can be initiated online by a customer or a sales rep who received the customer’s request via email or during a phone conversation. A customer adds products she wants to buy in a shopping cart, but she submits it as a quote to a sales agent instead of going through checkout.
When a quote is created, it is used to negotiate the deal. A sales rep can edit the quote by modifying quantities, prices, and delivery conditions or suggesting alternative products. It is important that both buyer and seller can add comments to the quote and keep the history of the quote changes.
There is a lot of complexity in the Shopping Cart implementation. Every operation in the cart – like removing or adding a product, increasing quantity, or applying coupon results in cart recalculation. Before a customer can place an order, a cart must be validated to ensure product availability, confirm that the correct prices are used, and promotions are applied. The cart logic should be aware of product combinations and relations between products. For example, when quantity is increased for a bundle, it is increased for all products that make up the bundle; if a customer removes a product with the option (like warranty), both the main product and its option need to be removed from the cart. For any change in the cart, it needs to be recalculated.