2. B2B Integrations with Third-Party Associates
Developing and implementing associations with third-party service providers and open source applications can help any B2B company build a 360-degree eCommerce platform that's completely scalable, responsive to trends and convenient for collaborations. That's one of the key characteristics that distinguishes a robust platform from out-of-the-box software and B2C applications. These custom integrations can include sales tax formulas for multiple states and countries, shipping integrations with UPS and FedEx and custom features for verifying LTL carriers that ship large equipment and products. Custom integrations can also connect with financial companies like JD Edwards Implementations or HP Financials for B2B companies that have complex back-office accounting needs where intuitive management solutions could foster better efficiency and control of manufacturing processes, industry-specific best practices in accounting and asset-intensive multiple projects.
Back-office customizations facilitate hundreds of B2B customer and associate relationships because everything a business does draws information from company records or is reflected in accounting. However, regular software -- no matter how advanced -- requires businesses to make adjustments. Customizations perform these adjustments automatically within the back-office software’s middleware layer so that B2B operations aren't continually disrupted.
Connecting with Vendors, Suppliers and Distributors
Best practices for B2B platforms involve connecting with as many suppliers, vendors, niche manufacturers and information resources as possible to provide better customer engagement and a greater range of service and product options. Customers can interface directly with these associates when companies routinely and securely exchange information through electronic data exchanges (EDI), API integrations, FTP or REST/SOAP-based Web services and other protocols. Working with a skilled eCommerce platform developer, companies can customize applications using the most beneficial method of directly exchanging information. That enables customers and staff to research products and supplies, supply chains, MSDS information, company backgrounds and other key intelligence for informed decision-making. The benefits of establishing direct, custom connections include:
- Assigning attributes for internal and external product searches
- Supporting real-time payment authorizations
- Configuring product descriptions for catalogs with details like measurements, specifications, features, etc.
- Enabling customers to conduct their own research
- Confirming shipping options with one-click efficiency
- Handling and supporting administrative decisions on bulk pricing, sales discounts and coupon processing
- Tracking shipping through multiple carriers
- Getting confirmed information directly for advertising and promotional campaigns
- Associating multiple shipping addresses to a B2B customer for split-shipping among multiple carriers
- Managing supply chain visibility, third-party logistics and fluctuating inventory levels at warehouses and distributor locations
- Estimating inventory and assets more accurately and integrating them into charts of accounts and financial reports to provide a more complete picture of company resources
These examples cover just a few of the options and benefits of connecting with third-party suppliers. No matter how extensive B2B online sales may be, adding automatic third-party connections increases sales and customer satisfaction and generates cost-value benefits. Companies can add customizations like these gradually to suit their business plans and evolving customer buying behaviors.
Installing and/or Integrating with CRMs
B2B customers can easily install or integrate customer relationship management systems into their front- and back-office eCommerce platforms. Many of these systems are open source, but it takes a team of skilled IT developers to integrate CRM software seamlessly with back-office systems. In B2B operations, CRM can be an invaluable tool for hooking into financial systems to track earnings and costs associated with a customer and providing details on leads and sales prospects to predict a prospect's future needs and the appropriate sales strategy to use. B2B companies can install open source CRMs with just a few technical requirements, but what they make of the software depends on their IT teams' skills in integrating and customizing their eCommerce platforms to provide company-specific tools for creating, curating and nurturing customer relationships.
Speeding Payroll Processing and HR Management
Direct connections with third-party payroll services simplify managing staff in multiple jurisdictions and allow workers to on consult employment records, onboard information directly and request employment histories and pay verifications with these payroll processors. Companies can also use this type of custom connection to enable hiring temporary workers and outsource HR functions, which is especially attractive for companies that maintain staff in multiple jurisdictions.
Vetting and Hiring Staff and Investigating Business Associates
Custom back-office integrations accelerate many routine investigations involved with hiring and vetting staff, checking references and conducting business investigations. B2B companies can establish secure connections through dozens of vendors in the cloud for customized and encrypted access to confidential information.
Qualifying Customers for Lines of Credit
Most B2B companies establish complex paying arrangements with their best customers, but any kind of delayed payment could generate substantial losses when companies can’t meet their payment obligations. Custom back-office features could include various ways to run credit checks, monitor customer creditworthiness and bill-paying history and allow new customers to apply for credit and supply vital company information that includes company officers, bank and trade references, bankruptcy history and personal guarantees from the business owners. Decisions to grant credit can be based on standard business credit ratings or credit scores and other considerations like public information, the company's willingness to earn credit and accept late fees and penalties and other factors that B2B companies can establish.
B2B customizations and integrations of third-party resources can empower any organization to generate real-time updates, reconcile and scale business solutions to complex challenges and foster greater visibility of related services to staff and customers. The digital ecosphere offers many open source applications, big data resources, SaaS third-party integrations and other connection opportunities through the API layer of eCommerce platforms, but custom development ensures that everything runs smoothly and aligns with company goals and B2B best practices.