The expectations of B2B customers have changed. B2B customers are now looking for B2C customer experience. In fact, B2B Future Shopper Report 2023 suggests that 46% of B2B buyers are frustrated with the online buying experience. And to make matters worse, 40% of global B2B buyers say they have changed all their suppliers in the last 12 months. In addition to that, B2B commerce is evolving – and rapidly – because the B2B e-commerce is expected to reach $3 trillion by 2027.

To meet these customer demands and order volume, B2B order management is critical for success, and companies can no longer rely on manual processing, spreadsheets, legacy applications and ERP — tools that were designed for repetitive, back-office business operations. Instead, B2B companies need an order management that is highly flexible, agile, scalable, customizable, along with intelligent decision-making, real-time inventory visibility and customer centric capabilities.

B2B organizations would do well to take a fresh look at how they address order management  and look for a system that combines existing ERP functionalities with advanced B2B order fulfillment capabilities. Additionally, if they can automate business rules and make real-time decisions based on AI/ML, B2B can enable maximum value to both B2B professionals and B2B customers. By implementing a system like this, B2B companies can meet the demands of their customers and stay ahead of the competition.

Here are 5 key  features a B2B Order Management Solution should possess:

  1. Centralized Inventory: A consolidated, central view of inventory across all locations (such as warehouses, stores, and suppliers) is important to ensure that the products are available when needed. The inventory counts should be updated in remote systems as orders are received and allocated to fulfillment nodes. This will enable selling systems to quickly query the inventory and its availability to sell, also called Available To Promise (ATP).
  2. Order Routing: Route orders to fulfillment nodes in the supply chain network according to a set of rules (allocation, carrier, etc.) designed to ensure accuracy, timeliness, low cost to serve. This ensures that the customer receives the product on time and with minimum errors.
  3. Sales Across All Selling Channels: Collect customer orders from all selling channels (e.g. website, app, orders collected in-store). Provide a user interface for retail store associates to use to place orders to be fulfilled from stock located outside their four walls (e.g. distribution center, other store). This ensures that the customer can place an order from any channel and still receive the product on time.
  4. Data and User Interfaces: Provide data and user interfaces for fulfillment and customer services applications to query, update and process orders. This ensures that the order management system is easy to use and can be accessed by anyone who needs it.
  5. Reporting and Alerting Suite: Provide a reporting and alerting suite to support end-to-end order lifecycle, issue resolution and forward planning. It ensures that the business can monitor the order system and make adjustments as needed.

Manual processing and ERP can only take you so far. An effective B2B order management system, such as the Blue Yonder Commerce Order Management Microservices, can track orders from all sales channels, edit orders with few clicks and manage inventory across the entire supply chain network in a centralized platform, while empowering internal sales reps and customer buyer agents with reliable data.

With the ability to allocate inventory to customer orders based on priority, and coupled with real-time order confirmation, inventory updates and shipment confirmation, Commerce Order Management Microservices for B2B automates decision-making, reduces errors and saves money.