In the B2B (business-to-business) world, it is not at all uncommon for customers to have account credit or an authorized purchase amount. Are you prepared?
By allowing your customers to place orders using credit on their account, bill me later, or commercial credit cards, you are building a delighted customer interaction, getting them through the buying experience in a faster, more efficient manner. This is especially helpful for customers that make significantly-sized purchases. For these large purchases, your customer may not want to use a credit card; they expect you to deliver other options.
Giving your customer a variety of payment options, you eliminate any additional point of friction, or point(s) at which a customer may decide not to buy from you and abandon their cart.
In these cases, if you're using the live integration of xTupleCommerce with xTuple ERP, you can associate customer credit with a customer's account in the ERP (called "Terms"). The "terms" allow customers to make a transaction on the eCommerce site without processing a credit card.
Of course, it's not always desireable to allow this behavior with all customers. Perhaps you have an internal procedure for granting some customers "terms" but not others. Or you've found that invoicing customers later is only beneficial for particular customers. In this case you can mark the authorized customers in the ERP, and when those customers log into the eCommerce website, the system will understand which options to offer during checkout.
One additional important feature is "flagging" customers. If a customer that is usually granted the ability to pay with "terms" or by invoice happens to be behind on payments, you can flag them in the ERP.
This will block their ability to pay with these special features, and they will be required to pay by credit card (or not process an order at all, if you so choose). The system will display a default message to the customer to explain what is happening. This default text can be altered by your team to include unique information, such as "It seems that you're behind on an invoice. Please call Judy in billing at 1-800-757-5555."
The flagging of customers can be set up as automatic or manual.
Your goal is to make the buying experience as frictionless as possible for your customers, while maintaining a strategy that will not negatively impact your business (for example, unpaid invoices that are long past due).
Using a system that allows the ERP to control the user experience, you can be sure you're only managing aspects of your business in one place, and engaging with customers online just as you would in person.
As I promised, this is the next in a series of blog posts that introduces you to the xTupleCommerce system. Look for more upcoming information, and please don’t hesitate to contact me and the xTuple Web Services Group (WSG) team with questions.
My last post in the series was: What is your seventh biggest B2B eCommerce Challenge? Saving Customers' Time
Photo Credit: frankieleon from Flickr