During the development stage of planning and building xTupleCommerce (real-time, xTuple ERP-connected Sales & Customer Service online access for businesses), we found that offering the ability to work with pricing schedules on B2B eCommerce sites turned out to be one of the most desired features.
Not familiar with Pricing Schedules? Let me explain.
Imagine you are a wholesale distributor, and you have many "Partners" that buy your products and then resell them. Your partners will expect a price break on your products, and as the wholesale distributor, it's worth it to you and your business to negotiate varying rates at which you will sell products to these partners.
Additionally, each partner may have a unique price cut or discount compared to other partners or typical customers. For example, if one particular partner will possibly bring you a lot of business, you may be willing to give them a great rate. If the partner seems to be a newbie and might not bring a lot of business, you might not give such a great rate. So on and so forth. Those special rates are called Pricing Schedules.
How Pricing Schedules Relate to eCommerce
During development, our customers told us how they wanted this feature to work: their customers would log into the B2B eCommerce site and see prices that are based on their pricing schedule, which is setup and maintained in the ERP. Currently, without an xTupleCommerce site, your partners would have to do the math manually. They may get a catalog of all products and prices, and if they know that they get products for a price that is 18% less than the list price, they must do the math to figure out their unique price. However, if the partner could log into your live, ERP-connected website, browse a catalog of products, and immediately see their unique price, suddenly everyone's life just got a bit easier.
As I mentioned before, not all of your partners will have the same pricing schedule. Some may get 18% off, while others may only get 10% off. The xTupleCommerce-enabled site will recognize the user when they log in and immediately display the accurate price based on their particular schedule.
We've also added features that allow the distributor to build "rules" based on your needs. "If you buy 5 or more of this particular product, you will receive an additional 5% off," for example. These kinds of tools make the process of buying and selling so much more efficient for both the buyer and the seller. Of course, we can also do things such as display the original price with a strike through and then display the discounted price in big bold numbers (to augment the separation) and enhance your marketing efforts.
Keeping up with Price Schedule Changes
We also found that in interviewing customers pricing schedules can change often, quite often. If a partner has been on board for several years, it's not unusual for them to ask for another "bump" in their schedule, or if they have a significantly sized order coming in, they may ask for an extra cut. The wholesale distributor can update the partner's pricing schedule on the fly, and the updates will show up in real-time on the website for the partner.
If you are scouting out a potential B2B eCommerce platform, be sure that the system you choose has this built in. Save your team — and your business partners — a lot of time.
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 fourth biggest B2B eCommerce Challenge? Allowing Guest Purchasing
Photo Credit: Peter Hosey from Flickr