The BIG, commerce Podcast

Unleashing your B2B ecommerce website with the new BigCommerce B2B Edition, with Lance Owide from BigCommerce

June 13, 2023 Calashock Commerce
The BIG, commerce Podcast
Unleashing your B2B ecommerce website with the new BigCommerce B2B Edition, with Lance Owide from BigCommerce
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Is your B2B e-commerce experience hitting the mark in today's digital-first world? Join us as we chat with Lance O-Wide, Director of B2B at BigCommerce, about the game-changing new B2B Edition and how it's revolutionizing the B2B e-commerce sector. The pandemic may have accelerated the shift towards digital-first buyers, but this change was bound to happen. Lance highlights the importance of providing a simplified, efficient, and dynamic experience for B2B buyers and shares how BigCommerce is helping businesses transition away from outdated systems to create a single source of truth for all their processes.

In our exciting conversation, we delve into the latest release of BigCommerce's B2B Edition, discussing the major improvements it brings to both merchants and customers. Discover how features like multi-storefront compatibility and an enhanced buyer portal can increase conversion rates, boost average order values, and make sales teams more efficient. We also explore the potential for creating bespoke experiences for customers, offering unique, personalized buyer journeys that set your business apart.

But that's not all! We also cover the advantages of headless commerce and its applications for the complex B2B landscape. Learn how starting with a monolithic store and adopting progressive web apps allows BigCommerce's B2B Edition to offer merchants the flexibility needed to adapt and grow their businesses. Don't miss this insightful episode as we uncover the future of B2B e-commerce and how BigCommerce is at the forefront of this revolution. Your business's success depends on staying ahead of the curve, and this conversation with Lance O-Wide is the perfect starting point.

If you missed the first episode, catch it here.

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Luigi Moccia:

Hello and welcome to a brand new episode of the Big Commerce podcast. I'm your host, Luigi, and in today's episode I'm joined by Lance Owide, Director of B2B over at Big Commerce. We were very lucky to have Lance on the show a couple of months ago, but he's back today talking about the new B2B edition, which was launched in May. Let's get to the show. Hi, Lance, nice to have you back.

Lance Owide:

Thanks for having me back, luigi, and so soon as well. It means that the first time must have gone, okay, i guess.

Luigi Moccia:

I think we thoroughly enjoyed the recording that episode and listening back to it, but you've been busy since we recorded.

Lance Owide:

We've been very busy over here at the Big Commerce B2B HQ. Lots to talk about. Our big release on May 1st went incredibly well The new release of B2B edition. I'm very excited to be here to talk about it.

Luigi Moccia:

Cool, Just in case anyone didn't catch the first episode, which we'll link to why don't you introduce yourself?

Lance Owide:

Yes, I'm Lance Owide. I'm the general manager of B2B here at Big Commerce. I look after the global strategy for success of our B2B edition and B2B merchants using the Big Commerce platform.

Luigi Moccia:

I made a first when the new version of B2B edition launched. Why don't you run us through what the main differences are? Let's start off with why is there emphasis on improving the B2B edition product within Big Commerce? that was fairly good anyway.

Lance Owide:

I appreciate that it was fairly good. B2b is a huge growth area for Big Commerce and for e-commerce more generally. When we think about why that is, why now? why the emphasis? everyone talks about a pandemic and I hate that as a catalyst, i'm sick of hearing about it now. This was going to happen anyway. Maybe the pandemic accelerated a few things, but let's start talking about it.

Lance Owide:

The buyer has changed. The buyer is digital first and they want to self-serve product research and they want to have those offline processes move online. We're calling them self-serve events, whether that's creating a quote or paying an invoice or even checking on the status of an order. Has it shipped? Has it partially shipped? The way we think about it and the way B2B merchants, whether they're manufacturers or distributors, are thinking about it now is it's a hybrid approach. It doesn't matter whether you place an order on e-procurement or online or through the sales team or through EDI or OCI. You should be able to see and manage that process for that order in an e-commerce platform. It should be self-service.

Lance Owide:

Manufacturers, distributors, from $5 million in revenue to $50 billion in revenue are all pushing towards that Nirvana state and they're all trying to get there. That's about simplifying the process for the buyer. It's about increasing conversion. It's about improving loyalty. Then we also think about expansion. B2b businesses are low margin by nature. Businesses are trying to expand and find ways to capture more of that margin, to capture more revenue. Expansion is a really great way of doing that, whether that's with new brands, new channels. We're also seeing lots of consolidation in the market. Distribution is being consolidated, lots of acquisition occurring As you acquire companies. One of the areas to consolidate and build efficiencies is in e-commerce. It's got to be really easy to grow in organically and then scale. This release focused on a lot of those key pain points that manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, wholesalers are struggling with today, trying to tackle those key areas that conversion, expansion and then simplifying.

Luigi Moccia:

I'm so glad you underlined the point about simplicity because, like you say, the B2B buyer has changed. They are becoming younger, bit digitally native. They expect that B2C experience but at the same time there are certain elements within B2B that are not in the B2C space. You can't have them at two opposite ends of the spectrum. You need to make sure that that difference in experience is still fairly similar. The simplicity then feeds down and leads into efficiencies, like you said about the margins and so on. That is about the simplicity, because I think that's where, when you've got buyers that Haven't got time to waste and they just want to make sure they got a single source of truth, like you say, regardless of how you've placed that order whether it is online, offline, you know, edi, email to the sales rep, whatever it is they want that kind of single source of truth.

Luigi Moccia:

And I guess what you're slowly doing is moving that away from potentially kind of an ERP portal, which some customers that we've on board on, to become a network of God where they kind of have this small little section that the customers can log into. But oftentimes it's very primitive. You know, you may not be able to pay those invoices or the bulk of invoices through that you can go in and check a state of an order or download your invoice, but actually it's not very dynamic And so I think you know you're ticking a lot of the boxes. That might sound obvious but actually and not that commonplace in the beta B space, i think you know, especially if you look at kind of the bigger companies that maybe have either these kind of legacy systems or just huge systems that are so difficult to customize and to kind of make agile and, you know, just become as kind of swoops in and just say, look, you know, we made it simpler.

Lance Owide:

Yeah, this interesting stat, maybe for listeners. The number two platform that we displace in beta B is custom. It's a custom built, you know old decrepit system that was built on top of an ERP and that's what we're replacing. But I think it's really important to remember for beta B, the way we think about that e-commerce site is that it transcends transactions.

Lance Owide:

In beta C, i want to get a product in a cart and I want to get to the checkout. If, when that customer leaves my site, chances are they're not coming back. That's not as true in beta B, because these relationships are long term, and so the e-commerce site is about so much more than just a transaction Right, it's about managing all of that offline workflow and bringing it online so that it's better for the buyer and it's more efficient for the merchant. And that's what we've built and what we had in mind when we release the new beta B Addition, and we kind of had three main features of that release. The first is multi storefront. The second is head support for headless and I'm sure we could talk for hours about about the benefits of headless and on brand new kind of buyer portal and that's the completely new, redesigned interface for buyers that are logging into that merchant site and how they manage their invoices, their quotes, their approval workflows and their orders.

Luigi Moccia:

That's the part that we're seeing is really differentiated for our merchants because, you know, kind of go multi store isn't for everyone, going headless isn't for everyone, but actually giving their customers the ability to, like you say, self serve. because also I'm sure I mentioned it when we spoke a couple of months ago You know, taking that kind of example of a delivery company, when you have a parcel, to begin with FedEx or UPS, you don't bring them up and they manually input the address, they make you do it. You know we're seeing in a supermarket, certainly here in the UK, they're making you do the checkout like it's all these efficiencies but we're harnessing them. you know we're quite happy to do a lot of the legwork to kind of, you know, reach our objective And you know, the ability to be able to pay one to five invoices to see how much you owe to download an invoice.

Luigi Moccia:

You know I remember the times you have to email people and say, can you send me a copy that receipt or that invoice because I haven't got it? And now there's so many paulters you can go in, you can just download it. you can. you know you can get stuff done so much quicker And that's the kind of stuff that what you've done clearly is kind of saying what, what are the kind of, what are the offline features that the customers have, so, you know, be able to ring in and say can I pay two or three or four invoices, can I get a statement, can I get a copy invoice, can I, you know, prepare a quote, whatever it is? and you're kind of saying, you know, we'll take that into big commerce and we'll give the customer a single source of, of a single entry point to be able to do all that themselves whenever they want, wherever they are.

Lance Owide:

Yeah, exactly, and actually it's really interesting that you mentioned the invoice point there. I was on a call with a pharmaceuticals distributor this last week actually, in fact, and they had said B2B edition. You know one point or the previous version is great, but my customers can only pay 10 invoices at a time and they want to play 50. It's like, well, that's fantastic because that's exactly what we're building into the Bia portal and what you'll be able to do, you know, and so and so it's. It's kind of that step function change almost in the functionality that we're able to offer and the ease with which a buy can, can, can manage those processes. And so, as we thought about that new buyer journey and that new buyer portal, we did over 40 merchant interviews. Right, the team did 40 merchant interviews. There's hundreds of figma screens if you can go and see them to walk through every step of that journey. I was on some of the calls. It's really interesting when you're on with the researchers and they, you know, we're on with a merchant and they just pull up the researcher pulls up a figma screen, says What would you do, and the researcher gets all the you know, gets the feedback, both the buyers and the merchant and I'm just really understand that journey, and so we've built that by a portal to make it as easy and simple as possible to get products into a cart, onto a shopping list or into a quote And then for the sales team to be able to respond to that quote and for the buyer to respond and take that to the checkout Right. And you've seen a demo of that portal. You might even now have access to it and be using it, and I really think of it as the most modern B2B buyer experience that any e-commerce platform is offering. Of course, i'm going to be challenged on that 100%, but I genuinely believe that and I like to describe it.

Lance Owide:

You know, as a merchant, manufacturer, distributor, when your buyers are talking in, we're all used to using apps for just about everything, and it should look and feel to that buyer like you've created a dedicated app that is for them to manage all of their interactions with you as a merchant. And that's what that's what we've done with this new buy portal. It's mobile, responsive, mobile, reactive. It's lightning fast to use. So you know you can. You can do it on your iPad or on your phone. You can place those orders not just place the orders, but place the quotes, pay the invoices wherever you are, and that efficiency is so important to the buyer.

Lance Owide:

Today We could reel off Gartner Forrester agency research that will tell you time and time again if you aren't offering that kind of experience for your buyers, they're going to go somewhere else And research that says they'll pay more for that experience. And that's what I find you know most incredible is, if you're able to offer that experience, that purchasing efficiency, for your buyer, you might actually be able to charge more for the products. Because if you're saving me time, when I'm working for big commerce.

Lance Owide:

when I'm at work, time is money 100%, so save me time and you know we might just spend a little bit more on the product. So I think that's, you know, super, super important.

Luigi Moccia:

Resent trickles down to a kind of increase in the margins And, obviously, secondly, the efficiency there. So if you I mean we'll go into the features in a second But if, if you had a, i mean, what kind of pushback do you get from merchants? Let's kind of just let the cards out and say do you know what? what pushback do you get on merchants that maybe don't harness B2B e-commerce as much as they should? because also, let's not forget, they've got not maybe everyone, but, depending on on what type of business you are, you've got Amazon nipping at your heels as well, because we all love to hate, but we all love Amazon because it's so easy to use. You know quick reordering, just. You know quick payment, whatever it is, it's just and communication, it just works. And we again probably mentioned on the first podcast. But buyers need B2B companies need to be aware of the fact that Amazon is nipping at their heels.

Lance Owide:

Yeah, and there's a really interesting stat I think it's actually from Brian Beck for anyone who follows him. It was something like 80% of electrical manufacturers in the US are actually already on Amazon and they already have stores set up ready for B2B buyers to come on and purchase their products disintermediating the distributor. Right, how do you compete with that? It's difficult and it's tricky. And to your point, your question, which is what pushback do we get? The pushback is it differs based on who you're speaking to, and I think it'd be of no surprise to anyone that a lot of that pushback, initially at least, comes from a sales team who might say e-commerce is not what our customers are asking for. They want to speak to my sales team. We win that and fight that battle by saying this is going to make your sales team more efficient. What do your sales team want? They want more orders, they want higher conversion, they want higher average order values because that's how they get commission. So don't think of e-commerce as competitive. Think of it as a sales channel and a tool and a tactic that's going to make the team more effective and efficient. I can tell you, when you tell your sales team they're going to get paid on e-commerce orders, they're going to get commission. They'll try and increase that average order value. They'll be happy any way. You want to increase conversion and get people onto the site, and that's really, really, i think, important.

Lance Owide:

And for some of our large, one of my favorite manufacturing merchants, they just forced the sales team. They said you're not allowed to take a quote unless it comes through B2B Edition, and that's what they've done, because they want their customers coming through the channel, through the e-commerce channel. It's more efficient And they want their sales team using it, and so it kind of chickened in. There are other pushbacks too, of course, which are we don't have the data, the product catalogs aren't in the right formats and it's going to be a huge amount of uplift and work. The biggest are customers aren't asking for it, don't want it, and so we hear that a lot. But there are great PIMs out there to help with all of that product data and make sure that you're getting product data organized with all the tech specifications that you need, and so we generally are pretty good at pushing back against those arguments. And, if I'm honest, the biggest argument out there look at your competitors. They're doing it and they're winning, and you might be falling behind not just the Amazon, but the competitors too.

Luigi Moccia:

Absolutely. So let's talk about the latest release of B2B, which is, i guess, what everyone's most interested in. So let's start off with the back end maybe. So that's probably where most of the I mean what are the specific changes or the improvements that have been implemented into the portal, into the back end, for both the merchant and the customer?

Lance Owide:

Yeah, for sure. So the way we think about it and I mentioned this earlier which is, you know how do we allow merchants to expand, increase conversion and simplify? And so we kind of started with the expand piece actually And you mentioned it right, it's not necessarily for everyone, but multi-storefront And so we made B2B edition multi-storefront compatible. What does that mean? That means that if you're a merchant, you can have multiple storefronts, multiple URLs that can use that B2B edition functionality or, just as importantly, not use that B2B edition functionality. So I can have a B2C storefront, that's just, you know, direct to consumer. There are no quotes, there's going to be no invoices on it. It's a different URL. Because I want a slightly different experience. I can have that storefront powered from the same back end as my B2B storefront, which has those quotes and those invoices and all of that B2B edition functionality that I want.

Lance Owide:

And this is a huge benefit for merchants who are looking to expand. So potentially with, you know, new brands, you can have a storefront per brand. But also we hear this a lot for distributors and manufacturers who want to create the spoke experiences for their largest customers. They want a bespoke, specific storefront that is unique to that customer to that buyer. They can do that on big commerce. You can create a storefront that's just for that one buyer. It has just their catalog, it has their specific information And so that you know it ticks off that use case as well, so it gets a really tailored experience.

Lance Owide:

A really exactly, a really really tailored experience, built specifically for that buyer. And you know school uniforms could be you know a bit of an example here You spin up a storefront that's specific to that school or that district or whatever it might be, and that's, you know, a really interesting, a huge selling point.

Luigi Moccia:

Sorry to interrupt you there, but that's a huge selling point If you can tell your customer like we're going to spin up a portal just for the products that you sell with your own brand.

Lance Owide:

Yeah, it's huge. I was talking to a drinks manufacturer, right, and they have. They build specific or create specific drinks for some of their buyers They can be experimental new sports drinks And they want not just to not show the product right, which you can do with customer groups on big commerce, you can have one site and not show those products But they actually want to create a unique experience for that buyer as they're coming and purchasing that product. And that's what they're doing And create bespoke experiences by region. Barbecue's Galore out in APAC, they've done exactly this. They want to create a bespoke experience for the different regions And so they've used multi-storefront to do it. And, as you say, it's not for everyone, but it's a really key feature that you know the big commerce competitors don't do anywhere near as well as we do and make it so easy out of the box And it kind of ticks the simplify too. I integrate my ERP, my CRM, my CPQ once into big commerce and I get multiple storefronts. I don't have to do it multiple times.

Luigi Moccia:

And that data is segmented as well. So if they need to start splitting out kind of where and orders come from, based on channel and so on, they've got that. It's not necessarily funneled, it can still be kind of easy to identify So you can then break it down for various cost centers and sales codes and so on, and we've deployed on multi-storefront websites And it has. It's also helped because it's a single place where the merchants need to manage things like marketing and promotions. Like you haven't got to switch between different stores in order to be able to do that. You've got kind of that single.

Luigi Moccia:

So again, like we spoke about for the customer, a single portal. It's the same for a merchant. Multi-store is great from that perspective because it also gives the agility for someone to say, okay, let's try B2C and spin it up, and if it works, great And we'll maybe approve a concept. So let's spin it up quickly, let's do it cheaply, and then if we prove the concept, then we can actually really invest a lot more. But then I'll have into kind of spin up a whole new instance with new designs and new integrations and everything is there.

Lance Owide:

Yeah, there's a sports paraphernalia brand out here in the US who are doing exactly that. They were focused in baseball paraphernalia and they want to test other sports And it's easy for them to spin up a new store, new URL, and test it. Test it cheaply. If it's successful, fantastic. If it's not, well. They didn't have to reintegrate an ERP into a new e-commerce platform. They just had to design a nice looking site, so much easier to be able to test and learn, exactly as you say. I really like that use case.

Luigi Moccia:

So, staying on the topic of front end is something that I'm personally really excited about the headless support, which really, when I heard Troy speaking about this last year, kind of really piqued my interest, because there are brands who need a platform that can solidly support headless, because they have different channels and different systems that they need to feed data to. So I think this is still in beta as we're speaking. Yes, just a disclaimer there, but let's talk about kind of why headless is important for a b2b and, i guess, for big commerce itself.

Lance Owide:

Yeah, yeah for sure. And I think I think there's a with the, with the Mac Alliance, which obviously big commerce is a member of. I think there's there's much more uptake and interest in in headless in in Europe is sort of the leaders of the headless revolution, more more so than than in the US, but it's a definite trend. We see more and more merchants implementing in a headless fashion And you know what does that mean? It's a decoupling of our front end and our back end And you think of big commerce then as a set of microservices, right. And then you see in the catalog, check out B2B pricing that you could call from any front end. That front end could be any commerce sites, it could be an app, it could be me speaking to Alexa, right, and talking to her and calling a catalog. And then you see, in this case it's probably not especially in B2B, but that's that's kind of what headless means.

Lance Owide:

And then from a, you know what are the, what are the advantages? It's really about, i think, flexibility on top of complexity, right, and there's a lot of complexity in B2B. So I have a very complex catalog, i have lots of product information and I have different buyers and I want to give them a different experience based on who they are, and I want the look and feel of my site, my buyer journey, to change based on who they are, based on the you know, the products that they might be looking at. That is much easier to do in a headless framework, in a headless setup, and to control that entire experience that it is in a traditional implementation. And so bringing B2B addition, the B2B functionalities quoting, invoicing, buyer approval workflows to a headless framework is really useful, really important for B2B merchants that are coming to big commerce And I'm sure you've got some fantastic examples of merchants who you know were doing, you know awesome things and also had great implementations without B2B addition, but now they'll be able to use that functionality as well.

Luigi Moccia:

Where we get a lot of interest, certainly on the B2B sorry, on both platforms, but on the B2B side we'll see in that grow is the headless use cases more around kind of the PWA and maybe integrating into an app And I kind of whilst this podcast is for all merchants, one of the things that I really like about big commerce and I always say when we're in a pitch is the flexibility that big commerce brings with it in terms of its headless and kind of composable approach is that you can start off on monolithic big commerce So you can spin up a store tomorrow with big commerce front end, big commerce back end, on B2B.

Luigi Moccia:

And if you start off with zero or you know very little GMV, and then that GMV starts to grow and you start seeing that you need to add additional functionality, which you can achieve by going headless, you don't then have to go and do a whole new vendor selection exercise and find new agencies and retraining and reintegrating and everything. It's as if you're spinning up a new store and so far as you're saying, right, we're going to go headless. Back end is working fine, we've got the powerful APIs, we've got the functionality and the features, but we just need to kind of optimize or improve the front end, whatever reason it is, and you're literally just kind of you know unplugging and plugging back in again. I mean, i've massively oversimplified it, but it is that way of just saying, like we don't have to start off on an 18 month project where we've got to, you know, look for the platforms and evaluate them and do the selection, and then find the agencies and do the diligence and whatever.

Lance Owide:

I really like the app example, luigi, that you use there, and I think that's a really, really interesting one. I was talking to a merchant there. They sell a manufacturer parts for chimneys, of all things right and they have an e-commerce site. But they realize that when they're installing installers up on roofs and realize they need a new piece, going to a website just it's not that practical. So they built an app right, and that was they could do that because all of the APIs were there and available for them to do So. In that app they find the product that they need, they take it all the way through to check out right and order it there and then And so I think exactly what you're saying allows you that flexibility to evolve as your buyers requirements and requests evolve too, and that flexibility is coming to B2B. It's been in B2C for a while, but it's coming to B2B and merchants and buyers are starting to expect it.

Luigi Moccia:

But also look at the new technologies that are available. Now I was with one of our existing merchants in the south of England and they're now starting to harness augmented reality. They're B2B And it's quite difficult to do on a website And so the next logical step is to do the app and then so many other benefits with apps anyway, which we won't get into. But the important piece is that big commerce can support that integration. You're not going to say, well, if you want an app, you've got to look for another platform. It's saying just tell us where to plug in and we'll plug it in.

Lance Owide:

Exactly, plug and play.

Luigi Moccia:

And we're seeing a lot of omnichannel within B2B now as well. I had a conversation with a merchant in Italy, a B2B one, who was just not agreeing with me that the B2B experience is becoming more B2CS by the day. Like you know, it's just with apps and then to be able to do push notifications and having that loyalty. you know, because there's just so many things that we're used to doing And those lines of B2B and B2C have been fudged. But, like you say, there's still some complexities which have to remain within B2B, because if I'm a private customer buying something from Amazon, i don't need a VAT invoice And I won't have stuff on credit that I need to pay invoices for.

Luigi Moccia:

But for B2B, you get all that. Maybe you want to. you know you're buying a high quantity, so you want to get a better price and you need to request the quote from your supplier. So there's and it's such a, as I said, the flexibility that B, the big commerce, b2b brings is just making our job more difficult in some respects, because we're able to kind of just push the boundaries and just offer so much more functionality, which is, you know, making us think a lot more, but then to be able to implement. that is just becoming easier as well, because it's out of the box. We're not. you know we can go back five, six, seven years before the days of B2B edition was so mainstream and you know, using store credit as a way of kind of linking up to their you know, to their credit line and so on. Now it's just out of the box. It's just it's there And it makes our life so much easier.

Lance Owide:

And you know that's it's. It's it makes life easier for the agency which I'm glad to hear, luigi but also, obviously, for the merchants, for the customers, for the buyers, and that's really what we're focused on And it's. You know we hear the same thing B2C and B2B. They are very different, as you quite rightly say that there's different workflows on for a B2B buyer that they'll go through. I always like to pick up the purchasing approval workflows right. I very rarely, unless I'm asking my wife for approval to make a purchase, there's no approval workflows going on on my, on my Amazon account, there are always approval workflows going on when I'm making purchases on behalf of big commerce.

Lance Owide:

Now, doesn't matter how similar B2B and B2C experiences get, that workflow has to be accounted for. And so I, you know I side with the, with the merchant you were talking to, as they're pushing back, but they're just they're not understanding the nuance there, which is which is that that process of approval workflows is going to get and feel more and more, is going to get similar to and feel more and more like a B2C workflow. It has to be that easy. It can't be a junior buyer getting a CSV list of SKUs and sending it to the senior buyer to then, you know, upload into an EDI tool to make a purchase. That's just not okay anymore. That's not a process that is efficient for anyone And the merchant has to help solve that.

Lance Owide:

Merchants that do help solve that for the buyer are going to be at an advantage versus competitors that aren't thinking about it and aren't building those workflows. So I completely agree, we're seeing that convergence, but the complexity in B2B is still has to be accounted for And that's really important And that's what you know. That's what took the core of what we think about every day as we're building that roadmap for B2B Edition. And we take those complex processes and make them self-serve events that are simpler. It's not called them simple. It's called them simpler for the buyer and for the merchant because they integrated into the ERP or into the CRM or into the CPQ and were immediately synced via GraphQL APIs or via Webhooks.

Luigi Moccia:

So let's just talk about that as well, because I think the GraphQL and the APIs have had a bit of an upgrade as well.

Lance Owide:

So that buyer portal that I mentioned is powered by a GraphQL API, and so we haven't unleashed it yet, but we're about to, and so I'm really excited for when we do, because that's going to enable agencies like yourselves to get under the hood and start to customize all kinds of things that we haven't even imagined yet. And I love it when we do that because you know we get to see those really complex use cases that, out of the box, you know no one out of the box is going to solve, but when you partner with a great agency like yourselves, you can solve, and with powerful APIs, you're able to. And so I'm really excited for I'm sure you're going to be applying for the beta, or beta access as I now say as a living in the States, i call it a beta now A beta access and going to be showing us some of the awesome functionalities and use cases that you know you're able to solve by getting under the hood.

Luigi Moccia:

Yeah, i'm really excited about, kind of. I mean, the API is a lifesaver anyway, but the GraphQL I'm really excited about in general because I think it just helps merchants so much by allowing us to build those more complex experiences. Okay, so any other points that we want to talk about in terms of the improvements that we've not covered yet?

Lance Owide:

Yeah, i think the thing that I also kind of call out is as a B2B merchant, you want to make it as simple as possible for that buyer to get the products that they need into a cart, into a quote and into a shopping list, and that is really key. So the buy again features and reordering features that we've put into the new buyer portal are really fantastic. It always amazes me the number of buyers out there that no SKUs off by heart. You know rat loft SKU numbers. Just, you know tens and tens of them. So, just simple, the ability to put in the SKU in a quantity and hit enter and add it into any of those.

Lance Owide:

You know cart quotes or shopping list built in, basically built into every single screen. The ability to upload CSVs built into every single screen. Simple searching, right search for the product and then bringing in that configuration into the Bible. So I'm adding an item to a quote and I need to configure it right. Up to 600 variants, their 250 options built. That's native within big commerce And so configuration is really important in B2B And we've built that into the workflows within the buyer portal. You know, i think that's really important And that is, you know, when I've been demoing to agencies and to merchants. That's been a highlight for a number of them.

Luigi Moccia:

So I guess, if you're a B2B merchant who is on a platform and not harnessing B2B features, i guess just ask yourself you know what are you? what's the opportunity cost? Are your customers able to upload a CSV? Are they able to easily reorder And what's the search like, the configurability, all these different things that you know you might take for granted because it's always been like that, but actually there's so many ways that out of the box big commerce that allow you to offer such a such an enhanced experience to your customers. like it, you know, very little additional cost, i think you know.

Lance Owide:

Yeah, i think that's a really good point. I often get asked you know how do we start? This is the digital transformation. It's a huge project. We don't quite know where to start And I always say start with the customer.

Lance Owide:

Go and interview your customer and understand what it is that they're doing. What are their processes when they're placing an order. If you find out that behind the scenes they've created this CSV and weird and wonderful ways to create shopping lists and to approve the workflows behind the scenes through emails or through spreadsheets, we've got a list of SKUs and I've genuinely been on calls where merchants have said they've got a list of SKUs in a spreadsheet and the junior buyer comes in and updates it, and then the senior buyer and they put a date and done into a spreadsheet. Then the senior buyer comes in and sees that, okay, they've updated it as of that date. Great, i'm going to now approve it and then go online and add all of those items to a cart. When you understand those processes, that window into their workflow helps a merchant be able to define what it is that they should be thinking about when they're building their e-commerce site.

Lance Owide:

You might go to all the customers and they say we don't want to shop online, we're not interested in e-commerce. That would be incredibly useful to know before you go online. Now, i'm not going to probably recommend you don't do it, because I'm sure your competitors are and your customers or buyers. I would question whether that's true. And then how are you going to get catered to new customers who do want it? But understanding that the customer desire and their workflows and their processes? Now, i said when we built that buy a portal, 40 merchant interviews, sales teams are talking to buyers every single day. How often they sit next and then understand that process and then feed that back into the corporate So that, as we are making those decisions about digital transformation, about e-commerce, that you're delivering for that buyer. I think that's really important and we often forget. Why are we doing it? Well, we're doing it really because we want to increase revenue, increase conversion, increase loyalty. It's all about the customer. You can understand what it is that they're trying to do and their processes.

Luigi Moccia:

When I do workshops sometimes, and even with some brands that do tens of millions online, they I won't say they got there by fluke, but they've never really challenged the status quo. And when we run target persona exercises. So when you said, if you interview your customers and you find that they don't want e-commerce, build two different or several buyer personas because there are people that will want to buy online, you just haven't maybe identified them and therefore haven't really tapped into that market yet. So I would agree with you It all starts with the customer of understand, because you can have the flashest website, the greatest product, the greatest experience, but if it doesn't resonate with your customer, because it doesn't meet their needs and their demands, then it's going to fail. But I 100% second that just starting with the customer and putting them at the beginning of the experience That's the other thing that we try to do during discoveries as well is challenge. It's challenge again the status quo and understand what could we do better for the customer and what is it that your customers? because the amount of merchants that assume they know what their customer wants, and that's where that research is vital. Like it's super, super important to do that.

Luigi Moccia:

Ironically today or coincidentally not ironically, coincidentally today we're still talking to a merchant, prospective merchant who basically wants to launch a new product but wants to make sure that the research has been carried out enough to make sure that product doesn't fail, and that isn't the norm. I don't often hear of merchants come to us and saying like you know, we feel we're not, you know we're slacking a bit on understanding our customers. A lot of them they're just, they're looking forwards, but just looking purely at the website, not actually looking backwards and saying, you know, or on the other side of that fence, and how can we make things easier for our customers? And you know we've done that when we've done designs. You know use of research and user testing is vital Because otherwise, you know, i think it borderline arrogance to say you know what your customer wants more than your customer does 100%, i think, and as part of that, it helps to define how.

Lance Owide:

It helps to define what should be included or excluded from that transformation product. And I think we discussed this, maybe previously. But you know, you discover that the merchant comes to you and says I need live pricing. Okay, well, what's? you know what's live pricing? I need it updated. It has to. You know, the minute we update a price, it's got to be updated on the fly. Okay, why? How often is this happening? And do you understand how expensive it is going to be to build that right? That's not simple. We can sure do it, but are you sure? And as you start to unpack that right as an agency, as you start to unpack that and you realize, okay, you're not up, you update prices once a day. Why have you mandated this? Or the buyer is not expecting it, they don't they don't anticipate it And that's going to.

Lance Owide:

You know that's going to put a whole lot of complexity into your build And then put a strain on you know that's a lot of API calls that we're going to have to continue updating pricing and you know you don't need it. And so you, as you understand that journey, it also changes the build and it changes the structure of it, and we hear that a lot. You know, i was speaking to a merchant the other day who is a prospect actually They're not on big commerce yet And they said personalization. We're all about personalization. We want to be able to send an email to the, to our buyers, based on everything that they previously bought and based on the frequency with which they're buying it, and remind them that hey, you, you, you bought this laundry detergent two months ago in this order and quantity. We reckon it's about time you have a refill. Now here's a one click order link. Okay, that sounds I mean, that does sound fantastic. That sounds great. What are you doing today? Oh, we don't even have a website today.

Luigi Moccia:

Yeah, Well, come on Crewwalk run, prioritize Yeah let's prioritize.

Lance Owide:

I Love that for you. I 100% think you should get there. But let's be real. You know Amazon can just about do it right. They just about get there. Let's figure out how, how, how we, we break that up into manageable steps and you know it's Get on, get to get your products online first, start transacting. Let's not even think about B2B addition. You know, and we have that come those conversations a lot with manufacturers Who just need to get products and pricing up there first, and so you know I think that's really important too is, and you knew, the agencies. You guys have a tough job there often, i think, tempering the, the wills and expectations of Merchants who want the world. But but you know, with you've got a, got a base that in reality, what's possible and in budgeting and what's going to deliver value, what you really wanted to prioritize, the things gonna, they're gonna deliver the value first, and so I think that's that. The kind of customer interviews always help to inform that decision, those decisions too.

Luigi Moccia:

Absolutely. I think we could do another episode about kind of merchants and, i guess, navigating politically, discussions with with merchants, because you get some that say, well, we've always done it this way, we've got all these new features, and you know, with the only ones that have it and the other side of the corner It's kind of like, yes, you are the only one that has that feature And you're not the biggest, but Exactly, and it's gonna cost you more. I mean, we, you know it's, anyway it's. You know we've got a Client at the moment that is is saying just that. You know, we, we can change prices, you know, a few times a day and for a few products and whatever, and it's like We've got the API power to be able to do that. You know we don't need to have a like a live connection that every time you you change you know a number All your three and a half thousand customers need to. You know, see that straight away, anyway, it's exactly, exactly.

Lance Owide:

And we have, you know, raw materials Suppliers on big commerce who do have live pricing and need it, and they will always need it, and so the API's are there and do it right, be successful, but it's not, it's not for everyone and not everyone needs it. You know, you don't need that level of complexity.

Luigi Moccia:

And I guess, going to that point, around the headless and the multi storefront It's, it's there if people need it, and if they don't, then Then anything else we want to talk about.

Lance Owide:

I think we go for hours. We need to.

Luigi Moccia:

I mean, i love to talk, but especially about B2B. I think we, just we could, we could do mini series about this lance.

Lance Owide:

Maybe we should, maybe we need to get a monster teams talking Yeah, there we go. Start with with the craziest requests that merchants have ever come up with, because I am not.

Luigi Moccia:

I'm not sure Cool. Well, before we finish, then obviously, if people want to learn more about become some B2B edition big commonscom, they can request a demo. B2b edition revamped is now available to merchants throughout Europe, north America, globally, presuming.

Lance Owide:

Yeah, available to Everyone, correct? So come come to the big commas website. You find me on the LinkedIn if you wanted to, and we'll be happy to set up a demo. Show you the functionality and Show you everything that all the new features and functionality and how you can, you can use those To increase customer conversion, increase customer loyalty, simplify and expand.

Luigi Moccia:

I'm sure we have the links to your LinkedIn and the big commas website in the show notes as well. Final question Have you read any books recently? I Have.

Lance Owide:

Last time you asked me this question and I hadn't read any books and it I felt embarrassed. So I think, may, i'm it can't give you all the credit. I did also take a vacation between now and then, and so I had time to read books, but, yes, i read a couple To that I think. Particularly interesting, though no rules. Rules, which is it's about Netflix and Their culture, which is incredibly interesting. Effectively, we're gonna have no company rules, except you will do what's best for the company, what's in the best interest of Netflix. So no travel policies.

Lance Owide:

If you think it's the right thing to travel first-class because it's you know you're gonna arrive refreshed, then do it, and I thought it was. It's an incredibly interesting way to run a company employ in Incredibly bright, incredibly motivated people and give them the freedom to do what they think is best to make the company successful. So really interesting read. You know, kind of counter to a lot of way companies are run today. So very interesting. And then Play nice but win by Michael Dell. It's a. It's a. It's a nice read. I spend a lot of time talking about taking the company Private and how difficult that was, but how he was then just able to unleash so much growth and it's just an incredible story, you know about building a company, taking it public and then taking it private again, to kind of just unleash Just absolutely incredible growth From the company when you then took it private again. So, again, a really interesting read.

Luigi Moccia:

Cool. Well, we'll put notes to to those books as well, or links rather, in the show notes. And I think Verena who kind of running things in the back, and we're very excited to have heard that, so I'll, because she's working on the Book Club, so I'll make.

Luigi Moccia:

Verena, sir, it's a take note, but, um, cool, well, excellent. Well, carry on the reading. I think that's one of the things that I think I probably Say that you know has helped me over the years is just reading and continue improving, and it's, you know, whether it's fiction or nonfiction, it's, it works for both. But but yeah, lance, thank you very much for your time today. It's been great to hear about B2B edition. I'm very excited as a, as an agency, to start kind of rolling out to our customers and Look forward to speaking to again soon.

Lance Owide:

Thank you for having me, luigio, it's been an absolute pleasure.

Luigi Moccia:

Not at all. Thanks very much, lance. Thank you for listening to the big commerce podcast. If you've enjoyed today's episode, please leave us a review on your favorite podcast platform And if you want to follow us on social media, you can find us on Instagram at the big commas podcast, and also on LinkedIn. Alternatively, you can catch up on all older episodes on our website at the big commas podcast FM. If You've got ideas for any episodes, please reach out to us info at the big commas podcast FM. Until next time, thank you for listening and take care You.

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