By Author admin

Upgraded Office Choice Product Information Management System

As one of Australia’s largest B2B office suppliers, Office Choice stores cater for a broad range of customers including SMEs, government sectors, educational institutions and personal customers. Office Choice stocks an extensive range of stationery, technology, and furniture and office solutions such as canteen, janitorial and printing services.

Business Needs

Office Choice is a buying group that maintains supply relationships with all the key stationery manufacturers and distributors (suppliers) in Australia. Members of Office Choice (aka Dealers) can order products from these suppliers at the centrally negotiated price as part of their membership package. Additional services offered to Office Choice dealers are the production of a paper-based 500 page Full Line Catalogue and marketing support with 4 major national advertising campaigns scheduled each year.

Office Choice uses an MS SQL/.Net application (“Intranet”) to manage the product, supplier, catalog and promotion activities within the group. The Intranet is a bespoke application developed in-house over the past 10 years and provides a host of other non-PIM functions that needed to be replaced over time.

But, there was no functionality to update data in bulk and no error report for each field of a product. It was difficult to maintain the current system without these major functions since it required manual checkup.

Pimcore Solution

Office Choice wanted to implement a new Product Information Management (PIM) system to replace the existing system currently in place. The new PIM system had to be based on Pimcore with customization and configuration designed to replicate and enhance the client’s existing PIM functionality. Pimcore now provides a reliable product information management (PIM) system with error reports and bulk data update functionalities.

Business Results

Office Choice has expressed their positive feedback since Pimcore reduces their overhead time and ability to manage their products through the system. They are able to get a detailed error log for each product with a bulk update feature that did not exist in their previous system. The switch to Pimcore has proven to be an excellent choice for users to easily manage and maintain the product information.

For more information on how acidgreen can implement a PIM for your organisation please contact us.

By Author admin

Gartner’s 2019 view: Shopify vs Bigcommerce

Gartner’s view of the digital commerce market is focused on transformational technologies and approaches delivering on the future needs of sellers and their customers.

Gartner has recognised Shopify as a Challenger in the 2019 Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce. Shopify Plus is a multi-tenant SaaS commerce platform, which targets midsize enterprises or business units within large enterprises. Shopify also offers Shopify Payments, Shopify Shipping, Shopify POS and Shopify Capital to complement the commerce solution. Shopify recently acquired Handshake to expand its B2B capabilities.

Gartner recognised several strengths of Shopify:
  • Ease of use: Shopify Plus offers no-code configuration of the store that can be managed by business users without involving the IT team. The average launch time is between three and four months. This is a key consideration for organisations whose commerce business is managed by business users.
  • TCO: Shopify Plus has a highly competitive price that can be an order of magnitude lower than what other vendors in this Magic Quadrant charge. Its price is often negotiated, typically starting with a $2,000 monthly fee plus payment costs. Clients not using Shopify for payments typically find additional costs associated with each sale.
  • Multichannel support: Shopify Plus offers native integration with over 20 channels, including marketplaces and social media such as Amazon, eBay, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. All these channels can be managed alongside the stand-alone commerce site from the single console. The vendor also offers a mobile SDK for native app development, and Shopify POS for in-store sales.

A couple of small concerns were listed for Shopify being that clients need to find a service provider [like acidgreen] to assist with integration, and they found the majority of service providers are in North America and Europe. Though with acidgreen being one of the largest shopify agencies in APAC this is not a concern for Australian retailers.

A major competitor of Shopify is BigCommerce. They are a Niche Player offering a multi-tenant SaaS platform for small-, mid- and large-size businesses. BigCommerce serves B2C and B2B, and continually upgrades its B2B functionality to better serve B2B clients. Most clients are generating digital commerce GMV below $20 million from the platform.
Gartner recognised the strengths of Bigcommerce being that it offers unlimited API calls for mid- and large-size enterprise clients, and the technology flexibility with 90% of the platform exposed via API enabling it to compete with headless vendors.

Gartner have concerns though with Bigcommerce B2B saying it “still lacks natively some of the more complex customer management functionality. It doesn’t natively support the ability for clients’ customers to set up or manage their departments and cost centers, or create workflow for approvals, budgeting or support/sub-user accounts. It also does not support clients’ abilities to manage their customers’ spending and available credit.”
Gartner have also said Bigcommerce B2C “may not support clients with more sophisticated use cases requiring more advanced functionality. Examples include subscriptions, tight POS integration and DOM without additional services or customization.”
acidgreen is a multi-award winning full service digital commerce agency. For more information regarding Shopify vs Bigcommerce please contact us.
By Author admin

Magento 2 for Business to Business (B2B) Commerce – Features Overview

Magento Commerce includes everything you need to manage B2B Commerce sites for multiple brands, channel partners, or key accounts.

B2B buyers toady demand an easy, intuitive online buying and account management experience that’s so good it feels like B2C.

Magento 2 is packed with B2B features that drive growth:
1. Company accounts & self-service account management
2. Custom catalogs and price lists
3. Fast, friction-free purchasing
4. Streamlined request-for-quote workflow
5. APIs

We will cover each of these in detail below.

1. Company accounts & self-service account management 


Create company accounts for business customers

Magento Commerce includes company account functionality that empowers B2B companies to:​

  • Accept new account requests online
  • Designate a “Super User” to manage the account
  • Associate a sales rep to each account
  • Assign custom catalogs and price lists

You can see an example of the company account summary view in the Magento Merchant Admin below:

B2B companies will also have the power to:

  • Manage the company profile and status for their customers

  • Choose which payment options to offer customers, including offering them the ability to purchase on credit​
  • Control a company’s ability to place quotes or orders online​
  • Set up automated email notifications to customers regarding their account and transactions

Self-service account tools empower B2B customers

Magento Commerce empowers companies buying from B2B sites to manage their accounts and take control of their purchasing experience with easy to-use self service tools. Companies can easily go to their company account to:​

  • Add and remove buyers on their own
  • Drag-and-drop buyers into a hierarchy that matches their organisational structure.
  • Each buyer can track his or her own orders and quotes along with those created by his or her subordinates
  • Assign roles and permissions for each buyer
  • View credit balances, company info and their assigned sales rep

A B2B buyer’s “Super Admin” or someone with the appropriate permissions can also define roles and permissions to control how individual company buyers interact with the site. For example, they can choose whether or not an individual buyer can:​

  • View quotes or orders​
  • Place quotes or orders​
  • Use the Pay on Account method​
  • View or edit company profile information​
  • And view or manage roles and permissions​

Permission options can also be customised by Solution Partners​.

Extend Credit to companies – high-level settings

B2B companies commonly extend credit to attract customers, encourage increased spending, and build loyalty. Magento now includes support for payments on account so B2B companies can extend credit to their buyers online, in addition to supporting traditional B2C payment methods like credit cards and PayPal. ​

The Magento Admin includes high-level settings that allows B2B companies to:​

  • Enable or disable the Payment on Account method per website
  • ​Choose how the payment method is named on the frontend for buyers​
  • Control which countries are eligible to use Payment on Account​
  • AND set minimum and maximum order amounts for credit purchases

Extend credit to companies – account-level controls

At the company account level, there are additional credit settings where B2B companies can:​

  • Set the credit limit and currency for each company​
  • View credit transactions for the company and see the their credit limit, balance, and available credit​
  • Choose whether or not a company can exceed their credit limit with a purchase or if orders with insufficient credit should be held. This setting is highlighted in the screenshot.​

Manually reimburse the credit balance when payments are received.

Support credit and PO purchasing during checkout

When checking out, buyers eligible for Payment on Account can always see their available credit before placing an order.  ​​They also can enter a Purchase Order Number that will allow them to more easily track their purchase in their order history.​

Magento Commerce also offers B2B buyers self-service tools to manage their company credit line. They can quickly and easily view:​

  • Their credit limit, available credit, and outstanding balance​
  • They can see a list of transactions against their credit line – note that they can see the purchase order number associated with each purchase​
  • And, they can view whether a transaction or adjustment was made by a buyer in their company or the merchant​.
  • 2. Custom Catalogs and Price Lists

Magento enables B2B companies to create customised catalogs and price lists and assign them to individual companies or groups of companies. This allows B2B companies to honour the negotiated contracts they have with their customers when they shop online.​

The first step is to set up the catalog. As you can see in this screenshot, B2B companies can select which categories and products they want to include using the category tree and detailed product records. They can use filters and search to find specific products to include, and they can even duplicate existing catalogs as a fast way to get started.​

The products and categories included in the catalog control the buyer’s shopping experience on the site, including what products show up in search results, what appears in site navigation, and what they are eligible to purchase.

After B2B companies have selected the categories and products for a catalog, the next step is to define custom pricing. They can:​

  • Set prices for a single product or multiple products at once for greater efficiency​
  • Use fixed pricing where they specify a final product price or dynamic pricing to offer a percentage discount off a product’s base price​
  • Use tiered pricing to offer quantity discounts on products

Once a custom catalog has been created, a B2B company can assign that catalog to an individual company or multiple companies (for example, if they have a tiered pricing strategy). They can also create a default “public” catalog that can be displayed to site visitors who do not have an assigned catalog. This is a great way to ensure products are found by search engines and that you can display critical product information to prospective customers visiting your site for the first time.

Magento also ensures that changes to custom catalogs are efficiently processed, so that B2B company employees can stay productive when making updates.​

Changes to custom catalogs are processed in the background. This means that a B2B company employee can submit a bunch of catalog changes and then continue to work on other tasks in the Admin while the catalog is being updated, with no productivity slow-down. And, when the process is finished, they receive an alert in in the Admin Panel Notification Center.

3. Fast, Friction-free Purchasing


Magento’s quick order feature enables buyers to quickly add products to their carts by:​

  • Searching for a product name or SKU number​
  • Entering individual or multiple SKU numbers​

Or uploading CSV files with many SKUs​

Magento validates that the SKUs are in the assigned catalog and available in inventory, and displays product information (including a thumbnail picture and price) so the buyer can confirm the correct SKUs have been entered. ​

Then, all the buyer has to do is enter their desired quantity and hit “add to cart” to checkout or request a quote

Buyers can also create requisition lists. Requisition lists are like saved shopping lists containing frequently purchased products and quantities for fast and easy restocking.


Multiple lists can be created by each buyer to support different purchasing needs or projects.​ You can add these by:

  • Entering product SKUs
  • Copying previous orders
  • Selecting “Add to Requisition List” from product and category pages

Magento Commerce also makes reordering faster than ever before. In previous versions, buyers could only copy over cart items when reordering. With Magento Commerce 2.2 and later releases, they can re-order prior orders, carrying over:​

  • The line items and quantities​
  • Shipping and billing addresses​
  • Shipping methods ​


Payment methods​

The buyer can edit any of these options if needed, but saves considerable time by not having to re-enter or select this information.​ Magento also offers an assisted selling capability that allows B2B company sales or customer service reps to efficiently deliver high-touch service by:​

  • Creating orders on behalf of buyers
  •  Editing or troubleshooting existing orders
  • And making intelligent product recommendations based on insights they can access from the admin assisted selling screen

4. Streamlined Request for Quote Workflow​


Another significant new B2B capability in Magento Commerce 2.2 and later versions is support for quoting, which allows business buyers to ask for custom pricing for an order. ​

​We’ve built a robust workflow for handling quote requests so that they can be entirely managed through Magento or via APIs, from the initial request, through negotiations, to the final order. ​

Magento’s quoting functionality is powerful because it can be configured to meet individual B2B company needs. They can set rules for which buyers or orders (like all orders over $5000 in value) are eligible for quoting, and they can configure email templates used for quote communications to fit their unique process.​

There are also built-in safeguards to prevent conflicting updates to quotes as they are processed.​

Requesting a quote is easy for buyers. They can start a quote from the shopping cart by selecting the “Request a Quote” button or can start from previous quotes or orders. ​

When starting a quote, the buyer can include comments and attach documents to support their request.​

​Once submitted, the buyer can see the status of their quote and can correspond with the merchant as needed in the “My Quotes” management interface in their company account. ​

B2B companies can easily view and manage all of their quotes in the Magento Admin. For each quote they can:​

  • See the quote details and documents in an easy-to-scan format​
  • Set quote expiration dates (highlighted on screenshot) to drive action​
  • Add comments and attachments to address buyer questions​
  • Save drafts of proposals until they are ready to send – so they can, for example, work up a quote and then get internal approvals before sending it out.​Within the quote, B2B companies have a range of tools to help them negotiate with buyers to boost their bottom line. For example, they can see total cost data and can quickly calculate a percentage or dollar off discount, or a target final price that supports their margin goals. ​​They can also negotiate both product and shipping prices to meet customer demands and they can include comments with their quote to explain their proposals.​​The tools also lets them suggest additional SKUs to increase AOV or substitutions to handle out-of-stock situations.​​All updates to the quote, including communications with the buyer, are logged in the quote history tab for full insight into each proposal.​​Buyers can also manage all of their quotes and view quote details from their Company account. ​

    On the quote detail page, they can immediately see the quote status, items included in the quote, any comments, and the history log. ​

    Once a B2B company has sent a proposal to their quote request, the buyer can easily accept it and proceed to checkout.​

All this happens without the buyer ever having to call a sales rep, saving both parties considerable time.​

5. APIs


Nearly all B2B sites integrate with other IT systems, such as an ERP or PIM. The new B2B features in Magento Commerce 2.2 and later releases are fully supported by APIs to make this integration quick and cost effective.  The APIs are services which are also exposed as web APIs.  This makes it easy to customise behaviour via plugins.​

​REST APIs are available for each of the new features, including:​

  • Company accounts, users, and company structure​
  • Company credit limit and credit transactions​
  • Shared Catalog creation and company assignment​
  • The Quoting process and approval​
  • Requisition lists​

They’ve  also developed a new bulk Tier Price API that can be used to update large numbers of product prices quickly.​

And all of the new APIs use the same authentication methods and documentation as the existing core Magento 2 APIs you are familiar with, with documentation provided by Swagger.​


acidgreen is a multi-award winning digital commerce agency specialising in Magento B2C and B2B solutions.  With over 19 years of industry experience, we know B2B commerce and understand what features your users will benefit from. Our qualified team of magento solution specialists and certified magento developers are here to create Magento B2B stores that provide the best user experience and provide outstanding ROI.

Give us a call today to learn more about our services.