Talk-Commerce Michiel Schipperus

Real-time B2B Commerce with Michiel Schipperus

B2B commerce is complex, and getting real-time data from your ERP is important. We interview Michiel Schipperus (@Schipperus) with Sana Commerce. We learn how Sana ties directly to your SAP or Microsoft Dynamics ERP. He explains how he is helping companies worldwide achieve e-commerce success. Michiel has been working with B2B eCommerce for the last 20 years and leads a company of over 500 fantastic people worldwide, all with unique talents. You can hear Michiel’s passion for his business and employees.

Big News: This episode was recorded before the Gartner Magic Quadrant report came out. Sana Commerce was named as a Niche Player in the latest report. See here https://www.sana-commerce.com/news/sana-commerce-named-a-niche-player-in-the-2022-gartner-magic-quadrant-for-digital-commerce/


Brent: welcome to this episode of talk commerce. Today. I have Michael Schipperus. He is the CEO of Sana commerce. Miguel, go ahead and introduce yourself. Tell us what you do in your day-to-day life and maybe one of your passions. 

Michael: Yeah, sure. Thanks, Brent, for having me. So my name is Miguel.

Brent: Welcome to this episode of talk commerce today, I have Michael Schipperus. He is the CEO of Sana commerce. Mic Miguel, go ahead and introduce yourself.

Brent: Tell us one of your passions in life and what you do on a day-to-day basis. 

Michael: Yeah, Brent thanks for having me. Yeah, one of my passion. I just recently started to pick up adult tennis. You know what I mean is, you know what it is. Yeah. It’s becoming pretty popular. It’s coming from Spain, but it’s something that I really enjoyed doing recently. Although not yet really good at it, but starting to grow as a passion.

Brent: That’s great. And so your day-to-day role, you’re the CEO of Sana commerce. Tell us a little bit about it. 

Michael: Yeah. So we are in the B2B eCommerce space now for 14, almost 15 years. So I would say we’re pretty early on discovering the need for B2B companies to have something different when it comes to eCommerce.

Michael: We started around 2007 and today we’re over 500 people teams around the world and our. Business passion is to help B2B companies go online. And before that I was running an e-commerce agency and we were helping a lot of retailers sell online, but around 2007, we got more in touch with wholesale distribution, manufacturing companies.

Michael: And at that point we were helping them. We try to help them with the same eCommerce solutions that we helped that we use for retailers. But first 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 projects filled. And we didn’t know why, because we were always successful with with commerce. But then we figured out that B2B.

Michael: Companies actually need something else. That’s what we have been doing for over 14 years now. It has been very exciting to see all these B2B companies really grow and really catch up to all these retailers that are already for many years, doing such a fantastic job on the web. 

Brent: I’ve also been in the eCommerce space since 2009, something like that with Magento, mainly, but now with other platforms.

Brent: And definitely B2B clients have taken a long time to adopt the eCommerce model in their business. Maybe tell us some of the differences that you’ve found between the retail direct to consumer and B2. 

Michael: Yeah. Yeah. And I think the reason why that is, I always felt like these B2C companies really got a lot of pressure from their customers.

Michael: They said, if you don’t have a web store or a good, nice looking web store, then I’ll go somewhere else. And I think in B2B that’s a little bit different, right? A lot of these business customers they really depend on their supplier, so it’s not easy for them to switch. And therefore, I think they have been more.

Michael: Patient, I think that is with B2B companies that are not as fast to adopt eCommerce solutions and yeah, talking about the differences. I, there are a lot, it’s very different. And I think a lot of people are overlooking that or under how do you say that? How you say that they’re 

Brent: looking they’re looking for teachers that aren’t on the platform.

Brent: No, 

Michael: I’m just saying that a lot of People don’t understand how complex B2B is. They look at BBC, they look at B2B and say, Hey, it’s pretty similar because it’s in the end of the day, it’s a transaction. And I think that’s oversimplified because for B2B companies, the transaction is a lot more complex than for B2C companies.

Michael: And and I’ll give you an example. If you or me, we go to Amazon, we buy a book it’s very straightforward. We get, probably get the same price. It’s a product that’s probably available in stock. We pay directly with credit card. It’s, it’s done with BWE that’s different, right?

Michael: Probably as a BWE buyer. I have. Prenegotiated prices. I buy big volumes of products. I get tier discounts. I get volume discounts at the end of the year. Maybe I get, refunds or something based on how many products I order, how much I spent. You can have very complex VAT calculations.

Michael: My order might even trigger a production order where it’s made to order I can have my own customized products that I’m buying. So what I’m trying to say is that the B2B transactions are way more complex than B2C. And I think a lot of people didn’t really understand it.

Michael: Even some B2B companies didn’t understand themselves actually how complex B2B buying and B2B selling was especially if you want to do it. Does that make 

Brent: sense? Yeah. I think the platforms too were slow to adopt. I don’t think Shopify has a viable B2B solution still. And some of the other platforms have taken only in a number of years have they started adopting some of those B2B practices?

Brent: So I think you’re right. There is a gap between what is needed in that market and what is provided in the market. Yeah. Where does your platform fit in from a a size level? Is it geared towards enterprise clients or is it geared for the entire spectrum? Yeah, it’s geared 

Michael: for the entire spectrum.

Michael: So we serve really small companies, but also, multi billion dollar companies. Yeah, we we serve both around the world actually quite well. And that’s, I think because of our focus, we have always been focused on the B2B. Business case. And I think that makes all the difference that typically, if you look at all the bigger eCommerce platforms they grew up, serving retailers, B2C business cases.

Michael: And later on, they said, oh, we see the opportunity with B2B. They added B2B features, if you start building your product with a certain use case in mind, it’s not as easy to pivot, I think, especially cause, given the the, my point earlier that B2B and BDC are so different because the transactions are different, but also the relationships are very different.

Michael: I think the relationship that you may have with Amazon is very different. What a B2B buyer will have with their supplier that he might buy from. On a weekly biweekly basis. And they might even know the names of the people that work there in vice versa. And they have built up a relationship over many years, and throughout these years they have made all sorts of agreements.

Michael: And like I said on, tailor made pro products at such. So there’s in B2B so much more complexity and such a different relationship. That it’s I think also looking at eCommerce, it’s hard for a B2C platform to pivot and be very good at B2B as well. 

Brent: Tell us a little bit more about Sana commerce.

Brent: Is it’s a SaaS platform clients are connecting via APIs. Yeah, 

Michael: absolutely. The key difference With Sana commerce compared to almost all other e-commerce platforms in the world is that we, with our APIs, we go directly to the ERP system to the database of the ERP system. So instead of going through an interface where you will.

Michael: Basically synchronize some information from the ERP system to the eCommerce solution, vice versa. We go directly into the ERP system. That’s what we call ERP integration. Although I think a lot of companies that do these interfaces will call it European integration, but And in this way, we have two major benefits.

Michael: One is that we can get all the information from the E R P system and not just the information that goes through the interface. And second is we always know that the information is accurate, becomes because it’s coming straight to from the source. 

Brent: It’s an approach as a if you’re writing your own software and you have the ability to do that from the code level that, that gives you the advantage as a merchant to have that more, I guess we’ll call it a more close integration.

Brent: And you also don’t depend on a third party being up in case somebody went down. I can remember a time where we had a very high volume client and they had an interface that we were gonna go to and they, and I said, our, we’re. Tens and tens of thousands of orders. And they said, no, we’re our system

Brent: won’t go down. And sure enough, their system went down because of the interfa the middleware. And just from a technical standpoint to, to let the listeners know that this not a you’re, what you’re saying is it’s a direct integration. Let’s say one road leads directly to the other where the typical, the new typical setup for a SaaS integration is a hub and spoke where you’re going to a central place.

Brent: And then it’s connecting again to the final destination. So you have a sort of a pass through and you’re now also dependent on that pass through. Yeah. So maybe tell us a little bit more about that and how that helps maybe in speed and reliability. 

Michael: yeah. Yeah. Good point. And to give you an example, if you’re in, you’re using a Sana commerce web store and you’re putting products in your basket. Then in real time, the E R P system is calculating the basket, not the eCommerce solution. So all the business rules, the discount rules, whether or not the product is available. The V a T rules are all being directly calculated in the ERP system.

Michael: And the eCommerce platform is just showing the output of that. so that’s very different. So it’s not. It’s where normally an eCommerce system would do all the calculation process, the order, and then send it to the ERP system where it’s being processed. Once again with us, if you with the Sana web store, if you put, process order directly, it’s being processed in the ERP system.

Michael: So you kinda have no issues afterwards where you’re saying, Hey, this you put in the order, but we. Accepted for some reason or they’re, rounding errors, those kind of things that you typically have when you connect in ERP system to eCommerce solution. And for B2C, that’s not that relevant for B2B that’s super relevant because you’ve got all these, complexity around this order.

Michael: And that’s the nice thing about E R P systems is that they’re very good at handling this complexity when it comes to, pricing or availability of product. So yes, it’s also has to do with what you mentioned, reliability. You want your. Online customer or as a B2B company, you want your online customer to know that they can rely on the information that they see on the web store.

Michael: And with Sana Commerce, there’s no chance that the, that information is not accurate because it’s coming straight from the source. 

Brent: I know there has been traditional struggles from the B2B side when adopting eCommerce besides the age of a lot of B2B owners. yeah. What are some, the other struggles for adoption of B2B?

Brent: In, in the, in trying to get online and sell stuff. 

Michael: I think the biggest struggle is that companies that finally say, okay, we want to invest in, in online that they they do. Directly get the concept of E R P integration. So they can set up an e-commerce solution connected to the ERP system, but not have the reliability that their customers are expecting from them, because then normally their customers would call and they would have somebody on the phone.

Michael: This person is looking at the E R P system and has all the information on. Customer in front of them. So can speak about it and say, Hey, what did you order last week? Last month, last year, two years ago. Oh, you ordered this. Oh, I need to have a spare part for that. And the person on the phone is, has all that direct access has all the information can really support this online customer in whatever he or she wants to buy.

Michael: Now. So if you go online, this customer wants to have all the information available as well in the same way, but if you don’t have that direct integration, you only have a subset of the information. So you might only have the orders that are, that you place through the web store. You will not have all the orders from five years ago that are only near your ERP system.

Michael: If you don’t have that. Close integration as you call it. So what happens? As online customer, you go to the web store, you don’t see that previous order data for instance, or are the information that you would like to have and what do you do? You pick up the phone again and you say, oh, don’t wanna work with web store anymore because it doesn’t have that information.

Michael: It’s not as complete as the person I get on the phone in terms of the information that that I get provided with. And it’s not as accurate or reliable as it should be. And that’s then you see what happens. Then they pick up the phone again, then they will not adopt the web store.

Michael: And then, we speak to the company says, yeah, e-commerce doesn’t work for us. Our customers don’t like it and it’s not true. I think there are very few people these days that prefer to pick up the phone over doing self-service on the internet. However, If you want to do self-service on the internet, you want to know that the, that you can trust the information that is there and that you have all the information that you need.

Michael: Otherwise it will not work. So I think that’s the biggest struggle for companies. If they. , they don’t start with the right setup in place that they will, their customers will not fully embrace it. And they will conclude that eCommerce is not working for them. And we heard that time and time again.

Michael: So I think that’s really a big deal. And I understand because a lot of companies, of course, if you, if I would be also this vision manufacturing company and I want. Buy an eCommerce solution, probably I’ll go online. I’ll Google eCommerce solutions. I’ll see Magento and Shopify and all the big players and say, oh, probably these solutions are great.

Michael: So I need to have one of those. But I think they have to look one, two more steps deeper and see, what’s the nature of my business. What is my core infrastructure that I have in place typically for these companies, it’s the ERP system. And then start thinking from there and say, okay, how do I take that information that I have there and take it to the web.

Brent: Yeah, no, that’s the great points. And I think a lot of I’ll pick on Shopify a little bit, a lot of, and they have such a huge marketing budget that CEOs of companies typically say, oh, they’re selling online. Let’s just set up a Shopify store, not realizing a that there’s gonna be a ton of things that they need.

Brent: And we could go into a feature list that B2B has that, that a typical D2C doesn’t have, and then B that they’re going to run into all kinds of fees and performance issues and all the things that aren’t typical in your. D2C store and you’re direct to consumer store where are more typical in a B2B store?

Brent: I’ll name one of ’em. I know that we talked about reordering or the volume of an order in your typical B2B shopping cart. You could have a thousand line items in it. Where in your typical D2C you’re gonna. 10 at the most or something like that your shopping card has to be robust to handle that maybe speak to some of those constraints that people encounter when trying to adopt a, B or D2C store in a B2B environment.

Michael: Yeah I like the example of reorder, right? Like I said, you might have placed an order a couple weeks or months, or even years ago. And you want to reorder that then, and you want to do that through your online web store. You need to be able to access that previous order through the web store.

Michael: And what I love about the European integration, it’s also that, okay, you placed the order or you want to place it reorder. You can also look it up. Call with a sales rep, ask them to adjust the order. And in real time, you can see on your screen that the order is being chased because changed because it goes directly to the ERP system to check that information and you can on the fly approve the order for instance.

Michael: So you have this because you’re all looking at the same information with this closed ERP integration. You can really collaborate in such a way that is pretty unique, I would say. And there, there are many more examples where if you have that philosophy and that approach of close ERP integration, as you call it earlier that for B2B customers, that it, that are so many more benefits and they will also lead to higher adoption.

Michael: So it’s not just, I think, in the features, it’s really also from my perspective in the fundamental. Set up of your business and your eCommerce environment. 

Brent: Yeah. And I think you’ve, I think that E R P integration too is important. If you think about some, a lot of B2B customers or a lot of B2B merchants might have a million SKUs and most retail eCommerce platforms are not gonna be able to handle that volume or even manage that volume.

Brent: So I guess it sounds like what you’re saying is through that really close knit, E R P integration, it’s much easier to manage all those SKUs when you’re using your platform. Yeah. 

Michael: And of course they’re also, downsides, right? Your information in your ERP. Needs to be clean, right?

Michael: If you make a big mess of your ERP system and then you open it up to your customers, then they can see the mess. That’s not how it should be. So you need to have your ERP system and your data and your ERP system in order. But once you have that, it’s fantastic that you can just make it available to your online customer.

Michael: And it’s all almost like they’re working in your ERP system, but then in a much more user inter friendly user interface. And then also of course only seeing the inform. That is relevant and and accessible to them. 

Brent: Maybe talk a little bit about configurability. I know that some SaaS platforms have the downside of only being configurable to what.

Brent: The other thousands of people are doing on it. How do you manage configurability within your platform? 

Michael: Yeah. Good question. And it’s a hot topic indeed. But what we typically do is we just like we leverage the E R P system for all the. Complexities around pricing and availability of product.

Michael: And a lot of other things, we also leverage the functionality of CPQ tooling, for instance. So we integrate with that tooling to do the complexity of, to handle the complexity of config product configuration if it becomes really complex and then we take the output of that and we say, okay, now you can process that order in your shopping basket, but we just provide the visual interface, whereas all the.

Michael: Complexity is being done by third party tools. 

Brent: And what about language and tax? I know that certainly it’s harder for Europeans sometimes to come to the US and vice versa US go to because the way tax is done here is completely different. In a wholesale market in the US, nobody would ever pay tax in.

Brent: I know in Europe with that, you would typical. Charge on that tax and get a credit. Yeah. Maybe talk to some of those complexities around tax 

Michael: and yeah, for us we love complexity. And why is that? Because typically this complexity for business has already been solved. And then we just leverage what they have used to create to manage that complexity.

Michael: So for instance, with taxes Typically, I think a lot of our customers in the us use Avalara for calculating taxes. And then we just use, the output of that to show it in a web store. Either it’s in the ERP system or it’s, third party integrations like Avalara. So in a sense, Sana Commerce is a pretty straightforward solution because we don’t create a lot of extra complexity.

Michael: Leverage the complexity that customers already have in place. So I love to speak with prospects that have a very complex business maybe because they work with best before dates and all the complexity that comes with that. We don’t care. We, they already have systems in place that manage that complexity.

Michael: And we’ll just take the output of those, processes. And we’ll just show them in the web show, show those in the web store. So we tend to keep it simple because we don’t have to recreate any of that complexity that the customer already has. 

Brent: and just a little bit about complexity and workflows.

Brent: You mentioned a couple times that you’re taking a lot of this from the E R P and ERP may have specific workflows on say, who’s gonna approve something. Are you adopting all those workflows into the eCommerce system as well for if a buyer has to get an approval from another member of their team or even teams working together and then pooling.

Brent: Orders maybe speak to that. Yeah. Good 

Michael: example. That’s indeed functionality that we have within Sana. So within Sana, you can set up these business rules who can order what, and who has, which authorities. So this functionality that we provide, however, if Business has already set that up in their ERP system.

Michael: We can also leverage that we, so we got a bit of both the same with product enrichment. If a customer manages that from the ERP system, or they have a PIM system in place where they manages, their product catalog, then they can use that. That’s fine. If they don’t, we also offer functionality in Sana commerce to manage product enrichment.

Michael: So we can go basically go both. 

Brent: We touched on the idea of the amount of SKU. Is there a sort of upper limit that you would wanna attempt to do, or is it open to SKU count and open to categories and things like that. Yeah, 

Michael: no, there’s not directly a limit.

Michael: I I don’t know if there will be at some point in it there’s always a limit. But we typically do stick to limit. Of course, if there. More SKUs. We always need to do a bit more work, bit more testing some tweaking and tuning on the caching side. And of course we the company need, need to be able with their ERP system to manage certain volumes.

Michael: Because if we process an order, like I said, it gets directly processed into the, your ERP system typically. It’s also good to stress test the ERP system on the amount of transactions that it can process within a certain time window. Typically, in our experience in B2B, you don’t have these in our experience, at least the type of customers that we have these crazy what is it?

Michael: What is black Friday events you have less of that in B2B. So typically these spikes are a little bit less there compared to B2C. 

Brent: I said earlier that maybe the larger comp the more performance issues would be around SKU count and even SKU count in the cart rather.

Brent: Getting slammed with thousands of orders all at once. Yeah, no 

Michael: yeah. It’s a good point. Yeah, no. And in terms of SKUs I, there, yeah, like I said, there’s always, if there are large SKUs with lots of attributes and complex search, of course you need to do extra work. But we I think we have yet to encounter our limitations there.

Brent: It’s just talking about attributes and limitations. One problem that I’ve seen in the magenta world is the ability to create as many attributes as you want, and to create as many VAR attributes or text based attributes as you want. And in the I think in the SKU management world, There should be some restrictions on that.

Brent: Like the advantage of some SaaS platforms is that you don’t give the users so many choices and because of that, it helps them to manage their store better. Yeah. How do you deal with somebody that wants to set up hundreds of attributes and may decide? I want to have 200 attributes that are all text based.

Brent: Yeah. 

Michael: Yet for every. New customer. We provide what we call handholding services. So we will guide them through the process of setting up their web store. So this consultancy involved. And once we see that are, not making. When they are planning to make decisions that will be unfavorable for the performance of the website, of course we’ll advise and we’ll talk to them and make sure that they will not create too many attributes that will, limit their search performance for instance, or there navigation performance.

Michael: Typically that’s how we do it. So it’s more in person guidance and consultancy around. 

Brent: Some of the buzz words out on the market today are around headless and API first. How are you positioned in that? 

Michael: Yeah, I think just like any other platform we say, okay, we’re headless and that’s true.

Michael: We can function with, without our Sana Head, so to speak that being said, it’s not something that among our client base is, the highest ranking topic on their agenda, so to speak. So I know there’s a lot of talk about it in the industry. Sometimes we discuss it with customers or prospects, but it’s not something that we are fully focused on because it’s, not the main topic for us at the moment.

Brent: And do you find, this is just a general comment that a lot. B2B clients just want to try to keep it somewhat simple. So having more of a monolith deployment of the application is sometimes easier than building it out into multiple microservices on PWA front end or something like that. 

Michael: Yeah I can definitely relate to what you said that, more I, that’s also what we recognize more and more B2B companies want to keep it simple.

Michael: I think in general, more companies, when it comes to software and it solutions say, Hey, we had this experience in the past where we had a lot of complexity, a lot of customizations, and now we want to have it much more simple. And that’s definitely something you can relate to. Like I said, we have the advantage that we don’t have to rebuild the complexity that they already have in the ERP system or potentially in other systems that we can leverage that what they already have.

Michael: And with that, we can keep things much more simple for them and much smaller applications. Yeah, I can definitely relate to that. Everybody wants some level of flexibility, of course. But I think in the flexibility that was A lot of people are speaking about with microservices, et cetera.

Michael: I think it’s for some companies, it’s great if they have large it teams that are managing all this complexity, but I see it more and more, at least among our customers and prospect that they say, okay, we prefer to keep it simple. We get so many other applications in a landscape to manage. If we can do something more simple in eCommerce that they’re really happy with that.

Michael: Does that make sense? Do you see that as well? Yeah, and 

Brent: I don’t wanna say it’s simple. It’s just it, maybe it’s it. It’s making the journey easier for both it and thus the customer, because you’re not adding a bunch of subsystems that your main systems is dependent in all these subsystems.

Brent: And I know we did. In a sense, a Valera is a is a microservice, but it’s also a microservice that’s maintained by somebody else. So I think some of those complexities happen when your team has to maintain all. Sub microservices and a lot of the API only solutions for eCommerce nowadays require you to build out microservices to get any additional functionality.

Michael: And that comes with a lot of complex or a lot of flexibility, but it also comes at a price, I think. And you need really large teams, I would say to manage that. 

Brent: Tell us a little bit about your team, about the Senate team.

Brent: You’re where you’re based in Netherlands. Tell us a little bit about the company. 

Michael: Yeah, sure. So we, like I said, we started 14 years ago and we have certainly back then we had this niche approach. We said we’re only going to work for B2B companies because there we saw a real need and we built our product only for companies that either run on Microsoft dynamics, E R P.

Michael: or an SAP ERP system. So with that, we are, very focused and like I said, a niche player, but then we said, okay, If we’re going to take this focus, we need to be a global player, right? Because otherwise our addressable market is too small in, in Netherlands or even in Europe. So our headquarters is here in the Netherlands.

Michael: We have another headquarters in New York. We have another office in Columbia and Meine we have offices in Germany in the UK in Dubai and. So we try to serve this customer that is B2B and running our Microsoft dynamics or SAP around the world. And then we got our development centers in Sri Lanka in Ukraine and also team in Meladinine in Columbia.

Michael: So we’re pretty spread out. We’re like I said, with around. 500 people. We want to be close to our customers and our partners. We work a lot with the E R P vendors because they of course, speak with the customers and prospects also about eCommerce and then bring us in. Yeah, so that’s basically how we’re currently organized.

Brent: And what about your roadmap for other E R P platforms like NetSuite. 

Michael: Currently it’s not on our roadmap. We’re discussing it. We’re thinking about if it’s not directly on our roadmap, that’s because we want to be the very best at what we do. So we constantly challenge ourself.

Michael: Is this the right time to also look at NetSuite? And we say we can be again a little bit better with our product for Microsoft dynamics and SAP. And we got now about 1500 customers. There are we estimate around a hundred thousand customers companies around the world that have SAP or Microsoft dynamics and are in B2B.

Michael: So we still there’s, so much growth potential there that we said, okay, we first want to be better at that before we go into NetSuite 

Brent: and from a it side, what sort of technical knowledge does a a merchant need to have to run your system. 

Michael: Not much, I would say it’s a visual design, so you can create your web store as you want.

Michael: Of course you need to involve some of the it people in the company to, get the APIs up and running. But like I said, we have these handholding services. So we really, we have done this already more than a thousand times, so we can really guide customers in what they have to do.

Michael: And there are small things that they need to do. But in general, it’s not a lot of technical knowledge, I would say. 

Brent: And I SAP has a front end solution. Do you compete a little bit with the SAP’s front end 

Michael: solution? Yeah. In a sense we do it goes a little bit back to what I said earlier that solution, I believe, has been built in a very different setup to serve, I think in the beginning, mostly retail customers.

Michael: So it’s a very different solution, more standalone. Sounds strange. Because, but it has been an acquisition from SAP, so more standalone and it can be connected to the SAP system. Whereas when we build our solution for SAP, We went, a lot more into the ERP system itself into the SAP system itself.

Michael: And that allowed us to build this really deep integration. So yes, we compete, but typically if we speak to a prospect and we show how we work and what our philosophy and our approach is, they see that it’s a very different approach in a very different way to to to basically solve their eCommerce needs.

Brent: Great. Yeah. Michael, thank you for being here today. As we close out the episode I always give everybody a chance to do a shameless plug about anything you’d like, what would you like to promote or plug today? 

Michael: Yeah, I think, I just briefly mentioned that we got a team in Ukraine, so 130 of our 500 plus people are in Ukraine.

Michael: And as we all know, they’re in a pretty tough spot at the moment. Everybody listening, please support any way you can either financially or through, social media, let yourself be heard. I think it means a lot. And I think together, this as a world, basically, I would say we, we need to do anything we can to support people because it’s it’s really tough.

Michael: What’s going on there. Thanks for the opportunity. 

Brent: Yeah. And I’ll just comment on that as well. That the the world needs to stand up and talk about this and the more misinformation that comes out of Russia, the more misinformation that’s put out there. And I think the more we all stand up against that is gonna be better.

Brent: And I think thank you for that. 

Michael: Yeah, I agree. I think one of the risk is that it faded away. And I think we need to continuously even if it takes for month, we need to continue to focus on it and make sure that we don’t, that it doesn’t, that we don’t forget about it.

Michael: If 

Brent: yeah. And I think, especially from a technical standpoint it touches so many communities Magento and BigCommerce and Sana yeah, definitely. Thank you for that thank you for again for being here, Michael is the CEO of Sana commerce, a B2B tightly E R P knit b2B commerce platform. Thank you so much for being here. Thank you, Brent.

Talk Commerce Brent Bellm Part 2

Big Brands using Multi-storefront on BigCommerce with Brent Bellm

Part 2: Multi Store Disruption with Brent Bellm, CEO at BigCommerce


Brent Peterson: Just going back to multi-storefront, if we put all these pieces together, you have a solution now that will work across borders, across currencies, across languages maybe help us understand how big you’ve already helped us understand how big of a hurdle it was, but some of the solutions now that people can go to market with and the speed in which they could do it. 

Brent Bellm: Yeah. So one example I love to use. I think it might’ve been the first or second multi-store customer to go live with us in beta.

Brent Bellm: This was months ago. This was last year. It’s a company called The Bullet Group that has Motorola rugged phones. So these are phones that are dust-proof, waterproof, drop-proof, rugged phones, and another brand called cat phones, like Caterpillar phones that they sell all across Europe.

Brent Bellm: They launched. I think they’re up to I don’t know, 20 plus stores for each of those two brands that are selling different currencies, different languages, all around the world. And they did this in a headless way. Meaning they’ve got, I think a WordPress front-end is the design. And then the backend is BigCommerce multi-store and it’s a multi geo scenario.

Brent Bellm: Ted Baker is doing the same thing. Ted Baker just launched this great apparel brand. They have something like a dozen different stores, different languages, different currencies. Again, that’s the multi-geo use case. But you could also instead do a multi-segment use case. Like maybe your initial store sells to consumers, but then you wanted a B2 B store to sell to your wholesalers and your retailers.

Brent Bellm: You can do that with multi-store. You could also come up with different brands. Sub-brands promotional launches, a store that you spin-up and then spin-down. And the power of this is that when you spin one of these stores up, you can use the same integrations that were on your main store, all the investment you put into building that initial big store, integrating into your ERP or accounting system, your email marketing, whatever your payment solution is.

Brent Bellm: You don’t have to replicate all that work. You can leverage it. That’s really the power and the speed of multi-store, but I think it’s illustrative that those first couple of examples I gave you they have a dozen or more stores and they did it out of the gate. 

Brent Peterson: And I think the difference right now in the landscape of SaaS at least is the other, your competitors are all having to have a storefront and a different backend. And then they have to figure out how to manage all those multiple backends. 

Brent Bellm: That is correct. 

Brent Peterson: You’re letting the client effectively manage one place, one place to do everything and then distribute out those SKUs and even multiple currencies with different checkouts in different countries.

Brent Bellm: My understanding is that with Shopify, you can clone a store and it’s pretty easy to clone a store. You push a button. You’ve got another store. That’s like your initial store, same theme, same integration, same currency of that. You can’t do multi-store, which is one account. And then start changing all of that changing the theme and the currencies and the that have like same integration, same backend one account, one store, lots of storefronts.

Brent Bellm: You have multiple stores and we’ve always been able to do that too. This is much more powerful. This is. Very appropriate for many of the world’s mid-market and large enterprise businesses who do have multiple brands, segments, and, or geographies, but so many small businesses want to do the same thing.

Brent Bellm: And that’s one of the neatest things that we’ll be doing next. The announcement today is live launched for our enterprise stores, but we’ll be bringing this to our small business stores, our $30 a month for $80 per month. With our $300 a month plan, you’ll be able to click a button at a store, and boom, there you go. Storefront, I should say. 

Brent Peterson: So you did mention that these new things coming up for the smaller merchants. What else is coming up with multi-storefront? What are the things we have to look forward to? 

Brent Bellm: So in addition to bringing it to a small business and click of a button store addition, another major area of investment for us is in international capabilities within our native Stencil framework.

Brent Bellm: So having multi-language we already have multi-currency, but especially multilanguage and some other geographic capabilities built into individual stores. multi-storefront will benefit from this. If you’re using. Our native design framework and theming engine called stencil. If you don’t want those limitations today, then you can go headless with us and do your front end and WordPress or ContentStack or ContentFull or pick any other front-end framework.

Brent Bellm: We’re a leader in headless but we’re bringing some of that native in as well. And then a final release, which should happen next month. It’s March should happen next month in April is multi location inventory. So this is also going to be helpful because for businesses who have multiple warehouses and, or the addition of retail point of sale, we’ll have the full inventory API capabilities for you to use logic within BigCommerce to track.

Brent Bellm: Where is the inventory for each SKU, and then present that either to the customer. If the customer wants to make a choice, buy online pickup in store or within your shipping optimization to say customers located here closest warehouse is there shipped from that warehouse. So a multi-location inventory APIs are coming out soon and that’s quite complimentary to multi-storefront. 

Brent Peterson: The multi-location inventory is going to help in the omnichannel world. If somebody is trying to connect some of their outbound POS systems into BigCommerce, that’ll allow the, that inventory to be available to the storefront.

Brent Bellm: Yes. And today you can manage that logic outside of BigCommerce, but bringing it in is nice and scalable.

Brent Bellm: It’s the sort of thing that would let us, for example, we’re integrated in and partnered with point of sale platforms like Teamwork Commerce, and Square and Clover. Another differentiator from Shopify who has its own proprietary. One size fits all point of sale. We partner with the market leaders and EPASS now in Europe ISEL these partners can then integrate the knowledge of inventory counts that they have in individual stores into the API.

Brent Bellm: And then the merchant who may have remote ship warehouses that are outside the point of sale can integrate those as well. And so that complexity can all be orchestrated within BigCommerce relieving you from having to have an outside order management system or ERP that’s handling all of that. 

Brent Peterson: A lot of your enterprise clients are going to have an ERP there’s this enhances that allowing actually to connect multiple ERP is each store or each you can grab the inventory from each of those ERP systems with the with multiple inventory locations. So you’d have to have that. So that’s right. I think that, that gives another advantage to that. We did mention a little bit about headless and I’m always interested in headless.

Brent Peterson: Where do you think headless is going in the next five to ten years? Do you think the the idea of having a monolith where we have an easy added front end that’s part of the system. Or do you think a lot of stores are going this headless route? 

Brent Bellm: I think headless will only grow. For example, when people talk about the metaverse, if you start creating storefronts in the metaverse that won’t be based on pre-packaged themes coming out of BigCommerce or Shopify, you’ll be designing that outside of our framework and then integrating a BigCommerce in as a backend, more broadly.

Brent Bellm: There is a very rich set of frameworks and content management systems and digital experience platforms that companies can use for their front ends. I gave the Ted Baker example, they’re using BloomReach, which is a really nice design and experience platform. I gave the example of The Bullet Group using WordPress more than 25% of the world’s.

Brent Bellm: E-commerce. Our WordPress stores, right? And WordPress is by definition going to be headless because WordPress is a content management system without its own e-commerce backend. You need to use BigCommerce or WooCommerce or another headless backend in order to commerce enable a WordPress site. But you think about the the popularity of all these additional frameworks, NextJS and content management systems like ContentFull and ContentStack, the high end, Adobe Experience Manager, Drupal and Acquia ones.

Brent Bellm: We don’t work with like SiteCore. There are a lot of these and what they do is they free up the designers to do things that are more innovative, less constricted than, the templating engine coming out of the e-commerce platform. We’ve got great themes, and you can do a lot with your design and Stencil.

Brent Bellm: The vast majority of our stores are in fact designing within BigCommerce because those teams are great, but increasingly brands want to be unconstrained and they want to really innovate in their user experience. And this is the advantage you get with headless. This advantage is that you then now have to integrate your front end and your backend BigCommerce is the platform that makes that easy.

Brent Bellm: Our biggest competitor is commercetools, a German company that’s like at the extreme end of difficulty. Because it’s just this giant, API switching network and you need a point solution to everything that integrates you need your payments, integrated your email marketing, integrated your your catalog management, integrated your backend ERP integrated.

Brent Bellm: It is a nightmare. Whereas BigCommerce has all this functionality built in and you get to pick and choose which functionality in which of the thousand plus apps that are already integrated. You want to leverage. And so there’s so much less work to do headless and many of the front ends are so well integrated that we’ll soon be putting them into our channel manager.

Brent Bellm: You can just go in and click a button and say I want a new storefront. And for this storefront, you can choose differently with each one for this storefront. And I want to use WordPress or the storefront. I want to use ContentFull and Vercel for hosting. You can, that will all be configurable straight out of the BigCommerce control panel.

Brent Peterson: Do you see BigCommerce now as being the leader in that sector and people 

Brent Bellm: chasing you? It’s not just that. I see us as a leader. So does IDC when. And this is two years ago, but they had their enterprise report on headless platforms and they showed us as a leader. If I remember right, we might’ve been the only platform in the leader quadrant, which is a true platform rather than a microservices platform.

Brent Bellm: Like the other one commercetools. Is there maybe Elastic Path. These are all purpose built for headless commerce platform and they’re very expensive and hard to pull together. Whereas, BigCommerce was a full featured platform that starting six years ago said we want to serve the use case of companies who don’t use our templating engine.

Brent Bellm: The first two companies to go live with BigCommerce where giants Harvard business publishing, which is still headless with us today. General Electric. Those were custom front ends. And over time we’ve really built out our APIs, our connectors, our GraphQL capabilities. And so there’s no doubt that we’re fully invested in headless and.

Brent Bellm: It’s every bit our goal to continue to be the best platform in the world to do for most businesses to do headless commerce. 

Brent Peterson: So just a little bit about performance. You mentioned GraphQL and for the non-technical people GraphQL is a newer, let’s just call it one step above restful APIs where it’s much more performant.

Brent Peterson: The coverage on GraphQL is very large on BigCommerce and most things are available via of GraphQL, which gives you a better performance on your store, out of the box. 

Brent Bellm: That’s right, but there’s still some gaps. There are some, there are still some components of our product that don’t have GraphQL APIs.

Brent Bellm: We don’t have the full admin API infrastructure for just quickly provisioning a full store using GraphQL APIs. That’s all being worked on, it’s coming. 

Brent Peterson: Yeah. And then, going back to the admin and separating admin out, a lot of times the complexity that brings and you could still build it out with restful APIs, that’s right. So I guess as we close out today what are you most bullish about for BigCommerce in the next year, 

Brent Bellm: in the next year? Gosh, it’s so hard to limit. To one thing, you’re asking this question after the launch of multi-storefront. So I would have probably named that if you would ask me that question two days ago, but we’re on the other side of that announcement.

Brent Bellm: One of the things I’m most bullish about is international expansion. We were international from day one. The company was originally founded in Sydney, Australia, and only relocated its headquarters to the U S. Two years in when most of the customers were there. So they, they moved to the customers now are headquartered in Austin, Texas, but we’ve shown that we’re really good at hiring great talent and because of our open and partner centric approach, going into new geographies and immediately being able to successfully serve the local.

Brent Bellm: Customer and partner ecosystem. We did that spectacularly well, starting in the UK in 2018. I think it was that business. Absolutely booming. Since we expanded into Italy, France and the Netherlands last year and beginning of this year, Germany, Spain, and Mexico. Now each of those is off to a nice start.

Brent Bellm: So one of my aspirations is to get to a point where we’re competing and serving businesses in every country just about in the world of all sizes. I have a real passion for that. I was an international relations major in college and, ran PayPal Europe for four years. So this is an area where I really get jazzed.

Brent Bellm: We’re also a giant believer if I’m going to limit myself to two things. The other thing I’m most excited about is omni-channel selling. We bought a company last year called feedonomics, which is the leading feed management solution. In the world feed management is how an ecommerce company gets its catalog of products for sale from out of its e-comm platform or PIM or ERP and into the leading advertising channels, social networks and marketplaces that it wants to generate demand from and sales.

Brent Bellm: feedonomics is good, so good because they have, they serve something like 28% of the top thousand US online retailers. They not only connect you into Google shopping and Facebook, Instagram, and WISH, and Walmart and eBay and Amazon and Mercado Libre and all these other great channels, but they transform and optimize the data in each one.

Brent Bellm: So that your catalog looks exactly the way it needs to look to perform best on Google and then separately for Facebook and separately for eBay and each of these has different schema for text length, description, length, picture, pixelation, and feedonomics enables you to optimize for every one.

Brent Bellm: And what it does is it makes it really easy for a business to advertise and generate demand and sell in so many more places where your possible consumers might be spending their time and that drives growth. So between multi-store, which is creating more of your own storefronts to sell to customers and omni-channel, which is getting your catalog distributed to all the other places where consumers may browse the internet or shop, omni-channel plus multi-storefront, I think really is a one-two punch to help businesses succeed better on BigCommerce than they would elsewhere.

Brent Peterson: Yeah. And just as we close out here, I just wanted to make a comment on the challenges of going into new markets and how the open SaaS concept really helps to hurdle or get over those hurdles. It’s possible for somebody in Bolivia or Uruguay to build a BigCommerce store and then to have a custom

Brent Peterson: checkout made with a custom payment system. That’s a Bolivian bank and whomever is going to ship in Bolivia. Yeah. This is possible with BigCommerce where the majority of SaaS platforms, it is impossible. 

Brent Bellm: That is correct. Although we also want to compliment that with having pre integration into, one or more of the leading payment solutions in Bolivia.

Brent Bellm: So the merchant doesn’t have to go through that trouble if they don’t, if they don’t want to. Yeah. 

Brent Bellm: I was just making an illustration 

Brent Bellm: on that’s right. We have that openness and flexibility as part of open SaaS. 

Brent Peterson: That’s great. Brent, as we close out the podcast, I give everybody an opportunity to do a shameless plug about anything you’d like to promote today.

Brent Peterson: You’ve spent a lot of time promoting multi-storefront. Is there anything else that you’d like to promote that’s even non BigCommerce? 

Brent Bellm: Yeah, the only other thing I think I would promote that’s related to BigCommerce that I haven’t touched on yet is our B2B capabilities. B2B e-commerce is roughly as big as B2C and we’re full featured. We serve B2B really well. We have a B2B edition with a whole bunch of core B2B functionality that comes out of the box.

Brent Bellm: And so if you’re a B2B seller entirely or partially, we’re a great platform for that. 

Brent Peterson: Yeah, full transparency. We are a BigCommerce partner and we’re using the B2B edition and it’s fantastic. It works very well. Brent, thank you so much for being here today. It’s been such an enjoyable conversation and I wish all the best for multi-storefront.

Brent Peterson: It is a game-changer in the SaaS business. And I say that from a background of another platform that is multi-storefront. And I’m so excited to have this new feature inside of BigCommerce. 

Brent Bellm: Thanks for having me, Brent and congrats to your parents who named you very well. 

Rick West

B2B Product Led Marketplace

Rick West, CEO of Field Agent, envisioned a new type of product-led B2B marketplace, one where you could shop for specific services and buy that service all in the same place. We discuss his vision and how he made it a reality. Rick tells us about his experience as a 20-year start-up and the journey he took to make Field Agent a success. He tells us how unique it is in the industry. Your traditional B2B marketplace is going to take you to a connector to have two or three other phone calls, two or three other meetings. Field Agent can take you right to check out. By the time you check out two or three minutes later in near real-time, you’re getting data and results coming back your way.

Field Agent has reimagined B2B retail solutions to help CPG and retail professionals solve common challenges at retail. Our on-demand marketplace contains a full suite of fast, simple, cost-effective tools to help companies evaluate in-store conditions, drive sales, understand shoppers, generate ratings and reviews, and more.

Rick West is an experienced CEO and co-founder of multiple start-ups with an emphasis on technology, innovation, and CPG. As a leader in the Retail Industry for seventeen years in the United States, Hong Kong, and Thailand he has been an Entrepreneur for over sixteen years in the U.S. and currently serves as a speaker and mentor within the business community and research industry. Life Quote: “Don’t live in the world of maybe, let your yes be yes and your no be no”

Alec Berkley

A Better B2B experience on BigCommerce with Alec Berkley

For years the SaaS Market has not had a great solution for B2B… until Now. Bundle B2B is a SaaS application that offers enterprise-level B2B functionality to businesses of all types and sizes. It enables store owners to facilitate their B2B operations online and provide their B2B customers with seamless transactions and convenient self-service account capabilities. Alec Berkley, the co-found and director of business development with BundleB2B explain how he got started and how his solution will benefit B2B users.

With core capabilities that allow users to easily manage front-end and back-end B2B processes, Bundle B2B can be utilized to fit the needs of any growing B2B Commerce business and improve the B2B self-service experience for both store owners and their customers.


Brent: Welcome to this special B2B addition of Talk Commerce today. I have Alec Berkeley with me. He’s the co-founder and business development manager, business development superstar for bundle B2B. It’s a B2B ex B2B app for BigCommerce. Alec, go ahead and tell me a lot better than what I just said.

Alec: yeah. So we’ve been working with BigCommerce for quite some time. We started out as just a ranking technology partner and just offered our B2B extension for company account hierarchy. And then we just expanded out from there. And now we’re like a full mini B2B platform with invoice payment management, quote management.

Alec: And we are being resold by BigCommerce as their B2B edition. So that just happened in March of this year. We saw launched that and. We’re growing pretty fast and we’re working with a lot of BigCommerce merchants. 

Brent: Great. And what type of merchant do you think best fits the bundle B2B and you call it an app or extension.

Brent: What do you call this? 

Alec: We are a mini B2B platform. So we’re like a companion product for BigCommerce. It’s like a B2B extension for BigCommerce, I’d say. 

Brent: Great. And what type of client do you think is the best fit for. 

Alec: Yeah. So we find anywhere from pure play B2B to hybrid merchants that do both a combination of B2C and B2B all the way from SMB.

Alec: So first time online with some offline revenue and B2B accounts all the way up to enterprise. So we tend to play the best in the higher end of the SMB and the mid-market. Up until enterprise. And then when you get to the enterprise stage, you could still work with us, but you might require some more customizations and work done by a digital agency partner.

Brent: And are, I’m assuming most of the features are there or are there particular features that most clients are asking for that, that that are included and what are some of those feature? . 

Alec: Yeah. So all the way from like the approval process of a B2B account, like I’m looking to do business with you, how can I get payment terms and better pricing?

Alec: Or if I submit that in the form of a quote, say, Hey, I want to quote for these 12 products, a sales rep can then go and follow up with me and. give me a deal for that one time, or then I’m converted into a B2B customer. And then as soon as you cross over that threshold and become a B2B customer, that’s when all of our features come into play for reordering and for invoice management and sales reps that are transitioning those accounts into self-service.

Alec: I’d say the objective for a lot of our clients is to be more efficient and transition more of their B2B accounts into that self-service model so that they can reduce manual efforts and increase efficiency across their organization. 

Brent: You I maybe describe some of the motivations that you had around building this module and when did it start and what was the impetus to get going?

Alec: Sure. Yeah. My background originally in this industry was working with Magento open source, which in 2015 was one of the only options for this particular segment of new two online B to B that was able to get this type of functionality. So funny enough we really haven’t progressed. A crazy amount in terms of the features and functions that people are asking for.

Alec: We’ve just been able to decrease the total cost of ownership by 80 to 90% from there. The vision has never changed. It was to provide a, self-service easy to use B2B commerce portal. I think the platform changed to BigCommerce. And then as BigCommerce progressed with some of the things that they were offering from an API perspective, We were able to take it into overdrive and really progress pretty quickly.

Alec: I’d say within the last couple of years, we’ve started to see the majority of our traction with, again, those same merchants that we were helping back in 2015 on Magento open source with B2B extensions. 

Brent: Yeah. And so you started with magenta one and did you make a conscious decision to move, to be to BigCommerce and not move into magenta?

Brent: Two? 

Alec: Yeah. So we started with Magento 1.9 and we saw that, Magento two was coming out and we were able to gather that Magento was working on their own B2B functionality and the enterprise offering of that. And. Had a couple of options in terms of as a business, how we wanted to proceed and really putting the customer first, rather than our bank accounts and implementation fees.

Alec: So we were looking at BigCommerce and Shopify at the time, and it seemed that Shopify was more focused on the direct to consumer while BigCommerce was more focused on creating an API first platform and looking more at the ecosystem to provide. Direction for them. And so we got in there really early and said, look, this is what we’re looking to do.

Alec: This is the types of customers that we’ve been working with over here. This, this is what we’re looking to do with you guys. How can we get there and started out with custom projects and then eventually work its way into the brand that we have now is bundle B2B and in the technology.

Alec: Partner world. And again now as a part of their enterprise offering. 

Brent: So are you seeing that let’s call ’em legacy clients are slowly moving into the B2B online world, and this is a good entry point. Are you seeing seasoned B2B companies who. Either are already on BigCommerce or they’re converting their store from some other platform onto BigCommerce.

Brent: What is the sort of trend that you’re seeing? 

Alec: Yeah, that’s a really good question. We definitely see a lot of legacy. A lot of legacy customers that are on a specific E R P or specific eCommerce shopping cart that. has some integration capabilities. I don’t wanna call out specific ones. Shopping cars that are well integrated with different ERPs, but don’t have the extensibility or front end management and marketing capabilities that a SAS platform like BigCommerce or Shopify would have today.

Alec: So we see a lot of that. We also just see a lot. companies that never really had the budget or the vision to create an eCommerce site for B2B. And they’ve just been doing it over email and over the phone and directly keying orders into E R P systems or CRM systems. And they might have a customer portal that can show invoice data or something like that, but that’s about it.

Alec: And it’s just like a mirror into their E R P. It doesn’t really have. nice looking user interface to it. So that’s a lot of it. We do get the platform migrations. Those are usually tougher for us because they’re gonna come with, customizations likely on the previous platform and depending on where they’re at in that progression, the more mature B2B businesses.

Alec: sometimes are trickier for us. We work really well with the open-minded businesses that are tired of the legacy platforms and open to change and simplifying process or changing process a little bit to. save a whole lot of money. . 

Brent: Are you seeing some platforms? Or some, I’m sorry, some clients who are rigid in their ways and you’re going to ha you’re gonna have to do some modifications to it or are there are, they are a lot of people open to the way you’re set up and how the, how your workflow is going?

Alec: Yeah, I think it depends on who you’re speaking with and how large the organization. I think in the larger organizations, the challenge that we find is in customer service and sales not wanting to retrain. They’re team members w with yet another system to process orders and service the customers.

Alec: That, that is usually the toughest part is the adoption of the sales team and B2B, the clients are typically owned by sales. It’s, it’s not like organic Google ranking that brings them, it’s the hard work of sales people and. Sometimes even sales folks see the e-commerce site as a, as competition once their client goes into self-serve, why am I still how am I going to be, needed at that point?

Alec: We do see pushback in that regard and with the smaller businesses, it’s usually just, getting all of their data in order. And they know that, I think since the pandemic and when physical kind of. Interaction was limited. I think that kind of, for a lot of the laggards that kind of shifted their mind to realizing, whoa we really ought to have some online presence, but in terms of how we get there usually the complexity is more in the data and a lot of times that goes back to the it guy that’s been with them for 15 years and, has to take it on his own or her own.

Alec: To do the project. So with the smaller businesses, it’s usually the loan ranger. It, that gets bogged down, the marketers are usually pushing for it. The CEO is usually pushing for it and it’s more of a data challenge. And I’d say with a larger organization, it’s more of a people challenge and a training challenge.

Brent: From a technology and integration challenge. What are the biggest hurdles that that clients would look to get over when they start installing or setting up the B2B portion of their business on top of BigCommerce 

Alec: source of truth, right? It’s always gonna be source of truth. So if my source of truth is.

Alec: Not BigCommerce and it’s another system then, what’s the minimum amount of data that needs to go back and forth to keep my source of truth the source of truth, right? And not have two different systems to manage one for, my online customers and one for my offline customers or, phone call customers that are never gonna.

Alec: until there’s another generation of purchasing, never going to log to a website to order. Cuz I haven’t been doing that for the last 25 years. Why would I start now? Yeah, out that the source of truth and then the other part is just the cost, right? Nobody wants to spend extra money. So when the alternative is changing process to spending maybe, 20, $30,000.

Alec: to integrate, all of this data changing the process starts to sound a lot better than the integration bill. But they do need some minimum integration. I think that’s where our service partners really come in and help navigate that discussion. Architect, those sort of solutions and options for them.

Brent: Are you seeing customers struggle with the idea that they used to key in their orders into the E R P and now they could, they should key ’em into BigCommerce rather than E R P like, just any. Any other end user would come to your website order that those products go through that same workflow, get to get it into the system.

Brent: To have that, I think you had mentioned source of truth. So most of the B2B customers have an E R P system that’s running that should be their source of truth, at least from a skeleton standpoint for, maybe their skew, the description, the quantity, and maybe the price. And then.

Brent: The web front end is the way to show it to people publicly and and get the, and maybe beautify the product a little bit. Do you find that a struggle at this time? 

Alec: Yes and no. So it’s not a struggle showing how much nicer the interface is going to be for them because nine times outta 10, BigCommerce is gonna offer a better user interface for inputting orders than an E R P system.

Alec: But the complexity, again, it just goes back to like things like customer specific pricing. So EOPS are gonna be a lot more sophisticated in terms of managing different price overrides. And if then, I might need to do, in some cases, do a dynamic call for a price to, to get the actual Value that’s needed for that particular order, depending on the volume or something else.

Alec: So if BigCommerce isn’t aware of that and the E R P is then they’re gonna be yeah, this looks really good, but I have no idea. I’m still gonna have to go and look up the price over here anyway, and then override that. So it goes back to the data challenge, I think from a presentation point of view.

Alec: Usually we don’t see a lot of pushback. We see good feedback with that. Whether it’s doing it through our quote functionality and converting the quote into an order, doing it from the front end, within a masquerade, or even doing it directly within the BigCommerce order entry. It’s just, all right.

Alec: So based off of this customer, do we already have the price list in BigCommerce or is it going to be a challenge, for me to figure out okay. For this particular order. , this is the pricing that they got last time. So I need to honor that, last invoice price or something to that nature, that’s where it starts to break down.

Alec: I think, is the price calculation in terms of finding the products and creating the order nine times out of 10, they’re gonna say, yeah this looks better than my current system, but is, I sound like a broken record. Is the data accurate? So 

Brent: right. Yeah. You had mentioned some features earlier.

Brent: What do you see. Popular things that people maybe you don’t even think about, but would like to have. And I can just say some other platforms would have quick order requisition lists things like that are hierarchy of accounts. Are most of those features built in.

Brent: And is there certain differentiators that sets you aside from other extensions or even other. Platforms out there. 

Alec: Yeah. So we’ve got all the, the quote to order the shopping list or what someone also called requisition list buy again, which you’ll see is a common one in, in, Amazon to go reorder your last ordered products.

Alec: We roll everything up to the company level. So whether, it’s you or me, that’s placing the order. It’s going to be rolled up at an account level so we can see the various. Skews if I’m placing the order this week and you’re placing it next week the masquerading functionality is the more unique one.

Alec: So we have that out of the box. We call that a super admin. So that could be a sales rep that can act as an admin in a set of accounts. Or it could be, if I manage, say like multiple different retail locations or franchises, I could log in on behalf of these different franchise locations and it creates.

Alec: that sort of ultimate view of a set of accounts. So a customer that can belong to multiple customer groups that’s a trickier one that doesn’t exist out of a box in a lot of platforms you can try with segmenting or tagging and different platforms. But yeah that masquerading functionality, if used correctly, it can be very valuable because you can quickly, even if you’re on the phone with a customer, you can quickly.

Alec: Basically everything in their account and it works for outside sales reps as well. I can just say, Hey Alec, you managed the west coast accounts. Here’s these 25 different customers on your dashboard, but this, you can place orders for ’em. You could view orders. You can view invoices, but only for them.

Alec: So you’re not giving them any sort of proprietary information in the backend or, orders from customers that I shouldn’t be seeing or competitors, things like that. So I’d say that’s probably if used, which again, Getting the sales team on there is its own battle. But if use, it can be a very valuable feature for both outside, as well as inside reps or people on the buyer side that manage multiple different accounts and oversee, different locations for job sites for that 

Brent: matter.

Brent: And the features that you have are they, I’m assuming they’re customer driven. So you started you started the bundle B2B platform as custom integration with BigCommerce. And you found that, Hey, there’s more than one person that wants this. Have you continually added on features as you, as people ask for it and then it eventually goes into the mainstream?

Alec: Yeah that’s pretty much how we’ve done it. If any customers are listening to this now I’m sure that they recall conversations with me over the years, expressing their pains and challenges. And then, however many months later, realized, oh, you guys did that one so yeah, we’ve pretty much done it based off of customer feedback.

Alec: BigCommerce of course, is their product team and their sales engineers have given strategic business development team. They’ve given us a lot of. Insights and feedback as well in terms of what they’re hearing from their conversations. We try to send out surveys now because it’s more difficult with the volume that we have to hear from everybody in a one-on-one setting.

Alec: But that was for sure how it started was just very detailed conversations with customers that had very real challenges and very real business, revenue in BigCommerce that, Needed to be addressed basically. And they didn’t wanna migrate away, but they didn’t have the features that they needed at the time.

Alec: So it was really, it was like, am I gonna migrate to Magento or another platform? Or can I is BigCommerce gonna be able to offer all of these things? And I think we played a large role in elevating the features that a lot of these B2B businesses were asking for to keep ’em there. And then now.

Alec: even taking them from the platforms that they were looking at, going to way, way back then. 

Brent: You mentioned API BigCommerce being API first. Do you have public APIs that people could attach to as well? If needed. And then do you recommend clients build out microservices when they want to customize.

Alec: Yeah, so we’ve totally adopted the BigCommerce, open API mindset in that, with every single one of our features, you’re gonna see the ability to access via APIs as well as being able to create custom fields. So on a company object, you can add additional fields to manage things like tax exemption, credit limit minimum order threshold.

Alec: On an invoice object, you can add custom invoice lines, cost lines to map with your invoice objects that you might have in other systems for quotes. Same thing, depending on, if I have to add a line for custom packaging or custom engrave or expedited shipping we offer flexibility there and server to server APIs, and the newer APIs that we’re offering are actually to support headless.

Alec: So it’s recreating the bundle account features outside of stencil theme and. Using our store for an APIs. That’s a huge push for BigCommerce as I’m sure you’re aware is, The whole concept of headless and, decoupled systems, whether that’s for performance purposes or for, content management purposes and marketing personalization purposes.

Alec: B2B is a little bit behind, I’d say in terms of their demands for personalized content. I think they’re just happy to have all of their data there. And again, I sound like a broken record with the data thing, but yeah, that, that’s our mindset is. You likely are not using our system as your source of truth.

Alec: You’re using it to present customers, the information that they need to see in order to get through the ordering process more efficiently and hopefully without having to call you. So we have to be pretty flexible when we’re being used in that way. like nine times that. Yeah. 

Brent: you’re I’m assuming you’re targeting right now.

Brent: Just us and Canada. Or what is your target market for this extension? 

Alec: Yeah, so we’ve actually made a pretty big push since the B2B addition into Mia and APAC. So we are offering multi-language we’re available in six different languages. We’re actually seeing some traction with the Spanish now, and I know you guys have good presence there.

Alec: The whole LATAM, I think, is a newer area for BigCommerce, but we’re starting to see traction. AMIA we are seeing a lot of traction. There. There’s some funky stuff that we’re working through. Like I just found out about a law in France where you’re not able to change an invoice after it’s been sent.

Alec: So you have to add credit notes and. One of my customers has been talking to us about that. So we have now Q1 roadmap or credit notes on invoices cuz you can’t change it. did not know that was a law. Things come up as you start going into those different countries and then your roadmap changes.

Alec: But yeah, we do want to offer our service globally and to the extent that BigCommerce is global, we already have, multicurrency, we’ve had multicurrency for a while. Yeah, the multilanguage we’re trying to prioritize there’s someone new languages. So we have to just look at the demand and prioritize the language packs from there.

Alec: And if we are doing the translation or if someone else is doing it and, putting it into the files and our system. 

Brent: So you I’m just coming back to EMEA then do you run into problems with data or is all your data stored in BigCommerce? 

Alec: So a lot of the sensitive data is we just push it over to BigCommerce.

Alec: We do have some information like the company name, but we’re GDPR compliant. So we’ve got, the user agreement to be compliant with the EU there. We’ve we have done what is needed to play over there. But yeah, we have had to get, red lines and stuff like that with some of the larger businesses over there with just making sure that, there’s no issues with how the data is managed.

Alec: But for us, it’s really just company name, email, and then a bill to, and a ship to address. We’re not dealing with any of the at least payment related stuff. We’re pushing all that through the BigCommerce system. 

Brent: And are you seeing more requests for cross-border things that would happen shipped from one country to the next country as a feature request?

Brent: Or is there 

Alec: something built in that helps out. In AMEA. Yes. It’s very rare that once you’re in Europe it’s very rare that you’re only selling one country in Europe. We had experience in cross border from some of the, China connections that we had. Back in the day. So a lot of merchants that are selling manufacturers, distributors in various regions in China that wanna sell into the us or other countries.

Alec: So we had that experience, but the within AMEA cross border is its own. Like I said, you learn about new laws. I think European laws are some of the trickier ones. APAC, everyone knows that it’s very difficult to sell into China, but outside of that it’s not. Too tricky. You’ve got the VA which comes up, but it’s VA is a hell of a lot more simple than sales tax in the us.

Alec: That’s one of the most complicated things you could ever try to tackle. It’s just why everyone just uses third party services for that. 

Brent: Yeah. And I’m assuming that for a lot of those things you rely on the third party service to provide that information like tax or shipping and things like that.

Alec: Yeah. So we’ve in our quote functionality, the, one of the recent releases we did was you just integrated that with the with Avela, for the tax and then with shipper HQ for the shipping rates. So yeah, those can be populated from third party systems in the quote. And then outside of that, we just rely on BigCommerce, existing integrations with their shopping cart checkout that they have with Avela and ship or HQ or.

Alec: Tax star Verex as well as other shipping rate providers, I will say ship HQ is a pretty, pretty big stronghold on BigCommerce because they have their basic plan and Avela also has their basic plan baked into their enterprise. Both of those companies have a pretty good stronghold, I guess you could say the same with us, we’re baked into an enterprise offering.

Alec: So it’s like the three of us you’re gonna get when you purchase it. And then if you want to go with someone. In theory you could. 

Brent: I don’t know if but Magento is unbundling everything out of their system and it would present you with an opportunity to attach your features to Magento open source.

Brent: Have you thought about anything like that? 

Alec: We’ve had some requests, we get magenta requests, we get Shopify requests at this time. And for all the BigCommerce people that may be listening, we’re not entertaining any of those requests. While it’s technically feasible, we haven’t made any commitments to those platforms as of yet.

Brent: And just from a technical side, are you using GraphQL for your your API. 

Alec: Not at the moment. It’s but we are planning to migrate to GraphQL for our APIs. That’s on the roadmap. 

Brent: So coming back to, so some of the requests that you get out of OEM, maybe some of the more urgent requests from a customer standpoint, how quickly can you turn around?

Brent: Some, if there’s some urgent thing that, Hey, we either have to shut down our store or we can keep going. Have you, do you experience much of that? And then if you do how, what’s your turnaround time on something like that? 

Alec: Yeah. So luckily we’re brought in at the beginning there’s usually three to four month project timeline that we have to work within.

Alec: So if we hear requirements that worry. That’s also hoping that, the project was before making the decision that there was some scoping done where if there was, there were things that were gonna be showstoppers, it could have been brought to us earlier, but our release cycles about three to four week sprints.

Alec: If I hear something today, it’s rare I can get it into the first one, but I can usually get it into the next one. So we can usually work within from when we hear about the issue within a couple of months, we could get. We could roll an update in and apply that update to the PO to the platform. 

Brent: Do you have some kind of a a community board that, that you entertained features?

Brent: I know things like HubSpot has a community section and they’ve, everybody can vote on some features that they want to get into it. And do you have, do you let clients drive some of. . 

Alec: Yeah. I think that’s the direction that we are headed. I think there’s a couple of things that, are, we’ve grown too fast type of problems.

Alec: One is a knowledge base, right? So all of the things that have been done with custom fields or like the various use cases that will come up where man, I really wish I had a solution for that. So it’s the knowledge base. And then I think the next thing that, that comes along with that is you provide the knowledge base to the community and then hopefully the community starts.

Alec: Feeding off of that and sharing information. For us, we went at the beginning of this year, I think we had around 65 customers, maybe a little less than that. And, we, not the year’s not over yet. And we are already pretty much at 200 customers, so we’ve more than doubled in less than a year.

Alec: So a lot of these things of, oh wow. We actually have scale shifting the mindset to, yeah. I can’t have a conversation with, I don’t know my customer’s dog’s name or their wife’s. So that’s a little bit foreign to us. Having been more of like a boutique offering for so long and now having volume largely attributed to the B2B edition trying to of shift that, that mindset to more mass communication and feedback.

Alec: I think there’s still some growing pains for us there, but we’re getting to it. 

Brent: and just for your information, my dog’s names are Finn and SAS. Okay, that’s great. And Finn is a seven month old Jack Russell, Terri. A complete terror. That’s awesome. The so the features are I’ll just talk about scale and growth, so you’ve more than doubled.

Brent: Are you keeping up with it? Are you experiencing some labor shortages? Tell us a little bit about the, this growth and and how you’re keeping up with things. 

Alec: Yeah, for us the big part of it, I think is. Training the technical people whether they’re internal or external.

Alec: So external being a digital agency, internal be I’m a developer for, company, ABC and I need to customize X, Y, and Z. For us, if everyone used the product out of the box, I don’t think that there would be. An issue, but in, in B2B and in eCommerce overall, out of the box is a loaded term.

Alec: I think everybody has some uniqueness, even if they’re selling t-shirts right. The enablement and the community building and all of that has been the biggest challenge. I think. So the customers all really what we’re offering, it’s just when they want to start changing it. Wondering how they can do that.

Alec: And then, alright if I change this, can I still upgrade or is this gonna mess things up? If I, I think in Magento could be attributed to, am I changing the core files or am I, everyone has, nightmares about Magento upgrades and. As a software as a service platform, you have your own, database and internal architecture that you don’t want to Jack up.

Alec: But in some cases, if a customer begs enough you’ll make an exception. I think we’ve had to start saying no a lot more as we’ve grown to say you know what you’re asking for can be done. technically, but, do you want to have access to our next six upgrades? Or do you want your upgrade, path to be more challenging?

Alec: It’s not that we’re not gonna be able to upgrade you, but now once you fork off of this there, there might be challenges associated with that. And sometimes they say, you know what? What you guys are doing is so cool. And I love you guys. I don’t care if I’m on my own version of your code, I’ll maintain it.

Alec: I’ll pay you more. Let’s just go and do it. It’s still costing me 20% of if I were to do the whole thing custom. So we’ll sometimes say yes to that, but it is a tricky. Yes. And, coming from the background of being so customer centric and wanting to. Help customers saying no to weird stuff is probably the hardest part of this stage of the business.

Alec: I would say that. And then training the ecosystem to customize just in general, on top of the platform. . 

Brent: Yeah, I think that’s super interesting, especially the idea of forking what your original core code is, and then allowing a customer to cus have that custom. I’m assuming you maintain that still.

Brent: If you were to fork it and have this custom code, that’s running off on a fork and you, and then you help them to upgrade that, but you’re completely responsible for it. So it’s like a SAS pass. Version at that point. Yeah. 

Alec: It’s like turning BigCommerce into a, in like a hybrid, cuz we’re extending it so far that, you know, Hey, I need these three new fields exposed on an API.

Alec: That’s not gonna require us to fork anything, but if the most recent one that came up is like a distributor management system. So like I could have five sales reps associated with one distributor. When a company applies based off of their zip code or country, I’m gonna assign ’em to a particular distributor.

Alec: So in order to accomplish that, bit of logic. You could either create another app for that and integrate it with our APIs. Or you could just build an additional tab in our app architecture that has it. So again we try not to do anything too crazy, especially nowadays with the volume, but that is, it’s a challenge to ride that line, knowing that you can essentially extend things further.

Alec: Just is this, is this gonna make sense to maintain I don’t know. 

Brent: yeah, that, I think it’s interesting right now that API first approach and how people ha. It seems like it could be less complicated, but I think the only people that is less complicated for is the person who has written the core code, because they’re just providing the API endpoints.

Brent: Everybody else has to write some custom code or custom application that just like you’ve done with bundled B2B that runs alongside of it and continues to run with it. And. at some point, I think the challenge is if you are running all these microservices yourself , you have a whole bunch of stuff to maintain.

Brent: That’s theoretically in small little bespoke little pieces that are out there running on their own. So it’s like running, I don’t know, you could be running 20 different micro sites that all have to tie together and talk, 

Alec: right? Yeah. That’s, that’s the. That’s the price you gotta pay to, hang with the big dogs, BigCommerce is a much larger organization.

Alec: They got customers with unique needs. Why do we exist is we can solve for maybe 70, 80% of it. But then what do you do with that 20%? And how does that get addressed? We push as much as we can to, to digital agencies and we solution with them. But at a certain point, yeah, you really have to evaluate, where things are hosted and, level of complexity, trade off of value scalability, cost of maintenance, all the things that you would evaluate and building something custom because you’re customizing a, SaaS platform that allows you to.

Alec: Do yeah it’s definitely interesting. 

Brent: Is it a challenge to get to get BigCommerce? So you mentioned that you keep some of your data in BigCommerce. Is it a challenge to add a new feature that you need to custom place to put data? Or is that fairly straightforward from the BigCommerce?

Alec: Yeah, it just depends. I think right now our plan with data centralization is to just do a feed. Actually, we’ve already done this for a couple of customers. This is doing a feed into the Google big query. So BigCommerce has just launched their, big data initiative where you can, instead of just working within their own analytics, you can just export tons of information into Google, big query and it’s free.

Alec: And then, you can have another tab review with all of the bundle B2B data. But then in terms of how you’re. Referencing that and using it for, your marketing or personalization purposes, it’s gonna require, someone that knows what they’re doing with database schema. But rather than trying to create all the redundancy directly in BigCommerce, we’re just taking a page from their book and say, Hey, we’re just gonna dump all of our stuff over here.

Alec: You dump all of it over there. And then you just create the relationship models that you need. If I want to get something. Top purchase products based off of user, based off of company within a date range, we have the company information and the user but then they’ve got like the product information and.

Alec: You know the date that it was ordered and a week after some of that too, but it’s like why try to write it all onto their system where I can’t even control what data fields they have? When we could just all put it somewhere else. 

Brent: sure. There’s a buzzword that’s going around right now called composable commerce.

Brent: Do you feel like you’re just going along with that whole new idea or old idea, or however you wanna look at it, but you’ve really, you’re now composing this part of it. Somebody else could come in and offer the content version of it, and then BigCommerce could be there with their cart version and suddenly composed a new solution.

Brent: That’s part of a bunch of smaller pieces. 

Alec: Yeah. We’ve definitely toyed with the idea of creating our own little like mini customer portal, like directly into an E R P and then say, Hey, you want the shopping cart, you go tag on to your shopping cart. You want the CMS, you go tag onto that.

Alec: And again, that’s I think, where the industry is headed because so many different SaaS companies out there creating very specific solutions to solve for specific needs. And then you say at a certain point, we all have our APIs. And then you get Brent to come in and figure it all out. , I’d say, yeah, we’re definitely in that.

Alec: I hadn’t actually really heard that term, but I guess it does make sense in the context of what we’re doing and where we could go as a company, if we’re to start decoupling ourselves further from the shopping cart component and just focus on the customer data and the. Sales reps and the invoices and cuz we’re operating in between like a CRM and an eCommerce system right now and an accounting system.

Alec: Those three things are operating somewhere in between. All of them just leveraging a lot of things with BigCommerce that we don’t want to reinvent or deal with, like PCI compliance and product, data management and stuff like that. 

Brent: Are I’m assuming that from a, like a payment standpoint, you’re allowing customers to do the specific terms that a B2B customer would need.

Brent: Is there any extra challenges around that? 

Alec: There’s a lot of challenges around payment, but there’s also a lot of opportunity around payment. I think, to maybe skip ahead to what the opportunity is in 2022. I think, once, once these businesses have gotten past their data challenges and they’re able to present all the invoice data and information to their customers, what’s the next thing that they’re gonna start offering, which is, more PA more efficient efficiency around B2B payments online.

Alec: You’ve got a lot of tools out there that, you’ll use maybe pay your medical bill or your, you. It can just go and connect to your bank and, plaid. And I think some of these other platforms out there are offering that easy bank connectivity type stuff. Right now we’re just playing within the BigCommerce checkout.

Alec: So I think they’ve got Adin and blue snap as the two where you can do the bank payments within their checkout framework. And then. Everything else is just the usual players Braintree, Stripe, authorized.net, PayPal, Amazon, apple pay. So all that stuff is gonna be available within a BigCommerce checkout.

Alec: And whether that checkout is a B2B order or an invoice payment, that’s what we are keeping track of. So what kind of transaction is it and how do you reconcile it? But in terms of where we could go, sky, I think sky is a limit. Once you hold all that data. If you can just say, all right today it’s going through BigCommerce checkout next week.

Alec: It could be going, direct to a gateway, six months from now, I could change it back. There’s just a lot more flexibility. Once you have all your invoice information in sync and your customers being able to have the flexibility. To pay up to pay off those invoices. Whether it’s through the website or it’s outside of the website, usually businesses, they want to not pay for transaction fees.

Alec: So instead of credit card, they’ll usher them toward a better option that doesn’t charge two plus percent. So sometimes maybe that’s just mailing a check. Fine. People are still gonna mail checks, it’s free, or I guess, close to free. You got your postage there. As long as you use it.

Alec: Us PS is still around. That’s much longer, but Yeah. 

Brent: You, we, you did mention what’s coming out in the future. Do you think that you’re gonna adopt more of the E R P things that are maybe some of the backend things that are coming forward into the front end and, or you think there’s just a mix of that’s gonna happen in the future?

Alec: Yeah, I definitely think we’re gonna continue to offer right now, the only E R P year we’ve really. gotten our hands dirty is Acumatica. We’ve created a base framework that communicates between, the Acumatica supported versions for commerce and our APIs. And so that’s the first one that we’ve created, like a reference design, I would say, and gone through the VAR ecosystem and started Going through the ringer.

Alec: There it’s been a challenge, but I think that’s ultimately the source of where we should continue investing is, with the E R PS, like dynamics, NetSuite, continue with Acumatica maybe even CRMs because that’s currently where a lot of these B2B guys are. Doing their, the majority of their business, right?

Alec: 80% of their business is usually done outside of any online system, if they have one. So if we can go there, make it easier for them to get the information. Least that their customers need initially, which is just, know, what’s my statement of account. How much money do I owe you? Even if I’m just gonna mail you a check anyway just showing the customer.

Alec: So I don’t have to call or, check my emails to see how much I owe Brent this month for my disposable masks or, slip resistant, mats or whatever. There’s all sorts of funny stuff that our customers sell. It’s all very supply chain, industrial. Type stuff, majority of which is that.

Brent: So as we, can wrap up here what is the easiest way for somebody to get started? yeah. What are the steps like you, you have to have BigCommerce and then what, tell us, and is there certain versions of BigCommerce that it’s gonna work on? Maybe tell us some of those steps that, that makes sense.

Brent: Yeah. 

Alec: So the enterprise version of BigCommerce is gonna give you the price lists, which makes customer specific pricing a lot easier. So if a business already knows that they need to have priceless a for company, a priceless B for company B, et cetera. likely they’re gonna have to go with the enterprise plan, unless there’s some sort of real time price integration that’s done on top of a pro plan, which isn’t recommended, but it’s possible.

Alec: If you have more simple pricing where. You don’t have a whole lot of different options for different customers. Then you could sign up with a pro plan installer app from the app store and, get going. You can still use our invoicing system with a BigCommerce pro plan. So you don’t need BigCommerce enterprise to access our invoice portal and start receiving payments and doing the statement of account for different companies.

Alec: So you can start small with just a basic customer portal of invoice information and. As you start to see more traction, roll up the online transactions, which I think after 400 K a year, BigCommerce is gonna upgrade you to enterprise anyway. Yeah that’s pretty much how you would get started.

Alec: You could start a trial, a BigCommerce installer app from the app store. And start setting up companies and viewing, viewing the B2B functionality there. So I could get it done within probably 30 minutes and create a test company within five. So that’s how long it would take you to see what’s there.

Alec: We have projects that are sometimes almost, a year long, depending on the complexity, so yeah it’s crazy really with SAS it’s it could be a couple of weeks. It could be a couple of years. You never really know. 

Brent: And is it I am hesitant to ask, but is it too late to get your store up and running before black Friday?

Brent: And I suppose if it’s B2B, it doesn’t really matter, right? Nobody’s gonna be doing black Friday B2B, or are you seeing people doing black Friday? B2B cyber Monday? We haven’t 

Alec: B2B. Yeah. That’s a really good question. We haven’t seen it yet. I have a feeling that it’ll start at some point when more of them are online and whatnot, but yeah, we don’t really see the black Friday.

Alec: Craziness in B2B. We see the, Hey, I have a budget that is gonna run out before the end of this year. So if I don’t use it, I lose it. So you better get this done and whatnot before the end of the year. Again, usually it’s not our responsibility. It’s, whoever’s doing the integration in the, in the customization of the BigCommerce site.

Alec: We sit in a spot where, Hey, how can we help? But we’re not responsible. Which has its pros and cons. 

Brent: Yeah. I think the beauty of SAS is that you can turn on something and have it up and running in a day and start using it or playing with it at least as even as a sandbox. So that’s fantastic.

Brent: Yeah. Great. Is there any sort of nugget that you can give a client looking into 2022 on what’s the hot topic on B2B right now, 

Alec: start looking at simplifying your process and understanding how you can get all of your data out of your system into. another one, because if you’re hamstrung from that perspective, then it’s gonna be very difficult to to shift.

Alec: And it could put you at a disadvantage versus your competitors who have already found a better way to manage their customer information and data so that they can provide these portals for the customers that are asking. 

Brent: All right. And as we final finish up here, I always give people a chance to do a shameless plug.

Brent: So you can plug anything you’d like today. 

Alec: Go ahead. Yeah, I guess if you listen to this podcast, I’ll give you a 20% off an annual subscription, three months, all so I’ll 

Brent: put all this in the show notes. 

Alec: Yeah. Before the end of the year, 20% off list price on our website, if you do an annual subscription and I’ll give you three months for free.

Brent: Yeah, I was gonna start a store selling masks and non-slip bath mats. So that’ll be perfect. I’ll get 20% 

Alec: off. How were those the first two things that came to my mind? I have no idea. Yeah, 

Brent: that’s great. It must be something they’re using every day or do you use the mask in the. Maybe that’s what it is.

Alec: That’s a new one. Water resistant masks. Yeah. 

Brent: Go. All right. Alec Berkeley, the co-founder of bundle B2B. Thank you for being here. 

Alec: Thanks Brent. Take care.

Eric Landmann | B2B commerce

Welcome to Talk Commerce. Where we explore how merchants, agencies, and developers experience commerce and the ecosystems, and communities they work and live in.

This week we interview Eric Landmann with Earthling Interactive. We kick off with how merchants are using eCommerce platforms and look especially at B2B and how B2B merchants are utilizing their catalogs. You may be surprised where they are missing out. We look at some specific features for B2B and touch on Adobe Commerce and Oro Commerce. We talk about the shifting platform landscape and look at SaaS verse on-prem. We learn that Eric is an avid ice climber and lives in Bozeman Montana!

This episode was recorded on June 16th, 2021