Marketplace Developer Diaries: Cart2Quote
November 2, 2017
With B2B eCommerce set to reach $1.2 trillion by 2021, accounting for more than 13% of total B2B sales, it’s become crucial for B2B merchants to offer customer experiences that match those of leading B2C brands. However, with high volumes and custom orders, the pricing and purchase process tends to be more complex for B2B merchants. That’s where Cart2Quote comes in. We sat down with Co-Founder Remco de Jong and certified Magento developer Lennart van der Garde, to talk about their contributions to Marketplace and why offering request for quote functionality in your store is essential for B2B commerce.
Magento: Tell us about how you started Cart2Quote and how you came up with the idea.
Remco: In 2009 I was working for a wholesale company in the Netherlands. I converted their entire eCommerce ecosystem to Magento. At the time, Magento didn’t have all the B2B features that it does today—in particular, a quoting system that would allow customers to request quotes for different quantities, compare prices, and place custom orders. I worked out the idea of an RFQ module and hired a freelancer to code it for me. Today, Cart2Quote is available on Marketplace for merchants on Magento Commerce 1 and Magento Commerce 2.
Magento: Cart2Quote is one of the most popular B2B extensions. Tell us a bit about the features and why they are important for both merchants and customers?
Lennart: Our extension provides a “request for quote functionality” on a Magento site. While the frontend allows customers to request quotes on products, the backend allows sales administrators to negotiate prices and terms with customers as well as initiate quotes and answer quote requests with custom prices and custom products. Cart2Quote includes many backend features that make closing a sale easier for the merchant, such as automated emails, a light CRM system and the ability to assign sales representatives to quotes.
Magento: Why are quotes important?
Remco: It’s all about the sale. Let’s look at the three types of merchants who rely on quotes. First, there are the wholesalers who sell products in large quantities but need to be careful publicizing their bottom prices when showing tiered prices. We give them the option to let customers request a quote instead of publishing prices.
Second, we have the merchant with corporate or government customers, where there are layers of approval that the purchaser must go through before buying. Cart2Quote provides a quote by PDF that can be printed and signed off by a director or manager.
Finally, Cart2Quote also caters to companies like web shops, whose main product is a highly customizable good. In this case, it’s impossible to offer just one price point. Customers want to know if you can make it green, bigger, smaller, or add a logo. Pricing is complex. They use Cart2Quote to gather all the right information and provide customized rates based on the specs of the customized product.
Magento: Where are your customers?
Remco: All over the world, we work with merchants in all continents. Cart2Quote is especially useful for companies in countries where policies and regulations are always changing. For example, currently, in South America and Europe, there are many companies who need quotes to deal with ongoing changes to government regulations.
Magento: What are some examples of merchants who have found success with the extension?
Remco: We recently had a customer at our office, who is an IT hardware supplier for companies like the different National Railways in Europe. It’s a multimillion dollar company and 90 percent of their sales is processed by Cart2Quote. They told us they could not do it without Magento in combination with Cart2Quote because almost every sale is customized and a national purchase officer must sign off on all quotes.
Magento: Can you tell me a bit about your custom development program?
Lennart: Our customers are happy with 90% of what Cart2Quote has to offer, but there are regulations that come with running a business so we offer to modify all of our quote modules and integrations with the regulations the merchant is facing. We sit with our customers to find out exactly what they need and then build it for them.
Magento: What is the most exciting problem in commerce you are solving, or want to help solve?
Remco: If you’re a merchant, you want to convert site visitors to sales. The last thing you want is visitors leaving your website because you’re requiring an account to be created before showing prices. Or you only show catalog items and prices but your customers are looking for something custom made or expect a discount for high volume purchases. Or you are dealing with big companies who typically do not add product to a shopping cart but require a purchase to be signed off and approved first. That’s our strong point.