Every ecommerce website needs a functional platform, as every house needs a strong foundation.
Ecommerce platforms play a vital role in designing website features for business operation and management, securing them from internet attacks, and creating a seamless user experience for visitors.
When it comes to specific business models, typically B2B and B2C, ecommerce platforms separate unique functionalities to suit each business’s needs.
Bear in mind that B2B and B2C are different from customer identity and management to dealing or order processing. Thus, these two types of business models tend to select ecommerce platforms with appropriate features to optimize usage and save costs.
In this article, we will go together to find out which Ecommerce platforms are most suitable for B2B business and pick a platform for additional analysis.
1. What is B2B Ecommerce Platform?
Ecommerce platform, as you have already known, is a software application for online businesses to manage their websites from A to Z.
Along with various features that target every section of a business, ecommerce platforms become one of the most dispensable factors to form a complete online store.
So what is B2B ecommerce platform? Are there any differences from the ecommerce platform, in general?
To define “what is B2B ecommerce platform”, we can understand simply that it is a platform containing certain functions for the wholesale business. A B2B website that is built on the B2B ecommerce platform can utilize business performance and optimize productivity.
Hence, doing research and deciding which platforms to be used often take more time than B2C.
Although B2B Ecommerce platforms do not make much difference from B2C ones, more certain functionalities and customization are needed.
The complicated relationship between wholesalers, stakeholders, and decision-makers forces B2B ecommerce businesses to form a streamlined flow on their websites.
2. B2B Ecommerce Platform Features
To facilitate B2B websites to sell products and manage operations, ecommerce platforms are compulsory to include B2B-driven features and provide better B2B experience on the customer journey.
These built-in B2B ecommerce platform features are particular characteristics to define a B2B website and hardly found in B2C ecommerce.
Access restriction options
Why do B2B websites need to restrict access to specific customers? Whether this B2B ecommerce platform feature is necessary or not?
Let’s go together for a detailed explanation.
B2B is never as easy as our thoughts. While we always connect to a B2C website effortlessly and then go shopping, B2B takes us more steps.
Due to the complexity of target customers and approach methods related to many stakeholders, ecommerce platforms are expected to deliver various experiences depending on specific users.
It is necessary to decide whether to allow or limit access to some sections on the website. There may be no need to restrict the whole website; you implement these rules for places that are only accessible by B2B customers.
What benefits does this B2B platform feature bring?
- Offer group shopping experience for only B2B customers who may receive incentives for pricing or discounts
- Avoid rivals’ scrutiny and intense competition
- Segment B2B and B2C customers in the first place
B2B customer identity and management
Customers are by no means essential to a business, and B2B online stores are no exception.
How to identify a B2B user, then make customer segmentation in the first place become an integral part of a B2B ecommerce business.
If you intend to do business for both B2B and B2C customers, you are forced to separate account registration for these two groups.
Taking advantage of the only signup form for both prospects seems to be an unwise strategy. B2B customers had better be managed differently from B2C, with more actions in the future, such as generating company accounts or assigning sales reps to be in charge.
Besides, collecting adequate B2B customer information should not be neglected anymore. The more data you get in hands – the better you understand customer profile and behavior to determine strategies. Thus, an ecommerce platform that suits B2B business has to provide store owners with feasible solutions to aggregate databases and manage effectively.
GET CURIOUS TO READ MORE: Customer Data Management & B2B Online – Strong Bond To Raise Engagement.
B2B dealing often undergoes a wide range of stages before making the end decision. Discussion about pricing, quotation, shipping, or additional benefits takes more time and effort than B2C.
Despite various stakeholders’ attendance, take notice that B2B appreciates high customization in most steps in the purchase process, especially custom pricing – one of the must-have B2B ecommerce platform features.
When there are various customer groups in a B2B business, you cannot put the only pricing for all. Once you accept to divide customers into specific groups based on your intention, product characteristics, or order size, it means special treats of pricing for each.
For example, a customer group cooperating with your store for a long time may receive much more discount than an entirely new customer.
Accordingly, a good ecommerce platform for B2B business should equip custom pricing functionalities to allow store owners to customize different pricing for each customer.
As mentioned above, highly customization is a must in B2B. Not only pricing but also payment also requires B2B ecommerce businesses to develop appropriate solutions for a better approach.
When it comes to B2B ecommerce platform features regarding payments, there are some prevailing payment methods from traditional ones to modern technologies:
- Trade credits
- Purchase order
- Paper checks
- Cash on delivery
- Credit cards
- Bank transactions
Once you decide to go digital with B2B ecommerce platforms, make sure that the chosen platform provides you enough methods suiting B2B customers and the purchase process. The paper check may be not proper in this case, and you have to consider more during researching.
B2B business is symbolized by a large amount of order and high order frequency. Unlike B2C, B2B customers often demand a larger quantity of products in order; hence, store owners must equip an ecommerce platform that allows customers to order in bulk quickly and smoothly.
B2B Ecommerce platforms may facilitate this order process by entering product information in a form to purchase massively or import items via a CSV file to put plenty of products to cart effortlessly.
Heavy focus on user/customer experience
User experience always takes a high priority for a website whenever they make a decision to build an ecommerce website. If a customer is offered an excellent shopping experience on a website, your sales may be rocketed.
Of course, satisfying and enjoyable experience for visitors browsing a website is not a simple task because it resonates with website functionality, design, and even customer feelings.
One thing that should be borne in mind is B2B customers concentrate on individualization – they crave for their own experience.
Thus, a B2B platform must enhance their UI/UX features with optimization options, especially customization or personalization for now and future.
Some perspectives can be counted, such as:
- User-friendly and intuitive website design
- Highly customizable options
- Responsiveness on every device
- Timely response with dedicated support
Source: B2B International
3. How to choose a suitable B2B ecommerce platform
After knowing crucial features for an ecommerce platform to support building a website, deciding which platform to use now continues to be a challenge for store owners.
Besides B2B built-in functionality, it is critical to consider various factors that may have an enormous impact on website performance and extra support in the future.
Platform type may be considered as the first aspect in selecting the right ecommerce platform.
Each type contains particular features and provides users with diverse experiences.
Source: The Newsify
Licensed platform: You need to purchase a license fee up front and then renew it annually.
Open Source platform: Generally, Open source platform shares many similarities with the traditional platform. The primary difference is no need for an upfront fee to acquire a license. Additionally, it is a convenience that you can control everything you desire because the source code is now on your hand.
Paas platform: stands for Platform as a Service to build your software to connect with other systems. This platform type suits large companies, especially B2b enterprises to process complicated aspects and make them more complete.
SASS platform: it stands for Software as a Service that stays in the cloud and can be accessed via the web browser. Using this platform, it is unnecessary to download anything; you just need to connect to the Internet, then log in to your account and run your business.
Out-of-box B2B functionality
Needless to say, a right B2B ecommerce platform must cover adequate B2B features to operate and handle business issues thoroughly.
With a tight budget, it would be better to pick a platform that is equipped with enough function – save money for extra tools or customized services.
Besides products, customers, and order management, Marketing appears as a decisive factor to decide which platform fits your business.
This availability lets your website actively perform in-house Marketing actions, from discount rules to SEO-related concerns, contributing to boosting sales.
The more diversity of Marketing features are provided, the more efficiency you achieve during the operation process.
Maintenance & security
These two components specify how a website is protected and maintained instantly to work sleekly.
You had better select an ecommerce platform that braces security walls (PCI compliance, for example) to avoid hackers’ attacks and exposes maintenance policy to empower website performance.
Never underestimate the customization ability of a B2B platform! One of our customers has shared that they would shift to another platform due to the less flexibility to customize functions and lack of external plugin/service providers from the old ecommerce platform.
It is a fact that no B2B ecommerce platform encompasses everything you are craving. Thus, let’s make a dash for a platform with highly customizable features to strengthen websites whenever you demand a modification.
In the era of mobile around every corner of modern life, you will surely lose both customers and money if you don’t guarantee a mobile-friendly interface for your website.
According to a recent study, the world witnessed 5.11 billion unique mobile users in 2019, and 2.71 billion out of them use smartphones.
Hence, to win this vast number of mobile users, B2B online stores are forced to seek an ecommerce platform that is compatible with mobile devices.
Responsive design, good UI/UX on mobiles along with seamless user experience, are keys to success and dominate the market.
B2B merchants ought to take into account integrations to utilize the business operation.
Integrations are useful tools (ERP, POS, CRM) to connect with your system, then sync data and automate order fulfillment, inventory synchronization, product catalog syndication, and more.
These integrations help leverage business performance, save human resources and costs considerably, and create an effortless workflow between stages.
When it comes to a B2B ecommerce platform, you should ask for more information on integrations and specify how it handles your ERP or CRM and predicts the complexity before installing and configuring.
Money may be one of the top priorities to consider an ecommerce platform. A more expensive platform does not mean the good one, but it can provide you with unlimited useful features and dedicated support.
Let’s take a careful assessment of the pricing plan aligned with features to decide the most suitable platform for your business needs.
4. Top 7 most valuable B2B Ecommerce Platforms
It’s time to explore how many B2B ecommerce platforms may suit your business and their outstanding functions to reinforce website performance.
Magento 2 B2B Ecommerce
As you may know, Magento is one of the leading ecommerce platforms in the world. A lot of big brands are using Magento to build websites such as Coca Cola, Samsung, Ford, and so on.
–>> Explore Magento 2 web development service to get one for you business.
Magento impresses users with high scalability and customizable ability as an open source platform. Despite the complexity, Magento eliminates issues of huge databases that few platforms can handle.
Since acquired by Adobe in 2018, Magento has been improving its products and services by developing more solutions for merchants, both Magento 2 B2B and B2C. Order management, Progressive Web Applications, product recommendation, or Omi channels are useful for combining and leveraging business performance.
More importantly, Magento also provides a version as Magento 2 B2B Ecommerce that targets wholesale business with a diversity of must-have features to operate online stores effectively and gain complete control.
CRAVE IT FOR NOW: Full Magento 2 B2B features are explained in one place!
Additionally, there are a vast number of Magento service and extension providers on the market, which don’t limit your customization for your website, even if you are not tech-savvy.
- Robust admin management
- Extensive Magento 2 B2B features
- No limit for customization
- A considerable number of extensions and themes for better website development
- High costs for Magento Commerce (Magento Open source is totally free)
- Needs of hostings
- Magento Open Source: Free
- Magento Commerce: Start at $22,000/year
- Magento Cloud Commerce: Start at $2,000/year
Shopify appears as a rising star on the Ecommerce platform map. Typically, Shopify concentrates on small business, requires little technical knowledge or skills, and enables store owners to manage their websites from A to Z.
Shopify Plus is a version of the Shopify to make enterprises more potent with advanced functionality. With a simple and intuitive user interface, Shopify Plus removes any obstacles and assists all users to get familiar immediately.
Another strength stays in simplifying transactions via a lot of options for customers to select. However, it is the simplicity that can cause your website to extend capacity when it reaches a certain time hardly.
- Time-saving to build an online store
- Affordable and predictive cost
- Seamless user experience
- Various built-in tools
- Content management limitation
- Lack of multi-store support
- Limited backend customization
- Lack of SEO control
- Payment methods are unavailable in some countries and charge additional fees for users.
Although Shopify does not reveal pricing for Shopify Plus, many people say that the pricing can be more than $2,000 per month.
3dcart offers users all functions they need to create a B2B online store and serve wholesale customers with an optimized shopping experience.
No matter who you are, wholesalers, resellers, or B2B suppliers, you can quickly generate a website based on the 3card ecommerce platform.
3dcart understands every requirement of B2B buyers and then develops various functions to meet their needs, making it possible to build a friendly website that wholesale customers fall in love with.
Users are allowed to design beautiful and rich-content product pages, set up tier price bulk discounts, and utilize Marketing performance with SEO and built-in Marketing tools.
Also, 3card guarantees intensively personalized B2B buying experience, maximizes ordering and reordering process, and supports flexible payment methods to serve the most customers.
- More diverse features than other platforms
- 200+ built-in functions
- Free themes
- Multiple payment methods
- Customer segmentation
- Strong shopping cart capabilities – support every type of promotions and discounts
- Lack of customization options
- No connection with POS system
- Basic templates
Bigcommerce is well-known for one of the leading cloud ecommerce platforms that cost lower for ownership but high flexibility of APIs.
Enterprises are made easier to customize pricing or catalogs for different customer groups, both B2B and B2C merchants, with this platform’s help.
Also, because Bigcommerce includes complicated built-in features, the learning-curve is higher than other SASS platforms. Nevertheless, it is not a big obstacle for newcomers when Bigcommerce always provides detailed documentation with dedicated support teams.
- User-friendly storefronts
- Fast loading websites
- Numerous integrations from the library
- Well-managed product inventory
- No transaction fee
- Great SEO features
- Limited promotion and discount options
- Expensive themes (7 free themes and premium themes’ price =s range from $170 to $195)
- An expensive pricing plan is a must if your sales exceed the annual sales threshold corresponding to the current plan
- Smaller app marketplace than other platforms
Unlike mentioned ecommerce platforms, OROCommerce is a representative for the ecommerce platform that only serves B2B business; hence, it meets the unique demands of wholesale merchants.
This platform provides you with comprehensive features to expand to the new market with your online and mobile presence. Using OROCommerce, you gain both ecommerce and CRM in one solution to support sales generation, improve vendor management, and assist multiple operation teams to receive wanted information.
Being an open source platform, OROCommerce brings code transparency, product reliability, and tested security for developers and the community to make improvements.
- A B2B-centric ecommerce platform
- Out-of-box integrations (OROCRM or Marketing tools)
- Limited extensions for making websites more advanced
- Limited development availability and support
- OROCommerce Community Edition: Free
- OROCommerce Enterprise Edition: Not public – need to contact with OROCommerce
If you tend to operate a B2B business multiple channels, both brick-and-mortar and click-to-mortar stores, NetSuite may be the right choice for you.
NetSuite strengthens customer engagement on various channels and offers personalized services and B2B seamless experience for both suppliers and consumers.
High scalability and extensive integrations (CRM, ERP) are also ideal for large enterprises to facilitate the whole B2B operations.
Additionally, NetSuite provides users with automated operations, high real-time visibility, and built-in business intelligence.
- Exceptional integration with CRM and ERP
- High level of customization
- Powerful reports
- High complexity
- Lacks of automation, integration and functionality needed in a large enterprises
- Limited built-in reporting capabilities
- Time-consuming to update currency
The pricing plan is not provided by the vendor and you need to contact them for more details.
TradeGecko is a B2B ecommerce platform that assists users in optimizing shipping, order processing, and inventory management.
It simplifies and automates transactional processes to allow you more time to better other processes, save employee workload, and contribute to the whole improvements.
Thus, it can be said that simplicity is the main point of Tradegecko and appears as a highlighted strength between a wide range of ecommerce platforms.
- Easy to use with adequate information at the fingertips
- Good integration with other software
- Multi-warehouse support
- Quick customer services
- Limited B2B features and need more improvements
- Low speed during the high traffic time
- Some inefficient reports when inputting and syncing data
- No payment integration to synch with the wholesale orders
- No credit limit checking
- Refund by credit card only if using the B2B
5. B2B solution Magento 2 – Build B2B from scratch
B2B Ecommerce edition is costly for you; it’s definitely right! You need to pay an annual fee based on your revenue, as Magento proposes.
Thus, we deliver another optimized solution for you – still use Magento open source but cover every B2B function on the website: Magento 2 B2B extension package.
QUICK JUMP NOW: Explore B2B Solution Magento 2 package to verify whether it fits.
Built on default B2B features and a day-to-day effort of the product team, BSS Commerce launched this solution package more than one year ago, as a pioneer in this market.
Our Magento 2 B2B extension package allows you – a B2B merchant, to form your website with various functions belonging to:
- Access Restrictions: The B2B solution Magento 2 forces customers to login before viewing websites and restrict category, product, and CMS pages for specific customer groups
- B2B Identity and Management: streamline B2B registration with unlimited fields to gather customer information, manage company accounts, and assign sales reps to customers.
- Pricing Strategy: Magento 2 B2B extensions determine hiding prices for products, customize pricing for specific customer groups, and provide quotation features for the B2B dealing process.
- Ordering Process: allow order in bulks, add multiple products to cart, and fasten ordering configurable products in a grid. Besides, a quick reordering also empowers the purchase process in the blink of an eye.
- Flexible Refund: Magento 2 B2B extensions keep the money to stay inside the store with credit refund.
In more detail, the B2B solution Magento 2 combines a lot of B2B extensions, then defines a workflow between them and guarantees the best compatibility to work well on any website.
The combination promises to sharpen B2B websites from A to Z, create a seamless user experience in the first place and contribute to rocketing the sales.
BSS Commerce has been putting tons of effort into researching B2B models, B2B customer behavior, and B2B websites to develop the most stunning features in the Magento 2 B2B extension package.
Since the Magento 2 B2B extension package was launched during the past year, we approached hundreds of global customers and resolved various issues related to their wholesale business.
READ CUSTOMER SUCCESS: How FHC leveraged their website with BSS B2B Solution Magento 2.
B2B Ecommerce platforms are a must for every enterprise that desires to do wholesale business online. We hope that this article will give you a hand to choose the right platform to build your website, suiting your budget, and target customers.
BSS Commerce is one of the leading Magento extension providers and web development services in the world. With experienced and certified Magento developers, we commit to bring high-quality products and services to optimize your business effectively. Furthermore, we offer FREE Installation – FREE 1-year Support and FREE Lifetime Update for every Magento extension.
CONTACT NOW to let us know your problems. We are willing to support you every time.