When we talk
about growth in the online commerce market, the figures from the B2B eCommerce
makes a significant portion of it. According to Forrester,
B2B eCommerce in the US alone will account for 1.8 trillion of sales by 2023. Besides,
the online B2B sales would claim at least 17% of the total B2B commerce in the
US, while it will also grow at a steady rate of 10% for the next 5 years.
growing love for online shopping in the consumers, it’s not surprising that
even B2B merchants are falling in love with the hassle free ways of online
commerce. Instead of going through a layered market with different suppliers
and manufacturers, the modern-day B2B merchants now prefer online shopping for
bulk and wholesale purchases, too.
If you find the
prospects in B2B market enticing and thinking about starting a B2B eCommerce
store for business, this article will guide you to choose the most suitable
eCommerce platform for your goal. We will talk about the correct ways to
compare B2B eCommerce software solutions in
the market and go through a list of top five, which you can consider for your
So let’s begin
with a list of tips and must-have features, which you must definitely look in
any B2B eCommerce platform you find suitable.
Features to look in
a B2B eCommerce software
non-negotiable aspects of a modern-day B2B eCommerce store, which are also imperative
for the survival and growth of your business in a competitive environment.
· Don’t confuse with B2C solutions:
The market is
full of ready-made eCommerce platforms, but not all are suitable for B2B
commerce. The needs of B2B Commerce are visibly very different from B2C
commerce, so my first tip would be to strike-off any B2C solution from your
list, as they are no good for your cause here. However, don’t overlook the
brand itself, as many B2C eCommerce platform providers also offer dedicated or
hybrid B2B eCommerce solutions as well. You will see several such entries on my
· Flexible pricing:
The B2B market
often deals with negotiations and bargaining in bulk purchases. If I want to
purchase 100 tables and chairs for my office from a supplier, it’s imperative
that I should look for a B2B supplier who can cut me a discounted deal.
Therefore, the features such as negotiation, bargaining, requesting quotations,
which link directly to flexible pricing are non-negotiable for a B2B eCommerce
· Price and quotation download
Most of the B2B
purchase happens after a series of approvals and collaborations among the
managers of a business. For that, a manager needs to obtain the price details
or quotations from the B2B seller. Hence, letting the customers download the
price information or quotations is an important feature in B2B environment.
· Bulk ordering
If not all, then
most of the B2B commerce happens in bulk. A true B2B eCommerce platform should
offer convenient ways to purchase products in bulk. Let’s say a customer needs
3000 chairs, 3000 tables, 50 Projectors, and 200 window curtains. You can’t ask
this customer to add every product in the cart one after another, like in B2C
eCommerce websites. There should be ways to select a product and mention the
quantity information about the bulk order instantly.
· Hierarchy for organizations
Most of the B2B orders come from organizations
and businesses, which go through a series of approvals and audits by managers,
marketers, accountants, and employees. It would be a great idea to let
organizations create organization-level user accounts on your B2B store.
Thereafter, also allow the organizations to create sub-user accounts for them.
For example, the main user account for organization XYZ, while individual sub-accounts
for its senior-manager, manager, marketers, and other employees.
· Integration with popular eCommerce tools
It’s a fact that
eCommerce platforms are never alone sufficient to build fully capable and
competitive eCommerce stores. Even the mightiest eCommerce platform in the
market needs to integrate with different business tools to create a mighty
eCommerce store. B2B eCommerce is no different. Your B2B store will require an
array of integrations to sales, marketing, customer management, security,
online payments, conversion optimization, SEO, and a lot of other things. So
make sure that your B2B eCommerce software supports all these integrations.
Top 5 B2B eCommerce
platforms in 2020
important features and a number of other useful aspects, following are the five
best B2B eCommerce software solutions to build your store:
1. Shopify Plus
Shopify’s B2C solutions
need no introduction. However, the popular eCommerce platform is also available
for the B2B model under its brand, Shopify Plus. Shopify Plus is a dedicated
platform for enterprise-level businesses. Like its affordable B2C platform,
Shopify’s enterprise solution presents the same level of smooth interface for
Shopify Plus is
more suitable software for companies with a big budget and multiple channels of
sales. You can operate in both B2C and B2C models simultaneously using Shopify
Plus. Be advised that it’s a SaaS, so you would be paying some hefty recurring
fee to Shopify for as long as you use their solution.
2. CS-Cart B2B & B2C:
SaaS seems too expensive, you might want to look at CS-Cart’s B2B solution for
the more affordable and less dependent experience. Unlike Shopify, CS-Cart is s
self-hosted eCommerce solution that provides you with full control of your
platform and business. It provides both B2B and B2C solutions.
If you can
handle some responsibilities to manage a self-hosted eCommerce website,
CS-Cart’s B2B solution is a perfect fit for setting up a medium scale B2B
website. With little training, your team can start managing your B2B store in
no time. It also supports multiple storefronts, which is not present in Shopify.
3. Magento B2B eCommerce:
As Shopify alternatives,
Magento needs no introduction to the eCommerce software solutions market. Both,
B2C and B2B solutions from Magento provide an ultimate way to the entrepreneurs
to own an independent eCommerce empire. One word defines Magento from top to
bottom: Freedom. Freedom from overdependence on anyone to run your business.
Magento is available in both self-hosted and managed models.
Since it’s a
massive solution with typically a lot of features, it’s somewhat difficult to
manage a Magento website as a lone wolf. You will need a team of PHP
developers, Magento certified professionals, and webmasters to leverage this
awesome platform to the fullest.
4. BigCommerce B2B eCommerce:
one of the most popular B2C eCommerce platforms in the SaaS and managed
solutions model. However, not many of us know that Big Commerce’s B2B solutions
are even powerful than its B2C platform. With the same ease of access, speed,
and user-friendly dashboard, you can manage a massive B2B eCommerce store with
no extra skills.
Their team backs
you up at every step and offers every aid you need to set up and manage your
B2B eCommerce website. This also means that you are required to pay up some
heavy monthly fees for the managed services, but it’s not much, as even
self-hosted solutions like Magento an in-house team of experts to manage your
5. 3dcart B2B eCommerce
3dcart is a
cloud-based solution, offering an easier user-interface and quick way to set up
your eCommerce website in a few steps. They offer both B2B and B2C features, which
are well enough to run your business competitively. You need no technical
skills to manage a 3dcart-based eCommerce store.
possesses most of the essential features, you might want to skip this solution
for multi-vendor needs. It does not support multiple storefronts out of the
box. However, if you want to operate from a single storefront, 3dcatr is the
most feature-packed and economical SaaS alternative for B2B entrepreneurs.
All the B2B
eCommerce software solutions in the list possess competitive features and
seamless integrations with popular eCommerce tools in the market. However,
there is a huge difference between their price, user-friendliness, deployment
speed, and sale of the business. I would suggest you book a demo of all these
solutions and compare their pros and cons, while also considering their price
structure. Sometimes, you don’t need too many features but just a competitive
solution within your budget.
If you have a
good budget but don’t want to hire a big in-house team, SaaS-based solutions
work just fine. However, if you want more control on your business and website,
and willing to handle complex website management tasks in-house, self-hosted
solutions like Magento and Cs-Cart are your best bet. Besides, you will have
your source-code, which you can always customize to add as many features you
want on your website. Decide carefully, as it’s a long-term commitment.
Jessica Bruce is a professional
blogger, guest writer, Influencer & an eCommerce expert. Currently
associated with ShopyGen as a content marketing
strategist. She also report on the latest happenings and trends associated with
the eCommerce industry.