Top 5 B2B eCommerce Platforms in 2020

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.

Considering the 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 venture.

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

Some 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 list.

· 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 solution.

· 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

Considering the 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 novice users.

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:

If Shopify’s 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:

Big-Commerce is 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 store.

5.      3dcart B2B eCommerce solution:

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.

Although it 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.

To conclude

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.

Follow me on Twitter @Jessicabruc (https://twitter.com/Jessicabruc)