The Best eCommerce Platform for B2B Marketplace

Tapping into the world of wholesale eCommerce may not be the easiest thing to do, especially if you don’t know where to start or what to look for. In this post, we’ll detail which of the statements about B2B eCommerce are correct, take a look at the most popular platforms, and guide you through some of the basic criteria of choosing a dedicated B2B eCommerce website for your business.

 

 

What Is B2B eCommerce?

For those who aren’t familiar with the B2B concept, this term is used to describe merchants that work with other businesses. Unlike B2C retailers who directly sell to end customers, B2B companies supply their merchandise to distributors, manufacturers, and B2C retailers themselves. This is why B2B eCommerce businesses have longer buying cycles, their transactions are more complex and time-consuming. 

 

Personalization is also a huge deal in B2B, as here merchants depend on the external factors and volumes of products they sell. So the price tag of a single product can fluctuate from one order to another.

 

The main benefit of B2B eCommerce lies in multi-channel sales — companies can work with a wide pool of clients that span across different industries and categories. For example, a milling machine can be sold to a small factory, private enterprise, and even an equipment rental company.

 

 

How to Pick the Right B2B eCommerce Platform

Today, the market offers dozens of B2B platforms, each of which comes with its own set of features and capabilities. In order to not get lost amongst all these offerings, there are four key aspects that we recommend you pay attention to when picking a B2B eCommerce software:

 

  • Acquisition costs — when deciding on a B2B platform, make sure to factor in all fees that come with a particular solution. Aside from a recurring subscription fee, some platforms may also charge you an extra amount of money for a certain number of orders or transactions made through your online shop. You can also be expected to pay a fixed percentage of your monthly revenue to the vendor.
  • PCI security standards — compliance with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) ensures that your online store is secure enough to handle customer credit card data. Some B2B eCommerce platforms are compliant with this standard by default, while others delegate this responsibility to their clients — meaning that it will be your job to ensure that the payment gateway of your choice corresponds to all security standards.
  • Website maintenance & support — opting for an on-premise or hosted solution means that you are responsible for all website, code, and server maintenance activities. With cloud-based platforms, the entire job will be done by a software vendor. Aside from that, client support also matters and different vendors have different policies established in that regard. For example, some platforms offer 24/7 live chat and dedicated personal assistance, while others don’t.
  • Third-party integrations — the platform you choose should be able to easily integrate with other systems you may have: ERP, POS, CRM, inventory management tools, etc. This is a highly important aspect as you don’t want to find yourself in a situation where, after investing in a B2B platform, you can’t make your infrastructure work holistically.

 

 

 

Top 5 Best eCommerce Platforms for B2B

 

Magento Commerce

 

 

Magento Commerce — also known as Magento Enterprise — is a premium version of a platform that comes with a more advanced set of features geared towards providing a better experience for B2B customers. In this edition, resellers can create customer-specific product configurations, set quick order forms, requisition lists, automated rules for product recommendations, etc.

 

The B2B platform has robust security tools and protocols set in place — Web Application Firewall, Virtual Private Cloud, Content Delivery Network, etc. This edition is also PCI certified. 

 

The extensive localization functionality offered by Magento Commerce allows merchants to use 200+ currencies, run their stores in multiple languages, and automatically calculate taxes at checkout. The platform is also quite flexible when it comes to storefront customization and supports 480+ third-party extensions that merchants can use. The costs of Magento Commerce start at around $2,000 per month.

 

 

Shopify Plus

 

 

A dedicated extension that comes as a part of the Shopify platform. The main advantage of Shopify Plus is that merchants can organize their B2B and B2C sales using just one platform (the B2B and B2C orders, however, are managed in different channels). 

 

Shopify B2B allows users to assign custom price logic to individual groups of products and customers. Merchants can also configure product visibility, set order thresholds, create complex price discounts, apply different payment methods to different clients, etc. 

 

This B2B eCommerce platform supports CRM and ERP integrations, gives access to 100+ payment providers, and is known for having one of the best B2B store customization modules. It is also PCI compliant and provides SSL certificates to resellers.

 

As for pricing, Shopify Plus starts from $2,000 per month and can go up to $40,000 per month — depending on sales volumes and revenue.

 

 

WooCommerce B2B

 

 

WooCommerce B2B is not a platform itself but a WordPress plugin that allows merchants to make their WooCommerce stores compatible with the B2B commerce model. The plugin allows businesses to divide customers into certain groups and offer personalized prices to each group; hiding prices and product categories from certain groups of customers; providing discounted prices depending on cart contents and integrating a quotation system, etc.

 

Aside from that, the plugin is well-packed with B2B specific features needed to effectively manage wholesale orders: multi-language support, extended B2B registration, payment & shipping method control, minimum purchase amounts, B2B data reports, REST API support, etc. The WooCommerce B2B plugin is distributed under regular license ($45), and extended license ($125).

 

 

BigCommerce B2B

 

 

This B to B platform currently hosts 90,000+ online stores across 65 countries. It has more than 400 features that allow companies to configure their shops however they want. BigCommerce has simplified item segmentation, can integrate with backend systems, and offers various shipping methods. In terms of security, the platform is ISO/IEC 27001 compliant and is certified as a PCI DSS 3.2 Level 1 Service Provider.

 

For those merchants who want to expand their business internationally, BigCommerce offers an extensive pool of features — from basic ones such as the support of 100+ currencies to more advanced ones like automatic content localization modules and B2B specific payment systems that provide the most relevant payment options for particular regions. 

 

As for the negatives, BigCommerce B2B lacks flexibility and POS integration. In addition, it has only seven free store themes in its catalog (while other platforms offer up to 20).

 

BigCommerce B2B currently has several subscription plans, with the cheapest starting at $29.99 per month.

 

Pepperi

 

 

A cloud-based wholesale platform that offers merchants wide functionality, including configurable dashboards, shipping methods, payment options, price lists, order management, etc. Pepperi can be integrated with the most common ERPs, CRMs, and accounting systems. The platform also has dedicated mobile apps for iOS and Android, allowing merchants to manage merchandise on the go. 

 

Pepperi is ISO 27001 certified and ISAE 3402 compliant. It uses SSL/TLS protocol to establish secure communication between client and server and automatically generates backups to prevent potential data losses. 

 

The platform’s pricing plans start from $500 a month. The vendor does not offer free plans; however, users can sign up for a free trial.

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