At the beginning of the year 2020, Forrester stated that the US B2B companies’ sales will surpass $1.8 trillion by 2023 which is 17% of all B2B sales in the US. Despite the health crisis outbreak in March 2020, the eCommerce industry with the B2B sector as its leader is expected to grow further in 2020. It is one of a few areas of business that is helping economies stay afloat nowadays.
It’s not a surprise, actually. People eschew brick-and-mortar stores and crowded places. According to Coresight Research, 28% of US internet users are already avoiding public areas or travel, whereas 58% plan to proceed the same if the situation worsens. A decline in physical store sales comprising about 85% of US retail sales, moves shopping to digital channels. Such a surge in demand for e-tail would require both B2B and B2C businesses to adapt accordingly by increasing their remote activities using an eCommerce platform.
A hassle-free electronic procurement is going to be a preferred method for B2B entrepreneurs. Acquiring supplies online, they won’t need to contact dozens of suppliers in person, not even talk to them by phone or send a paper document. Online B2B platforms will insure entrepreneurs from physical purchasing. That’s why B2B eCommerce platforms will remain popular in 2020.
This post will guide you through the most popular B2B eCommerce platforms. In case you are planning to launch a B2B online store, this guide will save your time in searching for an appropriate wholesalers’ eCommerce platform. Just pick up the features from the list and choose the most convenient variant fitting your needs.
Key features of an ideal B2B eCommerce platform
An electronic platform meant for the B2B sector must possess a number of mandatory features for the successful automation of online acquisition with companies. Below is the list of essential features, a corporate buyer should check for in the first place while choosing a B2B eCommerce platform:
- Automatic tool for accurate price generation. Any B2B company usually buys in bulk. It’s critical for an online B2B platform to have functionality for computer-aided quantity discount calculation to include many factors like, for example, individual discounts that depend on the customer level. Besides, a B2B company may have various user groups, each having its own specific discounts and privileges defined by the company purchase history. A good eCommerce B2B platform should support these user groups and be able to take into account all possible discounts and privileges in order to produce an accurate price.
- Comfortable bulk ordering. A sign of a well-designed B2B eCommerce software is the availability of the user-friendly interface to allow quick bulk ordering. It is a true nightmare when the acquisition manager adds to cart 100 items of one category, then picks up 250 items of another category and then finally ends up with canceling the order due to the product type mismatch. Navigation should be easy and intuitive to shorten the path to purchase and save the time of business people.
- Ease of price list download. Before making an order, a company rep needs to get permission for the whole list of products and the total amount from his or her management. If the price list downloading functionality is not in place, what is the sense of having such a B2B eCommerce platform?
- Ability to act under one account for many users. A common practice is when different company reps – accountants, marketers, sales reps – need to access the company account keeping their roles in the organization as they are. In this case, the Company owner should be enabled to add more users to his or her organization to allow them to work in one account as different users.
- Ability to close storefront for unauthorized users. Manual hiding the catalog for an unappropriate customer group is not an attribute of a top-ranking B2B eCommerce platform. A business deserves getting a platform with in-built functionality for automatic moderation of new purchasers and protection against competitors’ nefarious activity.
- Powerful API to connect other services. New CRM, ERP, bookkeeping, and analytics systems have the potential of quick enhancement of your business performance. Check if your future B2B eCommerce platform has a powerful API that integrates other third-party business services.
- Simple reordering. Companies often order the same supplies. Why should you make them create one and the same order form instead of offering an ability to quickly reorder the same products in one click?
- Multiple storefronts. The ability to configure storefronts independently is essential for a business-to-business platform. You have different storefronts with specific configuration to sell differently to a company and to an individual buyer.
Capterra Rating: 4.6
CS-Cart B2B&B2C is a self-hosted eCommerce software designed to fit both: the wholesalers’ and customers’ needs. This online platform was first released in 2005. Nowadays, it empowers + 35,000 B2B&B2C eCommerce websites around the world. The main focus of the CS-Cart software is the ease-of-use and prevailing of out-of-box features.
The CS-Cart wholesale eCommerce platform is the first in the list thanks to the availability of the above-mentioned key features right out of the box. Additionally, they offer B2B customers shopping experience which is close to the B2C one: the navigation is user-friendly and intuitive. The CS-Cart engine allows connecting other CRM, ERP, accounting, and analytics solutions to create a high-performing and cohesive B2B ecosystem.
Moreover, CS-Cart B2B&B2C is provided with an unlimited number of extra storefronts allowing their individual set up. A company can open and manage a B2B and a B2C storefront using a single dashboard. Each storefront will work and look different depending on your settings.
CS-Cart is self-hosted meaning that a B2B company will need to apply some technical skills while installing on a server. For an easier onboarding process, the detailed documentation is provided together with installation instructions and server requirements. The main advantage of a self-hosting platform is the full control over your B2B eCommerce store. The CS-Cart B2B platform offers this freedom: you own it and do not rent as in case of a SaaS solution.
According to Capterra, B2B users highly estimate the ease of use and the price-to-quality ratio. They love its clean architecture and open-source code.
However, there’ve been complaints about a tricky upgrade process especially if the store is heavily customized or the server doesn’t meet the requirements. Some users find the default storefront design outdated.
Capterra Rating: 4.3
Magento 2 is the second edition of an open-source eCommerce software that was firstly released in 2007. It has been recognized as one of the most popular eCommerce platforms worldwide. This solution was launched as B2C software and further was adapted for B2B purposes.
Magento is robust and flexible. It allows its customizing, the only limit is your technical skills. The platform was designed to leave a space for its further modification according to specific needs. So you can make your Magento-based B2B store extremely powerful and handy but you will need to hire a tech-savvy team of programmers to customize it first. And that implies extra expenditures.
Magento is ideal for B2B and has all the must-have key features of a perfect B2B platform. It is you who decides whether its free room for technical modification is a pro or a con for your business. Users often complain about the interface complexity and say that Magento requires much time to configure before the release.
Capterra Rating: 4.3
BigCommerce is a SaaS platform. This B2B eCommerce software was released in 2009 and became popular for its hassle-free deployment thanks to its cloud-based nature. BigCommerce is recognized for its powerful API and the hybrid-business features allowing it to sell both to companies and individuals via a single website.
However, the cloud-based nature imposes some restrictions. With a cloud-based solution, a user won’t have full control over the data stored on a cloud and won’t possess much freedom in customization.
BigCommerce provides all the advantages of running a hybrid of B2B and B2C businesses. It offers options to create multiple user groups and specify different privileges. You can subdivide your users into companies and individuals.
BigCommerce lacks multi-storefront features that let it sell to different user groups independently from separate storefronts.
The platform is more user-friendly and less complicated than Magento. Its feature-richness requires learning documentation prior to use. Happily, the online documentation helps newbies to learn the platform basics.
Users say that BigCommerce is a great B2B solution, but only for beginners and small businesses. Some users complain about customer support.
Capterra Rating: 4.7
OROCommerce supports both B2C and B2B models. The platform developers claim that their software can meet the B2X scenarios as well. This complex solution is perfect for large wholesales companies.
OROCommerce is flexible and feature-rich. The list of its B2B features involves the ability to create corporate accounts, assign different roles to users, generate multiple price lists, a powerful API to connect more B2B systems, buyer-specific catalogs, and promotion features.
OROCommerce seamlessly integrates with the in-house CRM system named OROCRM. That allows you to manage the customer contacts and the whole communication workflow. As a B2B store, in-built CRM functionality is a great feature that can be ever provided.
The platform is flexible and complex at the same time. As in the case with Magento, such flexibility adds the need for putting more effort into operating and developing. Users say that mastering OROCommerce would require additional training to get used to it. There are some complaints among developers about the lack of development documentation. The platform’s official website is lacking the prices. In case you need to compare the platform cost with other solutions, you will have to contact the sales dept by phone.
Capterra Rating: 4.4
TradeGecko is a B2B eCommerce platform concentrated on making business-to-business sales simple and automated. The platform is designed for emerging wholesalers, distributors, eCommerce brands, and manufacturers. TradeGecko is a cloud-based solution, which releases the user from technical concerns but leaves less control, too.
TradeGecko provides almost all the key features of a good B2B eCommerce software from our list: easy ordering and reordering, generation of individual and custom prices, ability to hide products and prices from unauthorized users, promotions, and more.
The platform is offered with the embedded analytics and reporting tools that allow you to better understand your internal processes and take the appropriate measures. However, the platform doesn’t have in-built multi-storefront features to support hybrid B2B-B2C models.
The TradeGecko eCommerce B2B solution is highly appreciated with the users for its simplicity and customer support.
This SaaS B2B eCommerce software is sometimes blamed for episodic slowdowns, a need for multiple updates in the backend design, and high monthly payments.
Tastes and requirements differ from one business to another. In this article, we collected the most reviewed B2B&B2C platforms as rated by business owners. Each platform has its advantages and disadvantages, but it is you who decides what is better for your company. All the listed B2B eCommerce solutions are loved with their users, and we mentioned their pros and cons. But while choosing a B2B platform for your business, focus on all-in-one pieces of software where the key B2B-specific features are present out of the box. We work with the CS-Cart B2B&B2C eCommerce platform and know the quality guaranteed by the platform’s original developers.
The Simtech Development Company is certified by the CS-Cart company for compliance with its strict coding rules. We customize the original software according to your business needs, provide Cloud Hosting services, and plugins to finetune the overall functionality of your B2B website on CS-Cart that will work best in your particular case.