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With such a bewildering choice available, choosing the right B2B eCommerce platform for your business can be a headache you don’t need. However, it doesn’t need to be.

We will show you the key criteria any self-respecting B2B eCommerce platform should possess, plus we will then showcase some of the best currently available in 2022. 

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B2B eCommerce Platform Key Selection Criteria

The needs of B2B and B2C businesses differ significantly, meaning the selection criteria for choosing a platform vary also. Unfortunately, no two companies are identical, so there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution.

Use the following list as a guide when choosing a platform for your business. It contains the features that are commonly used by B2B eCommerce businesses.

  • Proprietary Code or Open-Source Software?

Unlike proprietary software, which only the vendor can modify, open-source software can be changed by anyone, allowing for deep customisation with no obligation to involve the vendor.

  • Ability to Scale with Your Business

As your business grows, your B2B eCommerce platform must evolve too. Therefore, it needs to be flexible enough to accommodate future organisational changes and the addition of multiple brands, locations, languages and currencies.

  • Customisation Options

No two businesses are identical, so your platform needs to be customisable to ensure it meets the requirements of yours. Furthermore, a good B2B eCommerce solution allows you to easily add custom functions and features without significantly impacting development time and cost.

  • Robust Pricing Engine

An integrated pricing engine specifically geared towards complex B2B price management allows you to create tiered pricing lists for different customer groups and levels. Furthermore, when combined with automated workflows, it is possible to mechanise your RFQ process, further improving efficiency.

  • Round the Clock Real-Time Support

To avoid disruptions to your business operations, it is preferable if the software vendor provides 24/7 support to answer questions and fix problems the moment they arise.

  • Options for Flexible Deployment

Depending on your maintenance and security needs, a range of deployment options (on-premises, cloud-based, or hybrid) is beneficial as you can switch between models without impacting data control and security.

  • Integral CRM

Integral CRM brings several benefits, including more automation possibilities, increased customer insights, and reduced time and resources needed to integrate an external CRM solution.

  • Automated Workflows

Automating workflows can significantly reduce complexity and increase the efficiency of business processes. For example, you can streamline orders by automatically sending data to the ERP, notifying customers via email, synchronising inventory, managing approvals, etc.

  • Powerful Search Features

Powerful search features not only allow users of your site to find the information they need quickly, but you also get detailed insights into customers’ behaviour. Those insights are valuable for marketing campaigns, procurement and optimisation activities, etc.

  • Multi-Organisation Capability

Multi-organisation capability allows you to handle operations across several countries, currencies, and tax authorities. Furthermore, you can manage multiple businesses, sub-brands, and divisions from a single backend.

  • Customer Hierarchy Management

B2B transactions usually involve multiple buyers and decision-makers in each customer’s organisation. With customer hierarchy management, customers can create accounts reflecting their internal structures. Furthermore, you may also add authorised users, define specific purchase rules for each client, etc.

  • Management of Multiple Warehouses

Many B2B businesses operate several warehouses. A good B2B eCommerce platform will allow unlimited warehouses with centralised, real-time inventory management.

  • Access Controls

For security purposes, B2B businesses need multiple levels of front and backend access to their eCommerce system. Therefore, the system should offer configurable roles and permissions for your employees and customers, granting them access only to the information they need.

  • No Vendor Lock-In

Some vendors use lock-ins to prevent third-party software from being added to their systems, thereby reducing the flexibility of their platform. Therefore, it is advisable to look for a solution that has no vendor lock-in so that you can use third-party add-ons and customise the software more easily.

  • Open REST APIs

REST APIs make it easy to integrate systems and collect data about items, orders, and inventories. Businesses that use an eCommerce platform that supports Open RESTful APIs can link to and transfer data between critical systems, e.g. CRM, PIM, ERP, etc.

The Best B2B eCommerce Platforms Available Right Now

Now you know which features to look for in a B2B eCommerce platform, we’ll show you some of the best available in 2022.

Please note that this list is not in any order of preference, and the platform you opt for will depend on the needs of your business.

OroCommerce

OroCommerce is an open-source, modular platform designed for B2B. It is built by the same team responsible for the original Magento. Personalisation, localisation, smart pricing engine, workflow automation, and OroCRM are just a few features it includes.

Magento (Adobe Commerce)

Magento is a cloud-based, open-source platform founded in 2008 by Oro co-founders Yoav Kutner and Roy Rubin. It is now owned by Adobe and forms part of their Experience Cloud suite. Initially, Magento concentrated on B2C eCommerce, but add-ons and extensions catering to B2B are also now available.

Unilog

Unilog produces a B2B eCommerce platform with an integrated PIM system. It is well suited to medium-sized distributors, manufacturers, and wholesalers. However, as the platform is only available as a SaaS, it is only suitable for use on cloud platforms like Google Cloud or Microsoft Azure.

Optimizely (Episerver)

Episerver began by offering content management system (CMS) technology. However, it expanded to include B2B following its acquisition of Insite. The company since bought the digital experience management company, Optimizely, and rebranded all its products under that banner. Optimizely’s solutions are primarily aimed at enterprise-grade B2C brands, although they can be adapted for B2B.

SAP Hybris

SAP affiliate Hybris sells omnichannel and content management software. Its software is built for enterprise-level enterprises with complex B2C, B2B, or B2B2C use cases, which often result in high total ownership costs. Search and merchandising, order administration, and online content management are just some of Hybris’ core functions.

Salesforce

Salesforce began by offering a cloud-based CRM system but has since evolved to cover marketing, sales, and eCommerce software. Although Salesforce provides a wide range of eCommerce options (e.g. an online shop and mobile-first POS transactions), many are costly add-ons to other Salesforce products.

Intershop

Intershop is a cloud-first B2B software solution, offering a one-stop-shop for order administration, product information and customer experience management. As well as software, Intershop also provides consulting and training services.

Shopware

Shopware primarily offers omnichannel cloud eCommerce solutions for B2C eCommerce mostly favoured by smaller enterprises. However, it also provides B2B extensions and add-ons, plus the software is available with open-source or commercial licences.

Oracle Commerce

Oracle Commerce is a comprehensive eCommerce software solution for major B2C and B2B businesses of all types. However, not being open source means this software can be complex and costly to customise. 

Conclusion

Choosing a B2B eCommerce platform is no easy task given that there are so many available, and the features included differ significantly from those of B2C solutions.

However, by using the list of key selection criteria we have provided above, the task will be made much easier, and you will soon be up and running with a platform that will help your eCommerce business reach its full potential.

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