E-commerce is gradually displacing more traditional means of doing business-to-business (B2B) transactions, with an increasing number of large firms joining the trend.
You must choose the most suitable B2B e-commerce software for your B2B business to provide relevant products and services to your clients while customizing their brand experience.
Some critical features of a B2B e-commerce platform
Although the e-commerce systems under consideration are somewhat different, they have several characteristics. This article will look at some of the most critical attributes of B2B e-commerce software and platforms.
There are alternatives to password protection.
We cannot dispute that operating a B2B e-commerce business is more challenging than running a B2C e-commerce business. Due to the complexity and limits inherent in selling to other companies, you must customize your e-commerce platform to give customized buyer experiences to each user.
Using your preferred e-commerce platform, you should be able to restrict or disable access to specific portions of your site based on your needs.
Along with the items listed below, you should consider the following:
- Maintain a veil of secrecy over your wholesale rates for business-to-consumer clients.
- Eliminate any apparent indications of the prices (for various reasons).
- Because your B2B website is hidden, it will be inaccessible to non-registered visitors.
- Understand the experience of your B2B buyers and the range of clients and products when determining how to utilize these choices. After deciding that your B2B e-commerce software can make these decisions, you should have no difficulty growing your product offerings in the future.
Pricing, payment methods, and purchasing options can all be entirely modified
There are various moving parts to consider when it comes to business-to-business companies.
Customer relationship management systems, fulfillment centers, and punchout catalogs must operate in unison to provide comprehensive order management and customization solutions.
You must ensure that your business-to-business e-commerce platform delivers a consistent solution for your clients’ transactional needs.
Disorganization, misunderstandings, and challenges with inventory management and order fulfillment might occur when many instruments are used in isolation.This is critical for hybrid businesses that sell to both consumers and wholesalers, as channel conflict and management are critical to the success of both segments of your firm.
Another alternative is to provide a range of delivery options to your most dedicated clients based on their tier, location, or other variables.Consider the B2B functions you may require before integrating an e-commerce platform into your store’s operations.
The user/customer experience takes precedence over all other components.
Clients’ experience when they visit an e-commerce website is one of the most critical parts of its design.Branding, user experience, and user interface (UX/UI) are critical components in connecting with and engaging business-to-business clients. You may make product videos for your e-commerce store in various methods, many of which are automated. Videos are more visually appealing than text, and increasing the number of creatives you use will undoubtedly increase conversions.
When it comes to B2B businesses looking to build a more personalized user interface and user experience, the optimal plan is to pick a platform that offers all of the customization options you’ll need today and in the future.
To construct an online store that meets your requirements, look for a system that enables you to create an online store that has the following features:
- A straightforward collection of templates that are simple to use.
- It’s simple to customize and brand.
- It performs admirably across a wide variety of devices.
- Lead collection forms, customization plugins, and incentive programs may all be integrated into the platform’s design.
When selecting an e-commerce system for B2B transactions, there are various elements to comprehend. Apart from the customer-facing aspects stated above, it would help if you considered the impact of your B2B e-commerce platform on your business’s entire operations.
In other words, we are implying something in two ways.
The process of utilizing a platform and software.
To begin, the success of your team’s use of the platform you’ve chosen is contingent upon a few critical elements, which include the following:
- The graphical user interface (GUI) of the platform (GUI).
- This is the level of experience and understanding required to operate the system entirely.
- Strengths, knowledge, and resources of your team
Finally, each platform provides a unique user experience.
The majority of platforms and business-to-business e-commerce technologies are not for widespread usage; they are not for general use. As a result, it is vital to choose the platform that your staff will use the most, rather than the “best.”
Naturally, your decision to use a B2B e-commerce platform will have a significant impact on your business’s entire operations.
In this instance, the first thing you should do is respond to the following question:
Is an e-commerce website a must-have?
What is your long-term objective in terms of client acquisition? You want to strengthen your relationship with your present consumers, correct? Is a mingling of the two possible? What more can I do to assist you?
Bear these principles in mind when you choose a platform to assist you in achieving your objectives, whatever they may be. Using the time machine, you can glimpse the future for the next 2, 5, and 10 years.
Which tools do you anticipate using in the future?
The e-commerce platform you’re considering should be able to meet your business’s present and future demands.
The platform’s price structure
We mean the monetary commitment (which is critical) and the time and effort involved in designing, operating, and maintaining the website in question.
There is a significant difference between SaaS platforms such as BigCommerce and on-premise platforms such as Magento.
While on-premise systems are highly customizable, the installation’s complexity needs the participation of full-time developers.
Apart from the additional costs associated with security and compliance, an on-premise solution is also more costly.
Developing a completely functional e-commerce site will need a significant amount of time and effort on the side of your team, especially if you select a platform that requires considerable custom development.
There is a great deal to be said about the ease of online shopping. Businesses gain from having an easy-to-manage platform that enables them to make changes to their website quickly and efficiently.
Evaluating and comparing B2B e-commerce platforms
Here are a few of the best B2B e-commerce platforms to help you in determining which one is the best fit for your business’s needs.
OpenCart is a well-known B2B e-commerce platform. The firm’s open-source e-commerce platform provides extensive SEO capabilities, store management, and the ability to add as many extensions and themes as desired.
Recently, it was reported that OpenCart’s business-to-business capabilities would be expanded with the addition of a new extension branded “OpenCart B2B marketplace.”
Wholesale selling may be accomplished by using a B2B multi-channel platform that enables businesses to access marketplaces such as those offered by Alibaba. This service is convenient since it allows you to simultaneously update and import several items. Additionally, it is feasible to segment clients into various customer groups and assign varying group degrees of access. As a result, offering paid courses, and eLearning is relatively straightforward.
Here are a few examples:
- Unmatched free assistance.
- There are several add-ons and themes available.
- Systems of retail management that are incredibly efficient
- The open-source code includes search engine optimization.
- The establishment of user groups is a vital step.
- Templates for emails that may be used to transmit messages
- The capacity to purchase and sell massive amounts of stuff
- Bulk uploading and exporting of files
- Subdomains are created when a domain name is registered.
- Questions raised and responses received
- Keeping track of the money spent
- Customers can choose from a variety of delivery alternatives.
- B2B customers may benefit from a complete order management dashboard.
While OpenCart is free to use, Webkul’s B2B marketplace plugin requires $299.
Suite-commerce, a NetSuite product
Suite-commerce is dedicated to enhancing the business-to-business (B2B) experience for suppliers and customers.
Suite-commerce is the most incredible option for businesses that operate across many channels, particularly those with physical shops.
Suite-commerce enables businesses to provide a more personalized service to their customers across the board by allowing them to interact with the firm via various channels.
The platform’s short onboarding process and intuitive user interface make it an excellent choice for teams with little or no e-commerce expertise. Suite-commerce’s scalability is another advantage. If the popularity of your e-commerce website increases, it has the potential to become even more profitable.
OroCommerce is a business-to-business e-commerce platform created exclusively for B2B firms. If you’re seeking a way to increase your company’s sales, OroCommerce can assist you. This cutting-edge software platform is the first of its kind in the industry to include an online ordering platform.
OroCommerce comes packaged with a customer relationship management (CRM) solution that assists business owners in organizing sales funnels and forecasting future sales and marketing results. Additionally, having a single platform that serves both B2B and B2C consumers has several advantages.
OroCommerce may be used to create self-service portals, quote-to-order solutions for B2B firms, and a variety of other features. Additionally, you benefit from an open-source platform and a robust community for help.
The companies on this list show that OroCommerce B2B is used by large and medium-sized distributors and manufacturers worldwide.
Here are a few examples:
- Business-to-business (B2B), business-to-consumer (B2C), business-to-business (B2B2C), and several additional transaction types are supported.
- Back-end system design, development, and management
- CRM is an acronym for Integrated Customer Relationship Management.
- The program has SEO tools that may be used to improve your website’s search engine ranking.
- Reports on sales and marketing are available.
- Access control is accomplished by using an open-source platform with roles and permissions.
- Native workflows for RFQ, CPQ, and QTC Engine are provided.
- Numerous websites, groups, and the opportunity to communicate in different languages are available.
- Adjustable pricing levels and pricing list API access to the extensions market, which includes extensive capabilities for corporate resource planning and e-commerce integration.
- It has the potential to grow significantly more extensively in the future.
- A highly adaptable structure
- Enterprise clients are entitled to complimentary 24-hour support.
Pricing: There are two editions of OroCommerce: Community and Enterprise. Anyone interested in testing this version for free can do so by clicking on the link provided above. To find out more about the Enterprise Edition’s pricing, please get in touch with the OroCommerce team.
Enterprises may use the IBM Digital Commerce solution to offer online products and services.
Several other B2B e-commerce platforms are available, apart from IBM Digital Commerce.
Small businesses may provide customized service to individual clients by streamlining operations via contracts and payment agreements, among other types of digital documentation.
The platform automates and streamlines these papers’ real-time processing and filing, ensuring that all agreements are adequately recorded. Additionally, you and your team may use Digital Commerce to build an information library about your firm and the industry in which you work. Customers and employees alike will profit from this feature since they will be able to obtain information at any time.
After evaluating the finest B2B e-commerce platform solutions, it’s time to reduce your alternatives further. It’s ok if you have analytical paralysis. Always keep in mind that this is not a trivial option. To assist you in determining which platform is best for your business, we’ve posed the following three questions:
- What can we do with the aid of an e-commerce platform?
- What business objectives do we want to use as an e-commerce platform shortly?
- What will these goals look like three years from now?
To select the most acceptable B2B e-commerce solution, you should answer these questions.