B2B eCommerce will reach $1.8 trillion in the US by 2023. It will be growing by 10% annually over the next five years. And here’s why: modern young entrepreneurs strive to purchase products for their companies hassle-free just like they shop online for themselves. B2B eCommerce stores can liberate entrepreneurs from the old-fashioned purchasing routine: no more endless calls, supplier meetings, and tons of papers.
If you think it’s time to expand your eCommerce business to the B2B segment, you are absolutely right. And the first step towards establishing a profitable B2B eCommerce website is to choose a software platform for it. In this article, we’d like to introduce 5 most functional B2B eCommerce solutions. Choose wisely.
What are Essential Features of a Proper B2B eCommerce Software?
B2B eCommerce has special requirements for online store functionality. While all the usual B2C features will work just fine for B2B, they won’t be enough. Your website will need B2B-specific functions to automate the purchasing process for companies. Make sure the solution has these features at least:
- Versatile price list management. Before ordering, a manager needs to obtain approval for the list of products and prices from the supervisor. So, the manager should be able to quickly download the price list with current prices.
- Hybrid eCommerce. If you’re going to sell both to companies and individuals, the multi-store feature is a must for your online store. You should be able to configure your storefronts independently as if you run several different stores.
- In-bulk product ordering. A true B2B eCommerce software should offer a convenient interface for ordering products in bulk. If a store doesn’t offer a convenient interface for this, a customer will spend hours just to fill the cart. Not good at all.
- Powerful API. Modern CRM, ERP, accounting, and analytics services can greatly improve your business performance. Make sure your future B2B eCommerce script has a powerful API and integrates with third-party business services.
- Customer tiers (levels). Companies usually buy a big number of products at once, and they buy regularly. It’s important to offer your purchasers quantity discounts and individual discounts based on their levels (tiers). The B2B eCommerce script should support user groups with different discounts and privileges and discounts that depend on how much a purchaser has already spent in your store.
- Closed storefront for unauthorized users. You should be able to hide the catalog from prying eyes and check every registered purchaser manually. This will protect you from the nefarious activities of your competitors and enhance the moderation of new purchasers
- Multiple users in one customer account. Normally, the purchasing process in companies involves more than one person. You need a feature that allows uniting users in organizations. This way, the owner of the organization could add more users to the organization in the store: managers, marketers, accountants. And they all could work in one account as different users.
- Easy reordering. What if a company buys consumables from you on a regular basis? Don’t make them form the order every time they shop on your eCommerce site. The company should be able to reorder the same products with the same number of items in just one click.
- Convenient order placement. Some entrepreneurs are just not used to purchasing products for their companies through the webshop interface. They usually call and order via phone. In such cases, your manager creates an order in the admin panel. And it’s important that he or she can do it quickly talking to the customer on the phone.
1. CS-Cart B2B & B2C
CS-Cart B2B and B2C focuses on feature richness and simplicity. It offers over 500 built-in B2B and B2C functions including the multi-store feature. The platform powers over 35,000 eCommerce websites worldwide.
CS-Cart solutions are known for their feature richness. The solution includes all the features from the above list, plus more B2C-specific functions. You can integrate CS-Cart with any CRM, ERP, analytics, and other business applications thanks to a powerful API.
This platform allows you to run a hybrid B2B and B2C business on the same website but on separate storefronts. The multi-store functionality allows for creating an unlimited number of storefronts that you can configure independently.
CS-Cart B2B & B2C is a self-hosted solution. You need to download the installation package and install the software on your server. This means you will have full access to to the functionality and the code (CS-Cart has open source code and you can modify it).
Good: The ease of use and a great price/functionality ratio. Users love CS-Cart’s clean architecture and open source code. You pay a one-time fee and the license is yours forever.
Bad: The default storefront design is outdated. Sometimes users face problems upgrading the platform if the store is heavily modified or the server is not configured right.
Rating on Capterra: 4.6 out of 5
OROCommerce is a great wholesale eCommerce platform for starting B2C, B2B, and B2X online businesses. It’s a great choice for big wholesalers, manufacturers, and distributors.
OROCommerce is an extremely flexible B2B eCommerce solution. It has all the essential B2B features including corporate accounts, user roles, multiple price lists, a good API for integrating with business systems, a robust promotion system, buyer-specific catalogs and prices.
OROCommerce natively integrates with their own CRM system OROCRM that allows you to organize the customer contacts and arrange the customer interaction workflow. You’ll definitely need a CRM in your B2B store, so this feature will save your time and money.
Good: Flexibility, great set of B2B functions, and hybrid business support.
Bad: Users say that the platform has a long learning curve and developers complain about the lack of documentation.
Rating on Capterra: 4.7 out of 5
TradeGecko focuses on simplicity and automation of the business-to-business sales. Its users are high-growth wholesalers, distributors, brands, and manufacturers. The solution is provided on a SaaS basis with regular payments.
TradeGecko supports all essential B2B functions from the above feature list: individual prices, custom price lists, the ability to hide products and prices from unauthorized users, easy ordering and reordering, warehouses, promotions, and more. Plus, it has built-in reporting and analytics tools that allow you to better understand your processes and adjust them when necessary. These built-in systems will save your time and money on extra integrations. The only thing that seems to be not included is a fully-functional multi-store feature for hybrid business models.
Good: Most of the users are satisfied with TradeGecko and love the ease of use and excellent customer support.
Bad: There are complaints about episodic performance drops, lack of features, frequent changes of the backend layout, and relatively high monthly payments.
Rating on Capterra: 4.4 out of 5
With Contalog, you can easily adapt your B2B and B2C businesses to web and mobile channels. The solution has a lot of B2B features including centralized inventory, order and product information management across multiple channels, and other tools to effectively sell to businesses.
This B2B ecommerce software allows you to add products manually, upload from a spreadsheet or import from your existing shopping site. You cannot input by serial number or scan the barcodes.
Contalog B2B eCommerce platform is a cloud-based solution—you can easily deploy a fully-working store and access it from any computer or mobile device. Of course, you need to pay for it monthly. There are several plans to choose from, each one with a different price. The most basic plan is free and is suited for small businesses that only have 100 orders per month.
Contalog B2B ecommerce software integrates with your eCommerce platform so your inventory can be updated automatically as customers buy from you. You can also receive low-inventory notifications from this software.
Good: Easy to use, a very short learning curve. Has everything a small and medium-sized business needs. Users also appreciate the support service.
Bad: Even thought Contalog has great support and it is easy to use, some users need more time to get used to its interface. The price is another concern.
Rating on Capterra: 4.7 out of 5
Pepperi is a B2B sales platform for large businesses and enterprises. It is a SaaS B2B eCommerce system. As we mentioned above, SaaS eCommerce website is always easier to deploy and support but it is never under your full control.
Pepperi is an omni-channel B2B solution that easily integrates with CRM and ERP systems through API. It has lots of built-in features to offer B2C-like experience for B2B buyers: great catalog design, convenient payment and shipping methods, client levels, price list management, notifications, and more.
Pepperi offers native mobile apps for Android and iOS with offline data support (you can manage the catalog when there’s no Internet connection).
Good: Great set of features and ease of use. Users love Pepperi’s web and mobile interfaces.
Bad: Users are satisfied with Pepperi in general, but some report terrible customer support that is not available on Friday and Saturday and laggy interface (beautiful though).
Rating on Capterra: 4.4 out of 5
Now you have a shortlist of the top 5 B2B eCommerce software: try each one’s demo and choose the platform that fits your business goals. Just start with CS-Cart B2B & B2C and go down the list.
And remember: there’s no perfect software for your business. You’ll need to adapt any solution to your business processes. So, make sure the platform is customizable and scalable.