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The Best B2B eCommerce Platforms for 2021 And Their Features

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2020 was a year of eCommerce: lockdowns forced customers online, and new buying patterns emerged. The world moved to remote work as in-person gatherings, travel, and event attendance were wiped out.

The B2B eCommerce market expects to continue its double-digit growth and reach $20.9 trillion US in size by 2027. It’s not hard to see why: Increased internet, mobile usage, and growing demands of B2B buyers all accelerate B2B eCommerce adoption. B2B businesses, too, are increasingly looking for new partnerships, customers, and markets.

Why do businesses need B2B eCommerce software?

Like consumers, business buyers have little desire to shop on slow sites, use outdated interfaces, or call support for product availability and order statuses. The pandemic changed many aspects of buyer behavior and how businesses approach online selling.

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One of the main reasons why businesses turn to B2B eCommerce is to increase reach. B2B brands seek to explore D2C without affecting existing distributor relationships, and B2C brands move into B2B to capture a greater market size. Some B2B brands are moving to B2B2C arrangements to understand their end-users better. Brands of all shapes and sizes are eager to capture additional revenue streams of this massive B2B eCommerce pie, and the right software helps them get there.

What features do you need in B2B eCommerce software?

A B2B eCommerce platform is not just a selling platform – it touches on many business aspects, including customer experience, employee productivity, and relationship building with suppliers. There are also standard software elements to consider, such as implementation, cost, flexibility, and the ability to handle high traffic volumes.

B2B-specific features

While there are some similarities in how B2B and B2C customers purchase, their requirements are vastly different. B2B eCommerce software relies on features that just cannot be found in B2C eCommerce systems. At the very least, a B2B eCommerce platform must support millions of SKUs, hundreds of back-office staff, and complicated pricing, quoting, and checkout workflows.

Integrations

Gartner claims that by 2022, over 30 integrated applications will power B2B eCommerce experiences. Thus, today’s B2B eCommerce solution must integrate with the CRM, ERP, PIM, EDI, WHM, punchout catalog, and an alphabet soup of other systems.

Scalability

Businesses don’t want to choose a platform only to deal with re-platforming five years down the road. A platform’s robustness, extendibility, and customization potential are just as important as the platform itself. Its ability to scale as you grow is a must and should be a crucial factor in your software selection.

Self-service

Your B2B eCommerce system must have an online ordering and quick order system, the ability to track invoices, orders, and shipping status, and more. Look for self-service capabilities that allow B2B customers to perform desired account interactions without staff input.

Products

At the very least, your eCommerce system must allow brands to offer extensive product descriptions, pricing, and real-time availability. Look for the ability to host additional multimedia, specifications, or integrations with product information management systems.

Payments

Every business has unique payment requirements. Some prefer paying by wire transfer or perform recurring payments. Accounting departments often mandate invoicing requirements such as Net 30 or Net 90. Look for a system that works for all your customers.

Permissions

Business purchases involve many decision-makers presiding over long buying cycles. Your system must accommodate numerous corporate structures and access roles, including access permissions for quoting, ordering, and payments.

Pricing

Businesses usually demand unique discounts, operate with narrow pricing requirements, and place bulk orders. Like access roles, B2B customers typically want to see specific pricing appropriate for their business or department.

Omnichannel

Customers are switching channels at a moment’s notice and expect to get excellent service. They are also willing to shop online and pick up in-store. With integrations and increased data visibility, omnichannel experiences become possible.

What are the great 2021 B2B eCommerce platforms?

OroCommerce

OroCommerce is a B2B eCommerce platform explicitly developed for B2B businesses. With an extensive list of native B2B features, it’s ideal for B2B manufacturers, distributors, and brands selling to businesses. OroCommerce is built by Oro, whose founders also started Magento and implemented many technologies and principles Magento is known for. OroCommerce comes built-in with a CRM and offers multichannel B2B, B2B2C, and D2C capabilities. It also boasts an extensive integrations list and a community of partners, integrators, and developers.

https://oroinc.com/b2b-ecommerce/

HCL Commerce

HCL Commerce offers solid multichannel, headless, hybrid, and classic cloud solutions for enterprises. It gives brands strong multichannel capabilities and content management systems. Initially developed by IBM, their systems support a wide variety of enterprises in numerous verticals.

https://www.hcltechsw.com/products/commerce

Netsuite SuiteCommerce

NetSuite is Oracle’s offering in the B2B eCommerce sphere, built around its ERP, CRM, and POS systems. It also supports multichannel B2B, B2C, and D2C businesses and webstores with multi-site and multi-language options. Netsuite’s eCommerce system powers many B2B enterprises and consumer retailers.

https://www.netsuite.com/portal/products/ecommerce/advantage.shtml

Salesforce CommerceCloud

Salesforce boasts an impressive cloud B2B eCommerce solution called the CommerceCloud. The system is modular and divides into Marketing Cloud and Sales Cloud, which integrates smoothly into their CRM system. It offers extensive personalization options and integrated workflows that appeal to many B2Bs.

https://www.salesforce.com/products/commerce-cloud/overview/

SAP Commerce Cloud

Formerly known as SAP Hybris, SAP Commerce Cloud is ideal for businesses on the SAP ecosystem, including their sales, marketing, CRM, and other business solutions. SAP is well-known for its content management, personalization, customization, and flexible deployment options. As a result, it’s used by B2B sellers in various verticals.

https://www.sap.com/products/crm/e-commerce-platforms.html

Adobe Magento

Magento is one of the market leaders in B2C eCommerce, often battling for the top spot with Shopify. It primarily operates in the B2C arenas but offers many B2B add-ons. This platform is open-source, robust, and flexible, with many extensions, and is a good choice for B2C-focused sellers operating in small B2B markets.

https://magento.com/

Conclusion

The past year has demonstrated that 2021 will be a truly defining year for B2B eCommerce. B2B brands are working hard to protect their business and target the vast market populated by other large, medium, and small businesses. But, B2B eCommerce platforms don’t sit still and actively expand their product offering and capabilities.

Choosing the right B2B eCommerce solution is a complicated process. Making the right platform decision demands extensive research and careful consideration of your market, budget, capabilities, and unique customer requirements.