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Comparing the 6 Top-Rated B2B eCommerce Platforms in 2023

How We’re Comparing the Top-Rated B2B eCommerce Platforms

Choosing the right B2B eCommerce platform requires a careful analysis of your business needs in terms of functionalities, integrations, and budget. 

In this post, we help you compare top-rated B2B eCommerce platforms by: 

  • Discussing the core B2B categories and considerations for B2B business owners.
  • Identifying the best practices to consider before choosing a platform (and explaining the risks of choosing the wrong solution).
  • Reviewing six of the most popular eCommerce platforms for B2B businesses, including:

             1. Magento Open Source
             2. Adobe Commerce
             3. BigCommerce
             4. Shopify Plus
             5. SAP Commerce Cloud (formerly SAP hybris)
             6. Salesforce B2B Commerce Cloud

Best B2B eCommerce Platforms: 6 Popular Solutions 

After working extensively with dozens of eCommerce businesses, we’ve narrowed down the six best eCommerce platforms on the market. We’ll review each of these tools, looking at their customization, hosting, security, internationalization, and budget. We will also highlight some key features and differentiators of each platform.

1. Magento Open Source

magento open source

Magento Open Source is the free version of Adobe’s commerce platforms. It’s a robust platform with a vast range of eCommerce features, making it suitable for eCommerce businesses that demand extensive customizability and prefer to avoid ongoing licensing and revenue-linked fees. 

Magento Open Source has been on the eCommerce market since 2008. It has a global community of developers who have built a marketplace of extensions and tools to help other developers working with the Magento Open Source platform. 

Some of the key features Magento Open Source provides include: 

  • A great feature set including catalog management, integrated checkout and payment, instant purchase, global selling, and drag and drop page builder. 
  • A wide range of customizable templates and design options, enabling businesses to create visually appealing eCommerce websites. 
  • Ready-to-use integrations and integrated shipping APIs. 

While the platform is free, it requires an experienced Magento developer to build out the site, add custom modules and integrations, implement updates, and maintain the site. If you don’t have an in-house developer or the resources to hire an agency, this option is not your best fit. 

Read more: How to Choose a Dedicated Magento Developer | Best Practices


2. Adobe Commerce

adobe-commerce-logo-png

The Adobe Commerce platform — the “upgraded” version of Magento — includes the same unlimited customization options and scalability as that platform. It also includes the latest and greatest platform functionality and core code support from Adobe. This platform is a versatile, all-in-one B2B eCommerce platform that allows you to build and manage advanced, complex eCommerce stores efficiently. 

Note: Adobe offers Adobe Commerce and Adobe Commerce Cloud — the difference between the two is that Adobe Commerce Cloud includes cloud hosting. 

Here are a few key features that make Adobe Commerce worth considering:

  • Currency support for over 200 countries, including automatic tax calculation for transactions in the EU.
  • A vast suite of capabilities, including multiple stores via unique admin panels, easy-to-build reward and loyalty programs, reusable and dynamic blocks for custom page building, and more. 
  • It offers extensive integration opportunities with other Adobe products, such as Adobe Experience Manager, Adobe Business Intelligence, and Adobe Sensei.

Overall, Adobe Commerce is built for eCommerce businesses that need robust B2B features, scalability, and peace of mind with Adobe’s support. It’s important to understand that even with Adobe’s support, your site will still need development work that will require your business to partner with an experienced Adobe Commerce agency to manage your custom code. 

Read more: Adobe Commerce Agency: IronPlane’s Process, Projects, and Results


3. BigCommerce

bigcommerce logo

BigCommerce is a popular SaaS-based eCommerce platform that offers a B2B version at the enterprise license level. This platform offers similar functionality to the Adobe platforms described above, but with limited multi-site and international capabilities and substantially fewer customization opportunities. The primary advantages of BigCommerce are its robust native functionality, its high degree of usability, and its flexibility for integrations. 

Some stand-out features on BigCommerce’s platform include: 

  • The B2B edition offers functionality features including price lists and customer groups, corporate account management, restricted log-in, invoice portals, sales rep-supported purchasing, shared shopping lists, quick reorder, and client payment method control.
  • Strong native SEO capabilities and pre-built integrations to support organic growth, drive users to your eCommerce website, and market your business.
  • BigCommerce takes an open-SaaS approach which allows for greater access to API connections compared to other SaaS providers such as Shopify, helping you integrate with your existing or chosen third-party platforms. 

Read more: BigCommerce vs Magento: Which Is Right for Your Business?

4. Shopify Plus

shopify-plus-vector-logo

Shopify Plus is another SaaS-based eCommerce solution designed to support enterprise businesses. It comes with an easy-to-use website builder and native flow software so you can automate repetitive and high-performing workflows. Shopify Plus is a great B2B platform for stores that are looking to build out their site quickly and don’t require a lot of customization — but if you need more flexibility regarding product variations, integrations, multilingualism, and multi-store support, this might not be the best option for you. 

A few important notes on Shopify Plus

  • It features a powerful point-of-sale (POS) software with unified analytics, inventory management, and staff management capabilities, allowing eCommerce business owners to create smooth omnichannel processes and complete orders efficiently. 
  • It provides detailed reporting and analytics on sales, products, cash flow, inventory, and finance. 
  • It offers B2B features such as flexible payment options, order management, re-ordering, custom pricing, tiered pricing options, catalogs for individuals and customer groups, and integrations with ERP, CRM, and OMS. 

5. SAP Commerce Cloud (formerly SAP hybris)

meta-sap-commerce-cloud_1d7c0a086ec922a4f11c61b256f9b311

SAP Commerce Cloud is the eCommerce engine for the enterprise-grade offerings from SAP. After acquiring hybris in 2013 to be its primary eCommerce platform, SAP rebranded it as SAP Commerce Cloud. It’s one of the more complicated eCommerce solutions and is mostly recommended for enterprise organizations that demand a highly custom solution for the online business and have extensive internal developer resources for ongoing management and maintenance of the platform.  

SAP Commerce Cloud can integrate with various other SAP components to offer a comprehensive omnichannel eCommerce solution including sales, marketing, and customer service. With its heavy focus on sales and customer-centric features, SAP Commerce Cloud is well-suited for large B2B brands looking to run huge marketplaces, sell across multiple channels, attract new customers, and drive sales. 

Here are some key features that SAP Commerce Cloud offers: 

  • With the SAP open-source Spartacus frontend, Commerce Cloud offers a headless option out of the box, allowing for custom frontend development and greater flexibility without impacting the core commerce functionality.
  • SAP Commerce Cloud allows for extensive customization to meet specific business needs for even the most complex catalogs, products, and operational configurations, including powerful and comprehensive B2B commerce capabilities out of the box.
  • SAP Commerce Cloud comes with a fully embedded product information management tool, PIM, for efficient product data management.

6. Salesforce B2B Commerce Cloud

salesforce commerce cloud

Salesforce B2B Commerce is an enterprise B2B eCommerce platform that provides ready-to-use services for business buyers such as distributors, manufacturers, and dealers across different verticals. Similar to SAP Commerce Cloud, which was previously hybris, Salesforce Commerce Cloud was previously Demandware. One of the key differentiators for Salesforce Commerce Cloud is that it is built as the commerce arm of the industry-leading sales enablement and CRM technology platform, Salesforce. 

The range of features and B2B capabilities that Salesforce B2B Commerce offers is extensive. It’s a solid platform for businesses that have large cart sizes, process large volume orders, and want to maintain a high-quality customer shopping experience for their users. 

Salesforce B2B Commerce provides some out-of-the-box features such as: 

  • “Salesforce Einstein”, a proprietary AI model built by Salesforce. The AI tool delivers tailored product sorting, personalized product recommendations, and intelligent search results at every touchpoint. This helps eCommerce businesses deliver tailored shopping experiences for end-users.
  • B2B buying and selling capabilities with approval workflows, contract management, and integrated EDI.
  • Seamless integration with mobile and offline stores, enabling strong omnichannel operations. 

Feature Comparison

  • Platform
  • Customization
  • Hosting
  • Security
  • Internationalization
  • Budget
  • Magento Open Source
  • Custom frontend and backend elements
  • User’s choice of provider
  • Regular updates via Adobe
  • Multi-language, currency, and inventory source support
  • Free (of license fees)
  • Adobe Commerce
  • Fully custom themes, modules, and integrations
  • User’s choice of provider or Adobe Commerce Cloud
  • Regular updates via Adobe and Fastly CDN
  • Multi-language, currency, and inventory source support
  • Monthly license fee, custom pricing
  • BigCommerce
  • Out-of-the-box functionality - product catalogs, purchase orders, user roles
  • Native hosting through BigCommerce
  • PCI DSS compliant
  • Transactions in more than 100 currencies
  • B2B plans start at around $2,000/month
  • Shopify Plus
  • Customizable templates
  • Native hosting through Shopify
  • PCI DSS Compliant
  • Third-party apps required
  • Starts at $29/month
  • SAP Commerce Cloud
  • Unlimited customization to the site code and integration
  • SAP Commerce Cloud in the Public Cloud, SAP Commerce,SAP Commerce Cloud on SAP Infrastructure
  • PCI DSS compliant provider with SAP LDAP encryption
  • Multi-site capabilities with support for different languages, currencies, and localization
  • Custom pricing
  • Salesforce B2B Commerce Cloud
  • Flexible headless solution with scalable APIs
  • Native hosting through Salesforce
  • PCI compliant
  • Extensive internationalization and localization
  • Pricing based on a percentage of GMV sold through the platform

 

 

Criteria for B2B eCommerce Platform Comparison

When comparing B2B eCommerce platforms, the first step is to select the right criteria. Check out this quick list of B2B eCommerce functionalities and considerations to make sure you choose the platform that works best for your business.  

1. Customization and Flexibility

One of the key considerations when comparing B2B eCommerce platforms is flexibility. If you want the freedom to make extensive customizations to your site, it’s important to factor in B2B platform agility. 

For instance, can you customize the online product catalog based on user interaction? Or can you create customized pricing and billing options for different user groups? Can you implement multiple sites for different customer groups or for international clients? A fully customizable B2B eCommerce solution lets you build out custom modules and integrations to better support buying experiences and backend operations.

2. Hosting

Some B2B eCommerce platform solutions include cloud hosting (like Adobe Commerce Cloud or SaaS eCommerce engines like Shopify), while others let you choose your ideal hosting provider. Self-hosted options such as Magento Open Source offer more personalized flexibility for unique infrastructure needs. 

For example, consider companies that conduct business in the EU: while the most popular SaaS platforms satisfy the broad GDPR requirements, there may be industry- or product-specific requirements for privacy and security that only a customized hosting environment can provide. 

3. Resource Requirements

Each B2B eCommerce platform requires varying levels of developer knowledge to build and maintain. Assess whether your in-house team can build out your online storefront and keep up with the latest updates of your eCommerce platform. 

4. B2B eCommerce Features and Functionality

The right B2B eCommerce platform should have all the essential features you need to best represent your business offerings and support your customers’ buying journey. 

These may include (but are not limited to): 

  • Multi-site capability
  • Fully dynamic open RESTful API
  • Contract pricing and catalog management
  • Bulk ordering
  • Omnichannel experience
  • Integrated CRM/ERP
  • Quote management
  • International business support
  • Digital payment options
  • Product information management (PIM)

5. Scalability

You should also consider your plans for future growth, as some platforms will offer greater scalability over time. Setting your storefront up for success when it comes to expansion can decrease the possibility for issues down the road.

6. Security

Robust security protocols protect your eCommerce site’s sensitive data, encrypt transactions, eliminate cross-site forgery, and provide control over user access and permissions. Some key security features to look for while comparing B2B eCommerce platforms include:

  • Multi-factor authentication method (MFA)
  • PCI DSS payment gateways
  • Server Security
  • Role-based ACL security
  • SOC 2 Type 2 Certification
  • Built-in Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificates
  • Access control, users, and permissions management
  • Separate login for retailers and distributors

7. Internationalization

If you operate multiple brands, websites, or storefronts, it’s critical to integrate localization features to drive higher conversions. This means your B2B platform should adapt to multiple languages, various currencies, taxation, and locations without deploying major changes to the source code.  

8. Total Cost of Ownership

There are multiple costs associated with a B2B eCommerce platform, such as license fees, hosting, themes, development, extensions, and maintenance. Additionally, some eCommerce platforms work on revenue- or transaction-based fee structures, so you’ll need to pay a certain percentage of your monthly revenue to your eCommerce platform. 

With each of these factors in mind, it is essential for you to build a total cost of ownership (TCO) model for your business. To do this, we recommend a 6-year future view with your anticipated business growth and all anticipated costs for each eCommerce platform under consideration. 

Steps for Narrowing Your B2B eCommerce Platform Search

Once you’ve shortlisted two to three eCommerce platforms, it’s time to see how well they align with your business goals. To continue comparing B2B eCommerce platforms, we recommend you follow these best practices:

Conduct Thorough Research

Start your research by reading reviews online. Check out reliable third-party review platforms such as Gartner, G2, and Capterra to find reviews from verified buyers. Do a keyword search and look for the specific technology/skill you want in your future eCommerce platform. Also, be sure to filter reviews so you’re looking at feedback from B2B businesses (as most reviews will be relevant to B2C buyers). Make sure you factor in both pros and cons while evaluating a platform.

In addition, go through case studies and read customer testimonials to further assess each platform. Once you’ve narrowed down a few options, schedule consultation calls or chat with their customer support to understand their features and pricing. 

Define Your Must-Haves (Now and in the Future)

Many businesses end up choosing a B2B platform that fits their current needs, but later down the road, experience issues with customizations, integrations, and scalability. This often leads to re-platforming. For example, if a platform is too complex to use, lacks flexibility, requires extensive resource allocation, or has expensive costs in the long term, you may need to switch platforms.

To avoid re-platforming, it’s critical to assess your current needs and anticipate your future goals. Think about how your team size, target market, budget, and security compliances might impact your online store in the long run. Then, assess which B2B eCommerce platform is flexible enough to scale well with your business needs.

Partner with an Experienced eCommerce Development Agency

Agencies that have worked with a variety of B2B businesses and eCommerce solutions have the experience to help you assess the eCommerce platforms you’re considering.

Ensure Integration with Your Existing Business Software

As eCommerce platforms evolve, compatibility with multiple systems is becoming less of an issue, but you still want to ensure that the platform you’re considering can interface with other applications you already have in place. Remember, your business needs should drive the technology (not the other way around).

Evaluate the Total Cost of Ownership

In the B2B eCommerce platform space, the total cost of ownership can vary dramatically from platform to platform in terms of:

  • License costs
  • Internal resource requirements
  • Implementation costs
  • Ongoing maintenance and optimization costs
  • Annual updates and patches
  • Agency partner retainer/hourly fees for ongoing support

Types of B2B Businesses: Criteria & Best Practices to Consider 

B2B organizations approach eCommerce differently — they have unique requirements, such as the ability to conduct business internationally, the need for more advanced customized features, and stronger security requirements. Some of the business types that fall into this category include: 

Manufacturers 

Manufacturers use raw materials, parts, and manual labor to produce finished goods on a large scale. A pure-play B2B model involves selling finished goods to other manufacturers, suppliers, or wholesalers. 

Wholesalers/Distributors

Wholesale eCommerce is a B2B eCommerce model where products are sold on a large scale to other businesses at a discounted rate. 

Service Providers

Service providers create services for other businesses and organizations. This includes software as a service (SaaS), marketing agencies, and businesses that create and sell various supplies. 

Business Software or Platform Developers

These types of B2B businesses typically design and build customized commercial applications including web and mobile applications for other organizations. For example, accounting software, customer relationship management (CRM), payroll software, database software, etc. 

Business Marketplaces

Business marketplaces are virtual spaces where buyers connect with other businesses who want to purchase their products or services. For example, Amazon, eBay, and Craigslist. 

Read more: B2B Magento Developer: IronPlane’s Approach

IronPlane’s Free Consultation and Site Audit 

Still need help comparing B2B eCommerce platforms? IronPlane’s team of experienced Magento, Adobe Commerce, and BigCommerce developers have worked with B2B eCommerce businesses across different verticals. 

Note: If you already have an eCommerce site, we can conduct a free audit to learn more about the challenges you’re experiencing and help you determine if you need to re-platform or optimize your existing site. 

After some upfront research, our team of experts can work with you to determine the best eCommerce solution for your business needs by: 

  • Evaluating if your existing eCommerce platform is right for you. 
  • Identifying the right eCommerce platform based on your requirements (in terms of features, team size, and business goals). 
  • Building an action plan that includes optimizing your existing website and planning future upgrades based on expected business growth and needs. 

For example, we recently partnered with Omni International, a global manufacturer and distributor of laboratory homogenizers, consumables, and accessories, to migrate their eCommerce store and prepare their site for future builds. 

Omni International homepage

When Omni International approached our agency, their site was built on Magento 1, so their first big goal was to migrate their online store to Magento 2. However, they also wanted to: 

  • Improve the customer experience by optimizing their UI, enhancing their UX, and scaling up bundling and shipping features. 
  • Cater to their global audience by ensuring their products and resources could be displayed in a clear, searchable way. 
  • Provide both cart and custom quote options for their different customer groups (individual labs and enterprise businesses). 

To kick off our work together, we conducted a thorough analysis of their existing website and helped Omni International determine that Magento 2 fulfilled all of their criteria. After confirming it was the best choice to achieve Omni International’s goals, we mapped out a process to complete the migration. We also implemented Magento’s B2B Commerce edition to support both add-to-cart and add-to-quote functionality, so different customer groups could get a tailored shopping experience. 

By the end of the project, Omni's customers could easily navigate to Omni International’s different products and resources, explore accessories and product bundles, read related SKUs and research publications for each product, and request formal quotes. 

These changes (and more) helped Omni International drive the following results: 

  • A 107.4% increase in revenue.
  • A 67.5% increase in transactions.
  • A 48.8% increase in average order value (AOV).

You can read the full Omni International case study here. 

FAQs: Top-Rated B2B eCommerce Platforms

What Are the benefits of an eCommerce platform for B2B?

Here are the three main benefits of an eCommerce platform for B2B: 

  • Improved efficiency: An online platform can streamline B2B business processes, reduce manual labor, and increase productivity by automating tasks. This is particularly true for order submission, order processing, order shipping, and order payment.
  • Enhanced customer experience: A well-designed online platform can provide customers with a more convenient, efficient, and personalized experience, leading to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.
  • Better data and insights: By tracking customer behavior and interactions online, B2B businesses can gain valuable insights into customer needs and preferences, helping both the business and the customer make better-informed decisions.

What are the risks of eCommerce for B2B businesses?

The biggest risks of eCommerce for B2B businesses are: 

  • Not selecting the right platform which will result in having to re-platform: This adds cost, business disruption, and time-to-market delays.
  • High costs  to implement and maintain: It is important to consider not only the upfront costs, but also the long-term maintenance, upgrade, and optimization costs.
  • Not focusing on stakeholder buy-in and user adoption: This applies to both internal teams and your B2B customers.
  • High-quality data is critical: Comprehensive, timely, and accurate product data in particular can improve product visibility, ordering efficiency, and overall customer satisfaction. Putting the focus on this aspect of the business may require investment, but it is essential if a B2B business is committed to digital transformation.

Is Shopify suitable for B2B?  

Shopify Plus can be used for B2B businesses without extensive customization requirements, but it’s not suitable for businesses requiring efficient interaction between the eCommerce platform and their internal systems. Also, Shopify Plus is tied to a company’s online revenue, so it’s important to compare different B2B eCommerce platforms to find the one that best fits your needs. 

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