Experts predict the business-to-business eCommerce to reach $1.8 trillion by 2023 and grow annually by 10% over the next 5 years.
It’s no surprise why B2B eCommerce becomes so popular: modern entrepreneurs strive to optimize the purchasing process for their businesses and shop for products online. B2B online stores liberate entrepreneurs from endless calls, supplier meetings, and paperwork.
So, it’s the right time to start a B2B eCommerce website now to get your share. In this article, we’d like to introduce to you the most popular B2B eCommerce software for building a profitable business-to-business online shop.
Make Sure the B2B eCommerce Script Has These Essential Features
The business-to-business segment imposes special requirements for eCommerce stores. A B2B eCommerce solution must have specific features to automate the purchasing process for companies. So, when choosing a B2B eCommerce platform, make sure it has these features at least:
- 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.
- Individual prices for different customer groups and 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.
- Flexible 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
CS-Cart was released to the public in 2005 as a B2C online store platform based on PHP. The company now offers several eCommerce solutions including a B2B downloadable software. CS-Cart focuses on rich functionality and simplicity.
All the CS-Cart eCommerce solutions are known for their feature richness, and the B2B product is no exception. This software includes all the features from the above list, plus more B2C-specific functions that greatly work for B2B as well. CS-Cart’s flexible API allows you to integrate the store with any third-party business system such as CRM, ERP, analytics, and more.
CS-Cart B2B & B2C is a downloadable software, which means you need to install it on your own (or rented) server. Its self-hosted nature gives you the absolute freedom to tweak the platform, modify its code, and customize it.
The killer feature of CS-Cart B2B & B2C is that you can run hybrid business—B2B and B2C—on different storefronts. The multi-store feature allows you to create multiple storefronts and configure them independently for B2B and B2C commerce.
Advantages: The ease of use and a great price/functionality ratio. Users love CS-Cart’s clean architecture and open-source code. The one-time fee is also an advantage.
Disadvantages: Users say that the default storefront design is a bit out of fashion. There are complaints about a complicated upgrade process if the store is heavily customized and the server configuration is wrong.
Rating on Capterra: 4.6 out of 5
TradeGecko is a B2B eCommerce script that focuses on the simplicity and automation of business-to-business sales. It is intended for high-growth wholesalers, distributors, eCommerce brands and manufacturers. It is a cloud-based software.
TradeGecko supports all essential B2B functions from the above “must-have” list: individual prices, custom price lists, the ability to hide products and prices from unauthorized users, easy ordering and reordering, warehouses, promotions, and more.
This solution has built-in reporting and analytics tools that allow you to better understand your processes and adjust them when necessary. The only thing that seems to be not included is a fully-functional multi-store feature for hybrid business models.
It is a SaaS product, which means it’s super easy to start a wholesale eCommerce website on it. But its cloud nature limits you in terms of customization and scalability. Plus, you’ll have to pay regularly for using the platform.
Advantages: Most of the users are satisfied with TradeGecko and appreciate its simplicity and good customer support.
Disadvantages: There are complaints about poor performance, lack of features, frequent changes of the admin panel design, and high monthly payments.
Rating on Capterra: 4.4 out of 5
OROCommerce is a B2B eCommerce script that supports both B2C and B2C models. The website says their platform is even suitable for B2X scenarios. OROCommerce is suitable for big wholesales companies and enterprises.
OROCommerce is one of the most flexible B2B eCommerce solutions on the market. It has all the must-have 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 it’s a great built-in feature.
Advantages: Flexibility, a great set of B2B functions, and hybrid business support (B2C, B2B, and B2X).
Disadvantages: Users say that you’ll spend a lot of time mastering the platform and developers complain about the lack of documentation.
Rating on Capterra: 4.7 out of 5
Pepperi is a SaaS B2B platform for big wholesale companies, manufacturers, and enterprises. It’s a cloud-based solution, which means easy and quick start but less freedom in terms of customization.
One of the key features of Pepperi is its mobile-friendliness. It offers native mobile apps for Android and iOS with offline data support (you can manage the store offline and sync later). Users love Pepperi’s web and mobile interface.
It’s an omnichannel B2B solution that easily integrates with CRM and ERP systems through a flexible API. It has lots of built-in features to offer B2C-like experience for wholesale customers: awesome catalog design, popular payment and shipping options, prices based on customer tiers, price list management, notifications, and more.
Advantages: Mobile-friendliness, rich B2B functionality,
Disadvantages: 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
Magento is a very robust and versatile platform—you are free to customize it the way you want. You can make your Magento-based B2B eCommerce site extremely large and feature-rich but to do that (and to support and maintain the platform in the future), you’ll need a team of programmers familiar with Magento’s code.
Advantages: Flexibility, scalability, and feature richness.
Disadvantages: There are user complaints about the interface complexity in Magento. People also say that Magento requires much time to configure before it can be used live. A long learning curve is also a disadvantage.
Rating on Capterra: 4.3 out of 5
The key features of BigCommerce are a powerful API, the ability to run a hybrid business (B2B and B2C), and ease of use. It’s quite a young platform but it has become quite popular in the past several years.
There are some restrictions though. For example, its cloud-based model doesn’t give users much freedom in customization. Plus, you will never get full control over your store. You need to pay monthly for using the service: they can increase fees any time and you will have to pay any way to keep your B2B store running. It’s a normal situation for cloud-based solutions.
BigCommerce offers the ability to run a hybrid B2B and B2C business. You can create customer groups with different privileges dividing them into companies and individuals. But unlike CS-Cart, BigCommerce only lets you sell to both groups through the same storefront.
Advantages: BigCommerce is easy to use and has a short learning curve. Rich documentation greatly helps beginners to learn the platform. Users also appreciate the platform’s feature richness.
Disadvantages: On forums, people say that BigCommerce is an excellent solution only for beginners and small businesses. There are also lots of user complaints about bad customer service.
Rating on Capterra: 4.3
3dcart offers B2B and B2C solutions. Their B2B product is cloud-based: it’s easy to start a store but it’s nearly impossible to customize it.
The cool thing about 3dcart is that it has almost all the features for B2B customers mentioned in the “must-have” list except for multiple storefronts and advanced price list management features. You can’t run separate storefront for B2B and B2C commerce but you can sell to B2C customers from the same website.
Advantages: Rich B2B functionality, quick and easy start.
Disadvantages: There are complaints about 3dcart’s customer service and some users say they lost money because of the unqualified 3dcart support staff.
Rating on Capterra: 4.4 out of 5
SAP offers a lot of business applications such as ERP, CRM, network and spends management, HR and people engagement, and more. There’s also a complex B2B software SAP Commerce Cloud that meets the needs of the modern B2B eCommerce sector. It is a cloud-based platform with good integration capabilities.
SAP Commerce Cloud supports B2C, B2B, and B2X business models and is intended for big wholesalers, distributors, resellers, and manufacturers. The platform includes all the essential B2C functions such as cart checkout, product content and experience management, promotions, and order management, and others.
Unfortunately, there’s not much information about the platform’s B2B-specific functionality on their website but with SAP you can definitely create a web store to sell to both direct customers and companies. There’s no multi-store feature, so you will sell to B2C and B2B purchasers from the same storefront.
Advantages: Powerful marketing and customer relationship management, ease of building a fully working eCommerce store in no time.
Disadvantages: Users report that the system is quite closed and there are no customization capabilities. SAP Commerce Cloud is a SaaS solution, which means you’ll have to pay for it monthly. And users say that the price is too high for the set of available features.
Rating on Capterra: 4.6 out of 5
X-Cart works for both B2C and B2B business models with no clear division to B2C and B2B functionality. The solution has a powerful catalog management system, promotions, a review system, a payment distribution system, and other must-have features for any eCommerce store.
But what’s more important for a B2B eCommerce site, X-Cart natively integrates with popular business systems such as nChannel and Segment. These integrations allow for building an effective B2B ecosystem around the platform. Plus, the platform’s API allows for integration with other third-party applications.
Advantages: It’s a downloadable solution, which allows for full control over your store. Users say it’s easy to use and has great customization capabilities.
Disadvantages: X-Cart doesn’t have a lot of B2B-specific features and multiple storefronts that could be used independently for B2C and B2B commerce. You’ll have to customize the platform to be able to use it for a complex B2B eCommerce shop. Also, users say that tech support often can’t help with resolving the issues.
Rating on Capterra: 4.2 out of 5
InsiteCommerce is a cloud-based B2B eCommerce script with a powerful API for integrating the store with third-party applications such as CRM, ERP, analytics, and other apps.
This B2B eCommerce script features some useful B2B functions such as fast reordering, advanced order management system with invoice generation and order statuses, the “Quotes” functionality, and built-in specific shipping options.
Unfortunately, this platform doesn’t have all the major B2B functions mentioned at the beginning of this article, so you might need to customize it by adding custom functionality. InsiteCommerce is based around the “integration architecture” so it allows for some scaling.
Advantages: Powerful API and the “integration architecture” are the most appreciated advantages of InsiteCommerce as they compensate for its cloud nature.
Disadvantages: User testimonials are mostly okay but there are some complaints about a very long learning curve, costly upgrades, and dependence on third-party partners.
Rating on Capterra: 4 out of 5
Choose a B2B eCommerce script wisely. Make sure you’ll be able to customize and scale it in the future. The point is—there’s no perfect platform for your business. You will have to customize it more or less so that it suits your business processes and goals. So, try all the platforms from this list. Start with CS-Cart B2B & B2C and just go down the list.