Posted by Sponsored Post Posted on 14 May 2021

The Best B2B E-Commerce Platforms for 2021

This article discusses what B2B e-commerce software solutions are available and how they help B2B e-commerce businesses have a strong, well-structured online presence.

Why do I need an online presence?

Nowadays, business transactions are increasingly done digitally. According to statistics published by software giant Salesforce, 48% of B2B businesses are already selling products online, and they believe that figure will reach 88% within four years.

B2B customers increasingly expect an excellent online experience and will pay extra to ensure they get it. Resultingly, companies are now competing more based on customer experience.

This increased preference for doing business online means that without an online presence constructed around a purpose-built B2B e-commerce platform, you will find it harder to compete with firms that have made the transition.

Luckily, many good B2B e-commerce platforms are now available, but choosing the best one for your business can be difficult. But don’t panic, we’re going to help you with that.

Key features of a good B2B e-commerce platform

A B2B e-commerce platform sits at the heart of all successful e-commerce businesses. With so many B2B specific platforms available, finding the right one does need careful thought, particularly regarding the features offered by each.

A decent B2B e-commerce platform will include features that allow you to:

  • streamline your business by automating tasks,
  • increase engagement,
  • capture quality leads, and
  • increase sales.

Unfortunately, B2C e-commerce platforms are generally unsuitable for use in B2B. This is because the needs of B2B customers are more complex and differ from those of B2C customers.

Poor choice of platform could seriously damage your business due to lousy website performance, incompatibility with existing business processes, etc. To avoid such a scenario, we strongly suggest you lookout for the following features when searching for a B2B e-commerce platform:

  1. Ability to manage different internal and external users

The platform must accommodate the needs of different user types, such as management, marketing, purchasing, accounts, shipping, etc. These may be within your or your customers’ organisation.

Therefore, your chosen system must be capable of granting varying levels of access and permissions to individuals needing to use it.

  1. Ability to hyper-personalise

All B2B e-commerce websites should generally offer basics like personalised landing pages, campaigns, and promotional content. However, the ability to create different websites tailored to relevant to specific verticals and geographical areas is advantageous, allowing you to focus on your target audiences whilst offering an excellent customer experience.

As each customer group purchases differently, the platform should allow you to construct self-service portals personalised with things like product literature and price lists tailored to each customer. To do this, you should consider how you will set up your ordering, checkout sequences and shipping preferences to match the needs of your customer groups.

  1. Business automation functionality

The platform should be capable of creating custom workflows for order processing. This needs to include centralisation of quotations, contract management and term negotiation.

Such features will improve customer experience and eliminate costly manual data entry errors.

  1. Features for pricing and ordering 

B2B customers often want to negotiate orders. They may also have their own requirements relating to pricing, ordering, invoicing and payment terms. Without the correct systems in place, this could be a significant headache to manage.

A good B2B e-commerce platform will accommodate traditional shopping carts, request for quotation (RFQ) and order negotiation type workflows. Features that also set minimum order quantities, custom pricing and shipping rules are also recommended to make the buying process smoother for both you and your customers.

  1. Customisation 

The platform should ideally have some integral customisation options. It should also be accessible for digital consultants or developers to undertake more specific modifications if necessary, e.g. to integrate with your customer’s systems.

  1. Integration with other systems

The ability to integrate with other systems (e.g. ERP, CRM, PIM, 3PL, procurement, etc.) to manage and keep track of customers, operations, and inventory is highly desirable, as is a robust API to facilitate future integrations.

  1. Responsiveness

The platform should have interfaces for everyone who will use it, such as backend staff or customers, and they should be able to use it from any device type or location.

  1. Scalability

The platform needs to be able to grow and adapt as your business scales. It should be flexible enough to allow additional websites, products, integrations, etc., to be added. It should also be capable of handling the demands of increasing traffic.

Popular B2B e-commerce platforms in 2021

Now that you know what to look for in a B2B e-commerce platform, we will now look at six of the most popular ones currently available on the market. There table at the end comparing the features of each.

  1. Magento Commerce

Magento logo
(Logo source)

Magento Commerce is a popular open-source e-commerce platform from Adobe.

Whilst it is designed for B2C, extensions and add-ons make it suitable for some B2B applications. On the downside, the costs of adding these extensions and add-ons can prove expensive.

Click here to learn more.

  1. OroCommerce

OroCommerce logo
(Logo source)

OroCommerce’s B2B e-commerce solution is open source, so it can easily be customised to suit your precise requirements. It can be integrated with your internal CRM and other systems. Multiple selling models (e.g. B2B2B, D2C) can be accommodated.

Click here to learn more.

  1. B2B Commerce Cloud

B2B Commerce Cloud logo
(Logo source)

B2B Commerce Cloud by Episerver (formerly known as InsiteCommerce, but Insite was bought out by Episerver in 2020) primarily builds solutions targeting industrial B2Bs. They work with organisations of all sizes who want to sell across multiple channels and integrate with their PIM systems. The platform has robust catalogue management and backend features.

Click here to learn more.

  1. Oracle Netsuite SuiteCommerce

(Logo source)

Database experts, Oracle, also produce this e-commerce platform. It is ideal for B2B, B2C and D2C businesses needing a multi-language, website and channel solution.

Click here to learn more.

  1. Salesforce CommerceCloud

Salesforce CommerceCloud logo
(Logo source)

Salesforce CommerceCloud’s platforms integrate closely with CRM. They offer many personalisation possibilities, reordering forms, backend workflows and other features to streamline your B2B businesses.

Click here to learn more.

  1. SAP Commerce Cloud

SAP Commerce Cloud logo
(Logo source)

SAP is renowned for enterprise software solutions. Their SAP Commerce Cloud is a versatile e-commerce platform that integrates with your/your clients’ other SAP ecosystems. It allows you to create highly personalised customer experiences due to plentiful landing page and multimedia features.

Click here to learn more.

B2B e-commerce platforms comparison table

The following is a comparison of the main features of the six platforms we have listed above:

FrameworkTypeCustomisation FeaturesCloud, Web or On Premises-Based?ProsCons
Magneto CommerceOpen-sourceMulti-site and customer segmentation. Flexible analytics.CloudWeb-basedOn-premisesAPI for integrations.Good marketing and multichannel capability.Excellent supportLimited B2B functionality.Integrations & plugins push up the cost significantly.
OneCommerceOpen-sourceGood pricing and B2B workflow engines.Report dashboardsCloudWeb-basedOn-premisesGreat workflow & pricing engines.Out-of-the-box B2B functionality.API for integrations.Many features that small B2Bs will not need.
B2B Commerce CloudProprietaryMany customisation options.Range of third-party integrations.CloudOn-premisesOut-of-the-box B2B functionality.Excellent support.Dated interfaces.Upgrades are expensive.
Netsuite SuiteCommerceProprietaryRobust omnichannel features for multiple brands.CloudWeb-basedIntegral content delivery networkExtensive order management.Robust POS features.Lack automation & reporting features.
Salesforce Commerce CloudProprietaryLarge ecosystem of integrators.Multichannel capability.Great customer experience.CloudPowerful workflows.Great order & inventory management.Great frontend experiences.Additional products to get CRM & marketing push the price up.
SAP Commerce CloudProprietaryAbility to work with multiple selling modules.Great mobile & customer experience.CloudSaasEnterprise & B2B related features (e.g. multisite support, inventory  management, order fulfilment, etc.)Too expensive for small businesses with tight budgets.


B2C customers have been buying online for some time now, a trend that is spilling over increasingly into B2B also.

Given that experts are forecasting that B2B e-commerce will continue growing at a tremendous rate over the coming years, it makes sense to consider your B2B e-commerce strategy now and find the platform that will best help you implement that.

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