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B2B eCommerce in the US will reach $1.8 trillion by 2023 and will be growing by 10% annually over the next 5 years, according to Forrester.
And it’s absolutely obvious: modern businessmen want to purchase products for their companies hassle-free and pay fair prices. B2B eCommerce shops are great places for entrepreneurs to shop as modern online stores offer great shopping experience.
In this article, we will give you a brief review of the most popular B2B eCommerce platforms for developing a B2B online store. If you’re planning to start a B2B webshop, save this shortlist to test each wholesale eCommerce platform and choose the one that fits your needs just right.
CS-Cart B2B & B2C is a self-hosted B2B eCommerce software for wholesalers and manufacturers of small to big-sized businesses. Over 35,000 B2C and B2B eCommerce websites use this platform worldwide. The main cons of CS-Cart is feature-richness and simplicity.
CS-Cart B2B is a wholesale eCommerce platform. It has all the above- mentioned functions, plus more to offer B2B buyers a true B2C shopping experience. CS-Cart is ready for integrating with any third-party CRM, ERP, accounting, and analytics systems thanks to its powerful API.
CS-Cart is a self-hosted B2B eCommerce script—you need to install it on your server. It means the installation process could require some minor technical knowledge that’s why CS-Cart offers detailed instructions on how to install it, use, and maintain. CS-Cart’s self-hosted nature gives you full control over your B2B eCommerce store. You can enable and disable any function, play with settings, tweak the server, and edit the code.
CS-Cart users love the simplicity of the software and its fair price. They appreciate its clean architecture and open-source code.
A great bonus of CS-Cart B2B & B2C is an unlimited number of storefronts that can be set up independently. You are free to open B2B and B2C storefronts that will work and look differently, and manage them via a single admin panel.
On the downside:
There are some complaints about a complicated upgrade process if the store is heavily modified or the server doesn’t meet the requirements. Users also say that the default storefront design is outdated.
Shift4Shop is a cloud-based eCommerce solution. It’s really easy to start an eCommerce website but could be difficult to modify and adapt to the business goals. The company offers B2C and B2B solutions.
Because Shift4Shop is a cloud-based solution, it’s easy to start a shop and set it up. No need to worry about the installation and the server. But it has the same restrictions as other SaaS platforms: it can’t offer you the same freedom and scalability as self-hosted shopping cart solutions.
Shift4Shop is pretty feature-rich: it has almost all the features for B2B customers mentioned at the beginning of the article except for multiple storefronts and advanced price list management functions.
On the downside:
There are many complaints about Shift4Shop's customer service and some users say they even lost money because of the unqualified Shift4Shop support staff.
X-Cart the first PHP shopping cart software on the market. The company offers cloud and self-hosted solutions.
X-Cart is suitable for both B2C and B2B businesses. Unfortunately, there’s no clear division to B2C and B2B functionality. The solution has a powerful vendor management system, promotions, a review system, payment distribution, and other features of a proper online store.
The main con of X-Cart is that it doesn’t have enough B2B-specific features and multiple storefronts for independent B2C and B2B websites. This software needs to be customized so that it could be used for a complex B2B eCommerce site.
On the downside:
User reviews are good but some customers don’t like that technical support sometimes can’t help with resolving the issues, the complexity of the software, and the lack of important functions.
Magento is one of the most popular shopping cart systems in the world, yet one of the most complicated in terms of usage and development.
Magento is a very versatile software—you can customize it the way you want. You can make your Magento-based B2B store extremely flexible and feature-rich. Unfortunately, to start and maintain a Magento B2B shop, you’ll need to get a good Magento hosting, a team of coders that understand Magento and know how to work with its architecture. This means more spendings.
On the downside:
Magento for B2B has almost all mentioned above must-have features but unfortunately, there are user complaints about the interface complexity. People say Magento demands some time to be configured before you could use it live.
TradeGecko is a B2B eCommerce script that focuses on simplicity and automation of the B2B sales. It is intended for high-growth wholesalers, distributors, eCommerce brands and manufacturers. TradeGecko is a SaaS product: less technical concerns but less control, too.
TradeGecko has it all: individual prices, the ability to hide products and prices from unauthorized users, custom price lists, warehouses, promotions, easy ordering and reordering, and whatnot. Users are satisfied with TradeGecko and love the ease of use and good customer support.
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 running B2B and B2C websites independently.
On the downside:
Some users complain about slowdowns, lack of specific features, frequent changes of the administration panel layout, and high prices.
Contalog is intended for multi-channel sales: you can easily adapt your B2B and B2C businesses to web and mobile channels. Contalog has a lot of B2B features such as: centralized inventory, order and product information management across multiple sales, and other tools to effectively sell to companies.
Contalog B2B eCommerce platform is a cloud-based solution—you can access your store from any computer or mobile device. This B2B eCommerce software allows you to add products manually, upload from a spreadsheet or import from your existing shopping site. Unfortunately, you cannot input by serial number or scan the barcodes.
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 a month. Different plans can process more orders and also allow you to add on to the basic software. 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.
On the downside:
Even though Contalog has great support and it is easy to use, users say that it took a while to get used to its interface.
InsiteCommerce is a B2B eCommerce software for medium to big-sized manufacturers and distributors. This is a cloud platform: it is easy to deploy and maintain. The company offers you their own server and installs the store for you. But it could be difficult to customize and scale because you will never have the full control over the cloud.
InsiteCommerce relies on a flexible API for integrations with third-party CRM and ERP systems. This B2B eCommerce script features some useful B2B functions such as advanced order management system with invoice generation, fast reordering and order statuses, the “Quotes” functionality, and built-in specific shipping options.
Unfortunately, this platform doesn’t have all the major B2B functions mentioned in the beginning of this article, so you might need to customize it by adding custom functionality. Hopefully, its “integration architecture” allows for some scaling.
On the downside:
There are not so many user reviews for InsiteCommerce on the web. The testimonials are okay but users complain about a very long learning curve, costly upgrades, and dependence on third-party partners.
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 offers native mobile apps for Android and iOS with offline data support. It means you will be able to manage your catalog when there’s now Internet connection. Users love Pepperi’s web and mobile interfaces.
Pepperi is an omnichannel B2B solution that easily integrates with CRM and ERP systems through a powerful API. It has lots of built-in features to offer B2C-like experience for wholesale customers: great catalog design, convenient payment and shipping methods, individual prices for user groups, price list management, notifications, and more.
On the downside:
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).
Handshake is for manufacturers and distributors who are selling to retail stores or other business customers. It is a powerful, easy-to-use platform to build a website and a mobile app for your B2B customers.
For customer ordering, Handshake helps you provide a modern B2B eCommerce experience for easy online ordering and a mobile app for shelf-side orders when your customers are out on the floor.
For sales rep ordering, Handshake provides a dedicated sales rep app that gives them the customer, product, pricing and inventory information they need. Orders can be formed fast and submitted instantly.
On the downside:
Users are satisfied with Handshake, but some say that the app crashes from time to time. Also, users report some sync errors.
OROCommerce is a B2B eCommerce script that supports both B2B and B2C business models. It also supports B2X scenarios. This software is intended for big wholesale companies and enterprises.
OROCommerce natively integrates with their own CRM system OROCRM that allows you to organize the customer contacts and arrange the customer interaction workflow.
OROCommerce is one of the most flexible B2B eCommerce solutions on the market today. This solution includes corporate accounts, administration roles, multiple price lists, a good API for integrating with business systems, a robust promotion system, buyer-specific catalogs and prices.
Users say that you’ll probably need training to get used to OROCommerce and developers complain about the lack of development documentation. The platform is extremely flexible and complex, which means it could be challenging to operate it at the beginning.
B2B e-shop should have special functions to automate the buying process for companies. It means a B2B eCommerce solution must have specific features that B2C shopping software doesn’t have. Make sure a B2B eCommerce platform you are choosing has these features:
A true B2B eCommerce software should offer a convenient interface for ordering products in bulk. Just imagine: you need to add 50 TV sets and 20 heating boilers of 3 different types to the cart. If a store doesn’t offer a convenient interface for this, you will spend hours just to fill the cart. Nobody likes wasting time, especially businessmen.
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.
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. 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).
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 stores.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
There’s no perfect platform for your B2B eCommerce site. You will need to customize any software more or less so that it suits your business processes and goals. So, before you decide on the B2B CMS, contact each vendor from this list, request a demo, and make sure you will be able to customize and scale the platform.
About the Author: Yan Kulakov
Yan Kulakov is content and marketing specialist in an eCommerce software development company CS-Cart. He’s passionate about creating visual content and loves sharing it with the world. Yan can explain complicated things in simple words that’s why he runs the company blog and creates content for other eCommerce and marketing blogs. Connect with Yan Facebook and Instagram.