Simplify B2B Digital Transformation With The Right Solution
86% of B2B buyers prefer self-service portals to speaking with a sales rep.1 For businesses, this is an opportunity to improve efficiency and accuracy, enhance customer experiences and develop new markets. eCommerce platform providers have developed B2B solutions to manage complex B2B transactions that are larger, take more time and involve more people. The best B2B ecommerce platform delivers an excellent customer experience and greater efficiency at each stage of the process – from pricing, discounting and ordering through to invoicing and payment.
As a global payments solution, Rapyd has worked with businesses across a range of industries and appreciates the importance in finding the right B2B ecommerce portal. We’ve used our experience and research to help you select the best B2B ecommerce platform for your own unique requirements.
Features that Are Essential for B2B eCommerce
In selecting a B2B ecommerce platform, it is important to do due diligence and research the options against the criteria that are most relevant to your business. Having a clear understanding of the existing infrastructure and the ecommerce functionality required is a good start, but you also need to factor in future needs to ensure the solution will scale and support your business as it grows. The following features are essential to consider when selecting your B2B ecommerce platform.
Ease of Configuration
To fully utilize the built-in functionality and the add-ons offered, you need to ensure that the configuration is “plug-and-play” or you have the developer resources to test, deploy and manage the solution.
Compatibility with Existing Systems
Your business relies on a range of solutions to provide critical and often industry-specific processes, so you need a solution that integrates seamlessly with these systems.
Scalability and Longevity
Cloud-based solutions are more able to keep pace with your rapidly evolving and frequently changing needs. You want to avoid making a significant investment in hardware that depreciates and becomes dated over time.
An ecommerce platform that integrates with your preferred B2B payments solution is a fundamental requirement of a digital commerce solution. You need to be able to accept the preferred payment methods of your B2B customers, ensure a frictionless checkout experience, nurture trust and build customer loyalty.
Discounts based on volume or early payment and special pricing agreements can vary between individual B2B customers. Some agreements may be based on a subscription model. Regardless of the number of accounts and their unique arrangements, your ecommerce solution needs to be able to manage this essential element of each business relationship.
Level of Technical Expertise Required
You will need to have the skills and knowledge to configure and manage the platform to utilize its functionality. Some solutions provide a user interface through which the entire solution and plug-ins are managed, others require some or significant levels of coding expertise and development knowledge.
Rapyd’s Picks for the Best B2B eCommerce Platforms
Although these platforms all support the needs of B2B businesses, they differ in their functionality, flexibility and integration with a broader commerce suite. Some offer an “all-in-one” approach while others allow businesses to build a tailored solution by integrating best-of-breed technologies from a number of providers. In some cases, the choice of vendor is influenced by the existing technologies and the appetite and resources for development and customization.
How Do You Make the Best B2B eCommerce Suite Even Better?
Choose a B2B payment solution that offers customers their preferred B2B payment methods.
Best “All-in-One” B2B eCommerce Platforms
WooCommerce B2B enables a mode in WooCommerce that offers the functionality for B2B ecommerce with an “all-in-one” plugin. This is ideal for a business with an existing WordPress site as adding it can be a relatively quick process. It is highly scalable and can manage complex requirements. There is some level of technical (rather than development) skill required to configure WooCommerce.
NuOrder focuses on simplicity and streamlining B2B processes and delivers what it promises, but does require time to understand the processes initially.
A flexible, configurable option is BigCommerce, offering a highly extendable option based on a combination of core technology and extensive partnerships. This does involve a steep learning curve and requires a greater degree of expertise to enable successful digital transformations.
Best Platforms that Are Part of a Suite
Salesforce B2B Commerce
Salesforce offers businesses a breath of support and resources that translate into extensive functionality that leverages third-party capabilities. This may be the best route for businesses that have Salesforce CRM in place and are looking to build an end-to-end customer engagement solution.
SAP Commerce Cloud
SAP is also a large enterprise solution although with more limited integration options and a greater focus on building out the SAP Customer Experience Suite. This is a strong option for businesses looking for a complete single-vendor solution.
Oracle CX is a comprehensive solution that integrates with its ERP and financial offerings – ideal for existing Oracle customers to build an end-to-end solution with a single vendor.
IBM Digital Commerce
IBM Digital Commerce also emphasizes streamlining, not just processes, but also documentation to deliver a more personal customer experience. A knowledgebase provides access to company and industry-relevant information as and when needed. Getting up-to-speed on the platform does require time and expertise and may not be ideal for businesses looking at a platform for the first time.
Best Platforms for Customization
Magento is a robust enterprise solution and is best suited to businesses looking to customize the solution to differentiate on customer experience. It is not “plug and play”, but it is feature-rich and can be tailored to specific needs and scale with the requirements of your business.
Commercetools’ strength is in its platform architecture but requires customers to have strong technical capabilities and an existing business process management system.
Also requiring development expertise, Elastic Path is designed for developers looking for a solution they can customize for very specific business models and create unique commerce experiences.
What Are the Benefits of Choosing the Right B2B eCommerce Platform?
Choosing the best B2B ecommerce platform for your business gives you a launchpad to accelerate growth. B2B digital commerce can provide access to new customers online in domestic and international markets.
Expanding your portfolio of products is easier online and can be managed with greater efficiency and at a lower cost. However, any success is dependent on building from the right platform. To realize the full potential of B2B ecommerce requires a solution that aligns with and supports the needs of your business today and into the future. There are many alternatives available, finding the right one for the business requires careful consideration.