How to Choose the Right B2B Ecommerce Platform

Looking for the perfect ecommerce platform for your B2B business is an exciting but daunting venture. Choosing the best B2B ecommerce platform can help alleviate pain points for your internal team and customers, propel your business forward, and exceed goals.

Learn how to select the ideal B2B ecommerce platform that will propel your company's growth, meet operational requirements, and align with your design preferences, all while staying within budget. This article will cover everything you need to know, from key features to look for in a B2B ecommerce platform, assessing your business needs, the significance of integration and scalability, to choosing a partner for long-term success.

Understanding B2B Ecommerce Platforms

B2B ecommerce, short for business-to-business electronic commerce, is an exciting avenue for businesses to engage in online transactions for goods or services. It’s unique from B2C commerce, where companies sell directly to consumers.

To enhance brand visibility, expand their online footprint, and drive sales, both B2B and B2C enterprises can leverage the power of ecommerce platforms. These platforms allow businesses to establish and personalize their online stores, efficiently manage operations, and deliver exceptional value to their customers and clients.

It's important to recognize that B2B and B2C companies have distinct marketing needs, face unique challenges, and employ different strategies for growth and retention. Fortunately, versatile ecommerce platforms like ROC Commerce are designed to meet the diverse requirements of both B2B and D2C/B2C businesses. With the right tools and support, companies can thrive in the dynamic world of online commerce.

Key Features to Look for in a B2B Ecommerce Platform

B2B companies should opt for a robust enterprise-level ecommerce platform with features catering to buyers and sellers. Key features to consider in a B2B ecommerce platform include integration capabilities, scalability, ability to customize to meet your unique business processes and of course core B2B capabilities like customer specific part number, pricing, advanced shipping methods such as support for your own delivery trucks, Punchout, Guest Checkout to support D2C activities, and general extensibilty to grow your business and many more.

The ROC Commerce platform offers all the advanced B2B and D2C features required to drive your business forward and enable you to compete in an ever competitive market.

Tied to the advanced Commerce support, ROC’s powerful Content Management System (CMS) helps you create, modify, and oversee content. AI-driven personalization allows you to genuinely connect with customers because you will have a better understanding of their interests and requirements based on data. This advanced technology allows you to create personalized user journeys and provide valuable information, services, and products. Share your content and seamlessly create and manage digital experiences across various touchpoints and channels providing a full digital experience platform (DXP).

Assessing Your Business Needs

Another important factor in choosing the right ecommerce platform is having a deep understanding of your fundamental business requirements. Use this guide to assess current business processes and identify key needs. Below is a checklist of considerations:

  • Consider the size and desired growth of the business: You can determine whether an enterprise-grade ecommerce platform is the best fit based on the business size. Whether that is today or if you have strong growth plans, you don’t want to have to replatform in 3 years while not having the advanced features upon your first implementation.
  • Evaluate existing software infrastructure: If essential software and processes exist, then an ecommerce platform's integration capabilities will be crucial.
  • Understand customer needs: Customers expect a personalized user journey tailored to them. The right platform can help you create and manage those customer experiences.

The Importance of Integration and Scalability

The ecommerce platform you choose must be flexible, customizable, and seamlessly integrate with existing systems, providing scalability for future growth. ROC Commerce facilitates seamless integration with various ERPs and other business systems, making it a powerful tool for businesses seeking to streamline their online sales processes and improve their profitability.

You can integrate the platform with other software you use, such as inventory management, accounting, and marketing tools, as well as PIM (product information management) or shipment and payment providers.

Choosing a Partner for Long-Term Success

Selecting an ecommerce platform is similar to finding a dedicated, reliable, long-term partner. You want a platform that will wholeheartedly support you, communicate effectively and consistently, and help you to achieve your goals. Make sure your chosen platform offers robust vendor support, regular updates, and a community that genuinely embraces your business

The ROC Commerce team is 100% dedicated to providing unwavering support for you and your business. With regular updates, support, and a strong user community, you will have a partner to take your business to the top.

ROC Commerce: A Case Study in B2B Ecommerce Excellence

ROC Commerce is proud to share a recent partnership with Mars Electric. Independent wholesale distributor Mars Electric was eager to launch an ecommerce website that featured a digital storefront that complemented its retail stores. Additionally, increasing order volume meant they needed the online storefront to manage products, fulfill orders, and house all their product data.

Mars Electric chose to work with Americaneagle.com to create its ecommerce website. ROC Commerce was selected as the ecommerce platform they would use because of its powerful integration capabilities, speed, flexibility, and expandability to support the growing business capably.

The ROC Commerce team built and designed a robust storefront that seamlessly syncs with data from Epicor’s Eclipse, ensuring Mars Electric always has real-time inventory data. The new storefront features enhanced user permissions, a sophisticated new checkout process, a custom store locator, and advanced integration with contact forms, live chat, email marketing campaigns, lead tracking, and abandoned cart follow-up.

Since its launch, the ecommerce website has seen incredible results: a 601% year-over-year increase in sessions, a 510% increase in email-driven site visits, and 1,000 new accounts in the first six months.

FAQs About Choosing a B2B Ecommerce Platform

Below, we address some common questions and concerns about choosing a B2B ecommerce platform.

What is a B2B ecommerce platform?

B2B ecommerce, or business-to-business electronic commerce, is a way for businesses to engage in online transactions for goods or services. Through B2B ecommerce, business sellers can work directly with wholesalers, large retailers, organizations, and resellers. An ecommerce platform allows them to automate the wholesale process, from placing and managing orders to connecting with distributors and suppliers and more.

What is a D2C ecommerce platform?

D2C (Direct to Consumer) ecommerce is commonly referred to when Manufacture or Distributor B2B companies begin selling some or all of their products directly to consumers, offering an additional path to purchase versus going through retailers, etc. It is a way for businesses to engage in online transactions for goods or services directly to the actual consumer.  Many B2B companies start down this path first with subsets of their product mix such as parts or a specific consumer friendly product mix that are not worthwhile for distributors or retailers to stock/carry. ROC Commerce supports B2B, D2C, and B2C.

What are the key features of a B2B ecommerce platform?

While the specific features required from a B2B ecommerce platform will significantly depend on your unique business requirements, essential features include bulk ordering, pricing customization, account management, integration, and scalability.

How does a B2B ecommerce platform differ from a B2C platform?

B2B ecommerce, or business-to-business electronic commerce, allows businesses to conduct online transactions for goods or services, unlike B2C commerce, where companies sell directly to consumers.

Therefore, B2B and B2C e-commerce platforms focus on fundamental differences in customer handling, payment processes, and order sizes.

What should I look for when choosing a B2B ecommerce platform?

When choosing a B2B ecommerce platform, consider customization, security, and technological adaptability. Finding a platform with a user-friendly interface that can seamlessly and efficiently handle complex transactions is also essential.

What is the future of B2B ecommerce platforms?

Several emerging trends, such as AI and machine learning, are allowing us to collect and use data to personalize customer experiences like never before. Moreover, there is a growing emphasis on mobile commerce and international expansion in B2B platforms.