Don’t you think there is an abundance of B2B ecommerce solutions available in the market to choose from? There is. This is why choosing one over the other seems to be such a daunting task.
B2B companies that try to figure out which platform to choose for their wholesale business usually begin with the kind of software they would like to use- a SaaS solution, a custom-built solution, an ERP add-on, or an on-premise B2B ecommerce software.
However, going by this criterion alone would be a mistake, to begin with.
Because you need to cover the basics first before going forward to building the best B2B marketplace for your enterprise brand.
Table of Contents
- What are the basics for choosing the best B2B Ecommerce Platform for your business?
- 10 FAQs to help you choose the best B2B Ecommerce Solution for your Brand
- 1. Do I really need to adopt Business-to-Business ecommerce to grow my business?
- 2. Can opting for Business to Business ecommerce solutions handle my complex requirements and processes?
- 3. Should I build or buy a B2B ecommerce solution?
- 4. How do I choose a Business to Business ecommerce platform?
- 5. Does my B2B ecommerce solution need to be integrated with my other systems?
- 6. Shall my B2B ecommerce solution have provisions for mobile commerce as well?
- 7. Should my B2B ecommerce solution be easy to use for my customers as well as internal teams?
- 8. Will it be possible to offer personalised experiences to my buyers using the B2B ecommerce solution?
- 9. Will I get a B2B ecommerce solution in my budget?
- 10. Will my B2B ecommerce website stand the test of time?
- Why StoreHippo is the best B2B ecommerce solution
Well, the answer to this question begins with the following:
- your reasons for opting for B2B ecommerce
- the goals you want to achieve by going online
- the future roadmap for your enterprise brand
- the sales channels or customer touchpoints you want to incorporate,
- customizations needed to build your unique B2B ecommerce website
- your budget etc.
A detailed answer to these questions will be more helpful in choosing the best B2B ecommerce platform for your business rather than just focusing on the type of ecommerce solution for your enterprise wholesale business.
To help you out, we present 10 FAQs you must ask before starting your B2B ecommerce journey.
If it had been ecommerce for retail buyers, most of us wouldn’t have to think twice about it. But wholesale, really? We understand B2B ecommerce solutions come with its own set of challenges including catering to the complex need of your business, its vendors/distributors, clients etc. but that is no reason not to upgrade yourself as per the current wholesale market trends.
Going with a cutting-edge business to business ecommerce solution not only modernizes your business but also helps in bringing together the distributed elements/vendors, delivery agents, suppliers, retailers, manufacturers etc. on one common B2B marketplace platform. You can standardise your processes and introduce automation to cut on manual efforts and errors. Building a B2B ecommerce website changes your business for the better and also opens up new markets and growth opportunities.
A search engine-friendly site can even help you generate organic leads without any effort from your sales team. Moreover, you can also place self-service features across your wholesale website to shorten your sales-cylcles. You can have your entire catalogs along with rich product content available 24X7 on your marketplace website for your potential buyers. Also, you can implement different levels of functionalities and personalizations for diverse buyer segments, specific brands, categories etc.
2. Can opting for Business to Business ecommerce solutions handle my complex requirements and processes?
Out of all ecommerce areas, Business to Business sales represents the largest revenue numbers and growth. It’s projected that online manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors will sell $20.9 Trillion (Source: Statista) by 2027, up straight from $12 Trillion in 2020. Also, due to the pandemic push, 80% of B2B sales would be done online by 2025
Claiming your own share in this stupendous growth is possible if you power your business with the best B2B ecommerce platform. To enable the selling and buying of large quantities of goods and services on your B2B marketplace website you would need a B2B ecommerce software that can be easily customised for your unique needs. Also, it has to be scalable enough to accommodate your growth. Also, it should be equipped to quickly add new frontends, landing pages, payment options, shipping solutions etc. for diverse product/service types.
Along with these, your B2B builder should have a host of B2B features like bulk order processing, pricing overrides, RFQ, MOQ, multi-tier taxation, inbuilt invoicing feature etc. to make processes simple and automated. Having an m-commerce-ready solution that can build mobile marketplace apps and PWA sites will be an added advantage as more and more B2b buyers prefer to buy on smartphones now.
To build a cutting-edge B2B marketplace that gives you an edge over the competition, you should look for a B2B builder that can be customized at the front as well as at the backend easily. Also, your business-to-business software should easily integrate with your existing software for accounting, ERP, marketing, shipping, customer service etc.
Along with this, your B2B ecommerce software should have multi-level security checks in place to ensure the safety of your business data and your clients’ sensitive financial information.
Once you find a B2B website builder that can cater to all the above, you can be sure that it will be able to easily handle the complexities of your business and even make your processes efficient and error-free.
Determining whether to build a custom-made e-commerce platform or buy the services of an off-the-shelf Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform is a critical decision which should never be based on a whim.
To put it simply, you should understand the long-term investment of having a B2B ecommerce solution. So, if you’ve already got the IT set-up, time and resources to continue to scale your website as your business grows, then you’re set up to build a website from scratch.
But in case, you aren’t prepared for an added investment and want to go to market fast, then you going with a battle-tested turnkey ecommerce solution for B2B would be a better idea. Turnkey ecommerce platforms that offer a plug-and-play solution for B2B ecommerce have an added advantage that they come with built-in solutions for a variety of use cases and tweaking such a solution is an easy way to build and launch your online wholesale business in a record time. Also, it will give you a better sense of what your costs will be five years down the line.
Choosing an ecommerce platform is not as straightforward as it seems. You will have to keep in mind these four essential features while choosing the best B2B ecommerce website builder.
- The growth factor- how quickly do you want your wholesale business to grow?
- Running costs- these include everything from the cost of building a wholesale website to ongoing developments to maintaining costs.
- Customer engagement- On which channels do you want your customers to interact with your brand?
- Objectives- it includes choosing the platform that helps you deliver the service you set out to achieve.
Essentially you should be looking for a B2B ecommerce software that offers scalable, fully-hosted and managed solutions so you are free from IT concerns. Going with a SAAS-based solution can take care of scalability issues. Also, look for the features and extensions offered by your B2B solutions provider with the perspective that these features do cover your current requirements and also offer solutions to future-proof your business.
In case you want to add multiple sales channels like a B2B marketplace, marketplace apps, PWA store, or shopping from any other wearable or display screen, the best B2B ecommerce platform for your business would be one that is built on headless architecture. This will let you add multiple frontends quickly using the same backend logic and APIs.
The answer is yes. Integrating your existing systems, software and services being used to your B2B ecommerce portal not only helps with a smooth transition from offline to the digital mode it also helps you create a unique ecommerce environment for your brand.
Modern B2B software comes with provisions for automating your end-to-end business which includes your sales channels, order management, supply chain and logistics, marketing, taxation and accounting, customer support and much more.
Integrating various best-of-breed software to manage your customers and their activities on your B2B marketplace gives you a better understanding of your customers' requirements and helps you in tracking down the buyers’ activities and improving your business a lot.
Moreover, modern B2B ecommerce solutions help you in improving the security of your business and also enable you to implement out-of-box changes. So you see how an integrated B2B software for online business gives you better control over your business besides building a better rapport with the business customers.
Of course, it should. There is no other alternative. Mobile is the channel where most of the ecommerce is happening, whether it is business-to-business or B2C. 70% of B2B buyers have increased the usage of the mobile channel for their purchase journey and 65% of enterprise B2B brands already have their mobile sales channels in place.
The best B2B ecommerce platform should always include the option to place orders from a mobile phone. These could be mobile apps or PWA stores. The key here is to make sure that either your wholesale website is offering a mobile app (that can be downloaded from an app store) or is easily accessible on a mobile web browser from your buyers’ phone.
Also, a modern B2B website builder should have mobile apps for the admins, sellers, delivery agents etc. so they can run the business on the go from anywhere anytime.
Business customers who are already shopping online and on mobile devices regularly in their personal lives won’t take kindly to a clunky, difficult-to-figure-out wholesale platform.
This why it is important to choose an ecommerce platform that makes it easy for your business buyers to figure out how to place an order whether from a computer or a mobile device.
Just remember, poor user experience is a top reason you will suffer from low buyer adoption of Business to Business ecommerce. So, if your buyers can’t figure it out, they just won’t use it, period.
Similarly, your B2B ecommerce software should offer an intuitive and easy-to-use admin panel for your teams. The learning curve should be smooth for all your internal teams including your IT team. For this, it is best to go with low-code ecommerce platforms that are based on the DIY concept. Such platforms can be easily tweaked and handled by diverse teams and do not require high-end technical skills to run the show.
8. Will it be possible to offer personalised experiences to my buyers using the B2B ecommerce solution?
Yes, you can offer personalisation to your buyers by choosing an advanced B2B website builder that is built on a modular approach and uses a decoupled headless architecture. This will help you tailor and personalize your buyer journeys according to your customers' needs. By offering personalisation on your B2B ecommerce website you can ensure that when your clients login, they see the products they are interested in buying, with the prices or promotions that apply to them (the hallmarks of Business to Business selling).
In this era of hyper-personalization, you might wish to go further and offer some more levels of personalization like support for multiple languages, multi-currency payments, multi-currency invoices, options to choose different types of shipping solutions etc.
With a headless architecture-based business-to-business ecommerce solution you can easily create personalised buyer journeys that engage, convert and retain customers better. Choosing a B2B ecommerce solution that makes personalisation easy can give you an edge over the competition.
Since you are adopting Business to Business ecommerce for the first time, it is understandable that you might be concerned about the costs. However, choosing a B2B website builder that comes with different plans for different stages of your business can be the best option.
Along with this, also find out whether you are getting transparent pricing or there are hidden costs. Hidden costs can be in the form of, premium paid plugins or extensions, SSL and other security costs, hosting solutions/ server space costs etc. If you find a B2B software that takes care of all these aspects and you just have to pay a fixed subscription cost to avail of all the B2B features without paying for plugins, SSL, hosting etc, you are covered.
If you manage to find the best B2B ecommerce platform, it goes without saying that many of your cost savings will be pretty straightforward. For example, you no longer have to print or distribute paper catalogs or you can dramatically reduce your sales negotiations, and have a streamlined supply and order management flow for faster and improved fulfillment.
The thing is, once you start availing of these cost-related benefits, you can even save more budget for moving up the subscription plan as your business grows.
To help you build a a B2B marketplace that stands the test of time, your B2B ecommerce solution must have these important characteristics-
- It must be mobile-friendly in nature
- It must have a modern-looking buyer interface
- It should be agile enough to adapt to dynamic market changes
- You must have access to regular updates and feature additions
- Lastly, it must easily pivot to new business models as and when needed
If you are able to implement all of these, you will have a future-ready solution to grow your business to new markets and customer segments
StoreHippo offers end-to-end business-to-business ecommerce solutions for enterprise brands of every scale and size. The fully hosted and managed ecommerce platform comes with 300+ enterprise-grade features and 120+ integrations that help in building tailor-made solutions for enterprise B2B brands.
Built on the MACH ( Microservices, API-first, Cloud-native, Headless) architecture, StoreHippo gives brands the flexibility, scalability and agility to build out-of-box solutions for their wholesale business. StoreHippo also comes with built-in mobile apps builder that can create apps for Android and iOS. All B2B ecommerce websites and marketplaces powered by StoreHippo are PWAs which means they look and act like native apps when opened in a browser.
With built-in support for a variety of business models like a multi-vendor marketplace,, multi-store network, hyperlocal ecommerce, D2C, B2B2C, omnichannel commerce and any other hybrid business model StoreHippo is the best B2B ecommerce platform to start your businesses’ digital transformation. StoreHippo also offers a host of B2B features like bulk order processing, MOQ, RFQ, pricing overrides, login-based pricing etc. to handle B2B requirements.
StoreHippo’s PCI-DSS compliant platform along with its multi-level security features, SSL, audit log etc. make your website secure and builds trust among your buyers as well as vendors. StoreHippo also comes with multilingual and multi-currency solutions for enterprise brands operating beyond borders.
When you step into the ecommerce arena, you will realize there is a lot to learn (yes, even after knowing the answers to these 10 frequently asked questions). But, luckily for you, with a positive growth forecast for B2B ecommerce, this is just the right time to begin your online journey using the right B2B ecommerce solution for your brand.
Storehippo has been powering a variety of enterprise ecommerce solutions across diverse industry verticals and geolocations. We have been helping brands in the wholesale, distribution, manufacturing and other large-volume business segments achieve their potential by begging their B2b ecommerce journey. Whatever your business model or requirements we have a solution which can be tailored to your unique needs.
Looking forward to starting your own business to business ecommerce website? So, what are you waiting for? Explore the extensive features and the advantages you get by starting StoreHippo 14-day free trial NOW!