Illustration by Jennifer Tapias Derch
Should B2B ecommerce be the space you enter (or expand to) next?
The market says yes. People who drive purchasing decisions for companies do their research online—on social media, on vendor websites, and search engines—but 38% of wholesalers and 61% of manufacturers don’t have an ecommerce website.
B2B ecommerce, or business-to-business digital commerce, is a business model in which one company sells to another company (instead of to a consumer). The global B2B ecommerce market was valued at almost $15 trillion in 2020—five times the size of the B2C ecommerce market.
We’ve previously covered B2B ecommerce foundations and how B2B differs from B2C ecommerce. This guide will take you through the best B2B ecommerce platforms, features to look for, and criteria to consider.
Table of contents
- 15 best B2B ecommerce platforms to choose from
- Features your B2B ecommerce platform should have
- What makes a B2B ecommerce platform excellent?
15 best B2B ecommerce platforms to choose from
- Shopify Plus
- NetSuite Commerce
- Adobe Commerce
- TrueCommerce Netalogue
- B2B Commerce Cloud
1. Shopify Plus
Shopify Plus is a modern, flexible ecommerce platform that makes it easy to serve both B2B and DTC customers from one central place. Shopify’s Wholesale Channel allows you to offer personalized buying experiences with access to customer-specific products and pricing, and the ability to automate internal workflows.
You can integrate Shopify Plus with other systems you use, like enterprise resource planning (ERP) and content management systems (CMS). Collaborate with Shopify Plus partners to implement the best marketing tools, customer support system, order management, and more.
Companies like Beard & Blade, Laird Superfood, and Death Wish Coffee use Shopify Plus to sell to consumers and other businesses.
The key features and functionalities of Shopify Plus include:
- Custom pricing options. Show your B2B customers personalized pricing based on who they are and the products and quantities they’re purchasing. Set up price lists and discounts for each of your B2B customers. .
- Personalized buyer experiences. Run separate storefronts for your B2B and DTC customers without added complexity. Manage orders and inventory for both sides all on one central platform
Customer accounts portal. Instead of taking orders manually over the phone or by email, let your B2B customers place orders with you 24/7 with access to their pricing and products.
BigCommerce is a hybrid ecommerce platform for companies that sell to wholesale and retail customers.
BigCommerce B2B Edition is a combination of the BigCommerce Enterprise plan and BundleB2B, one of the company's app partners. It comes with six themes and a partner ecosystem for additional integrations.
BigCommerce serves B2B customers like United Aqua Group and Farmer Boy.
The key features and functionalities of BigCommerce include:
- Shared shopping lists. Make it easy for customers to create and share multiple shopping lists for easy future reference and purchase saved products.
- Invoice portal. Give customers easy access to due invoices so they can pay them by credit card, ACH, purchase order, and other payment methods.
- Sales representative quoting. Sales reps can create custom quotes and offer discounts to customers in addition to predefined pricing.
OroCommerce is an open-source B2B ecommerce platform for mid-market and enterprise companies, including distributors, manufacturers, wholesalers, and large retailers.
You can use OroCommerce to cover up to 80% of B2B functionality, and configure the remaining 20% with open-source technology and dynamic APIs at no extra cost.
The key features and functionalities of OroCommerce include:
- Promotions management. Offer one-time coupons, scheduled discounts, and ongoing deals. Set up custom promotions like line item discounts, free shipping, and “buy X, get Y” deals.
- Multiple price lists. Manage different price lists for large buyers, different business units, or individual customers. Set up different price points, tiers, and currencies.
Content management system. Maintain different media formats and product pages from a single CMS.
4. NetSuite Commerce
NetSuite Commerce is an ecommerce solution for B2B and B2C merchants who want to create engaging shopping experiences. It integrates with the core NetSuite business systems for a single view of customers, inventory, and orders.
NetSuite Commerce serves B2B customers like Barcoding. and Bailey Hydraulics. Some of its B2C customers include Ryan’s Pet Supplies and Thompson Tee.
The key features and functionalities of NetSuite Commerce include:
- Rich customer profiles. Rely on a centralized customer database that includes details from all channels and touchpoints.
- Purchasing tools. Make it easy for customers to make bulk orders, request a quote and turn it into an order, and reorder items from past purchases. Build curated online catalogs for different segments of your B2B buyers.
- Reporting and analytics. Analyze what shoppers do on your site—including traffic, lead generation, average order value, and back-in-stock requests—and use this to improve your marketing and sales activities.
WooCommerce is an open-source ecommerce platform for WordPress websites. It works as a WordPress plug-in and adds shopping features, like payments, shipping, and order management, to any WordPress site.
From there, you can use extensions to add additional functionalities to your store, like subscriptions, multiple currencies, 360 product image rotation, and more. You can also work with a verified partner, called a WooExpert, to get additional help with your site setup, implementation, and development.
For B2B sales, there’s WooCommerce B2B, a plug-in that adds additional features you need for selling to B2B companies.
The key features and functionalities of WooCommerce B2B include:
- Customer groups. Organize your customers in groups so you can show or hide product prices, discounts, stock levels, categories, shipping methods, payment options, and more for each group.
- Separate B2B registration. Create different pages for login and registration for different groups, and add additional fields to forms if needed. You can allow or decline specific customers to buy from your store.
- Custom quantities and amounts. Set a minimum or maximum purchase quantity, incremental quantities for packaging, and minimum purchase amounts for the groups you choose.
6. Adobe Commerce (formerly Magento)
Adobe Commerce is an ecommerce platform for companies serving B2C and B2B customers. Adobe acquired Magento, a well-known ecommerce solution, in 2018 and turned it into Adobe Commerce.
Adobe Commerce offers a central location for your B2C and B2B operations, including product catalog, inventory management, custom price lists, sales channels, countries, and custom pricing. It serves customers like HP, Liebherr, and FoodServiceDirect.com.
The key features and functionalities of Adobe Commerce include:
- Headless commerce. Use APIs to create app-like experiences on any customer touchpoint, including VR, AR, single- and multi-page web apps, mobile apps, and internet of things (IoT) devices.
- Inventory and order management. Access real-time product inventory, even when you’re selling online for in-store pickup or home delivery, operating multiple brands, and using different warehouses.
- Visual reporting. Reports and dashboards that display important metrics for easier decision making. Export data in different formats, set up permission levels, and set up automations to receive reports on a predefined schedule.
PrestaShop is a free open-source ecommerce platform serving more than 300,000 businesses of all sizes. If you sell directly to consumers, it’s easy to get started with PrestaShop.
To add more robust ecommerce functionalities, you’ll need additional modules from PrestaShop’s official marketplace. B2B-specific modules add features like B2B registration, payment rules, VAT verifications, and custom discounts.
PrestaShop serves customers like Danone, Freshly Cosmetics, Sheds Direct, and Cooltra.
The key features and functionalities of PrestaShop include:
- Loyalty program for wholesale customers. Encourage B2B buyers to buy more by giving rewards for their orders so they can convert them into vouchers or even withdraw them to their bank account.
- Product quotation. Encourage customers to click on the Quote button if a product is out of stock. You can choose to show it only to specific customer groups or for specific products.
- Custom payment methods. Show or hide payment methods based on products, categories, brands, suppliers, cart range, and user groups.
8. TrueCommerce Netalogue
TrueCommerce Netalogue is a B2B solution for wholesale, manufacturing, and distribution companies. It’s a suite of over 300 features for all types of B2B scenarios.
This solution makes online ordering seamless. It reduces admin work on the back end, thanks to integrations with ERP systems like SAP, Sage, Oracle, and Microsoft.
TrueCommerce Netalogue helps B2B customers like Poole Lighting, Madison, and Bunzl.
The key features and functionalities of TrueCommerce Netalogue include:
- Quick order entry. Customers can type in, copy/paste, or upload a CSV list of products to quickly add them to checkout. At the same time, they can see stock levels and prices.
- Advanced product search. Use comprehensive product attributes to help your customers search for products and filter results. This makes it easy to navigate large product ranges and compare options.
- Promotions. Run targeted promotions to reach new customers and increase sales. Use advanced promotion capabilities to target specific customers or groups.
9. Shift4Shop (formerly 3dcart)
Shift4Shop, formerly known as 3dcart, is an ecommerce solution for both B2C and B2B sellers. It’s a platform for creating intuitive shopping experiences that feel like B2C, even if you’re a reseller, wholesaler, or manufacturer.
TruTech Tools, Kitchen Restock, and Tigerpak are some of its successful B2B customers.
The key features and functionalities of Shift4Shop include:
- Sales rep management. If your company has sales representatives, you can set them up for success inside your ecommerce platform. Assign and track progress of sales reps, view performance reports, and manage commissions.
- SEO and marketing. Optimize and list your ecommerce site on search engines, automate XML maps, and automatically generate optimized product URLs. Manage Google Shopping, Facebook integration, and even abandoned cart emails.
- Advanced shipping and freight. Set up shipping with integrated carriers worldwide and specify shipping rates for different customer groups.
NuORDER is a B2B platform made for both brands and retailers. It helps brands run their wholesale business and makes it easy for retailers to visualize assortments, find the right products, and place orders.
With NuORDER, buying and merchandising teams can share ideas, plan assortments, and build entire product collections.
NuORDER partners with brands like Asics, Nordstrom, Steve Madden, and Bloomingdale’s. It serves more than 3,000 brands and 500,000 retailers.
The key features and functionalities of NuORDER include:
- Virtual showroom. Create an immersive buying experience with 360 and 3D imagery. Let customers zoom in for details and interact with products in a new way, view videos, and click on hotspots to instantly shop what they see.
- Reporting. Spot sales trends and potential business opportunities. Review KPIs by sales rep, product, region, and other filters. View monthly reports and track improvement with seasonal comparisons.
- Custom user experience. Create personalized digital linesheets for important retail accounts. Set discounts and custom pricing for specific customer groups or locations. Send key customers pre-populated shopping carts.
CS-Cart is an all-in-one ecommerce platform for creating marketplaces. It’s also a B2B ecommerce solution for manufacturers and wholesalers who want to automate and streamline their cooperation with purchasers.
Thousands of online stores run on CS-Cart. They serve business customers in areas like medical supplies, electronics, furniture, office equipment, agriculture, and more.
The key features and functionalities of CS-Cart include:
- Warehouses: If you have multiple warehouses, CS-Cart allows you to track and display different stock levels and delivery periods for each.
- In-stock notifications: Let your customers subscribe for back-in-stock emails when a product they’re looking for is currently unavailable.
- Third-party integrations: Use a powerful API to integrate your store with systems like accounting, CRM, analytics, product information management (PIM), and more.
OpenCart is an open-source ecommerce platform. It makes it easy to start an ecommerce business for free with essential features.
If you want advanced features and custom themes, Open Cart’s marketplace offers more than 13,000 modules and extensions. You’ll find free and paid add-ons for additional features, including marketing, contact forms, SEO, quick checkout, wholesale management, and more.
OpenCart powers more than 400,000 ecommerce websites, including British Red Cross and Urban Pets.
The key features and functionalities of OpenCart include:
- Multi-store. Use one admin interface to manage multiple stores. Set up store-specific settings, including different product prices, product ranges, themes, and names.
- Localization. Sell in any currency around the world, with automatic rates updates and different taxes. Set up your store in multiple languages, and choose from more than 40 languages.
- B2B-specific extensions. Set up customer groups, quote requests, automated vendor emails, product lists, subdomains, custom dashboards, and more.
13. B2B Commerce Cloud (formerly Insite Commerce)
B2B Commerce Cloud is Optimizely’s B2B ecommerce solution. Optimizely acquired Insite Commerce in 2019 and turned it into this product.
It’s fully configurable so your B2B store can match the look of your brand. It connects to ERP solutions and other software systems you need to run your business smoothly.
B2B Commerce Cloud counts more than 9,000 customers, including DSG, Amerhart, and Consolidated Supply Co.
The key features and functionalities of B2B Commerce Cloud include:
- Product configuration. Set up product configuration options for specific products and offer accurate quotes to customers based on how they configured a product. Make it easy to instantly purchase.
- Product management. Easily update multiple products at once through a grid-based interface. Import product catalogs and complete product information based on previous data-mapping logic.
- Quotations. Quote your customers globally in multiple languages and currencies. Make it easy for customers to turn quotes into orders and tweak their order before checking out.
Pepperi is a B2B sales platform for building a self-serve portal for your B2B customers. You can use it to bring omnichannel to a single platform and customize buyer journeys for specific customers. It works as a self-service portal.
Pepperi counts more than 1,000 customers of all sizes, including CPG brands like Dermalogica, SodaStream, and Kimberly-Clark.
The key features and functionalities of Pepperi include:
- Central configuration. Set up catalogs, pricing, workflows, and promotions in one place and use across all channels, including field sales, retail, web, and mobile.
- Order management. Consolidate, validate, and approve orders based on your business workflows and rules. View any order as part of the full customer profile, along with their invoices, payments, returns, and more.
- Trade promotions. Expose your customers to more products through cross-selling and upselling so you never end up with dead stock. Manage all promotions across channels in one interface.
NopCommerce is an open-source ecommerce platform for businesses ranging from small to global. Like other open-source solutions on our list, nopCommerce is free to get started with.
From there, you can check out nopCommerce’s marketplace to add advanced features to your store through paid themes and extensions.
More than 60,000 stores run on nopCommerce, including Volvo Cars, BMW Group, and Herbalife.
The key features and functionalities of nopCommerce include:
- Multi-store. Run multiple stores from a single nopCommerce installation. Manage different domains for different brands, B2B and B2C stores, affiliates, and more from a single admin panel.
- Unlimited customization. Use the flexible architecture and open-source code to customize the platform to your business model, processes, and relationships with suppliers and customers.
- Partner network. Collaborate with solution, hosting, and technology partners to outsource expertise you need to build the right store for your ecommerce business needs.
Features your B2B ecommerce platform should have
When you’re selling to business customers, you’re still selling to humans. All ecommerce best practices and principles still apply.
But the buying process these humans go through is slightly different compared to DTC customers. B2B buyers have business processes to follow, budgets to fit into, and needs of their end customers to fulfill.
Here are B2B features to look for when choosing your ecommerce platform.
Separate storefronts for B2B and DTC customers
Consumers might want to use a discount code you sent them and browse through your bestsellers while drinking coffee. Business customers need to fill their own store with the products you sell.
If you try to cater to both of them with a single storefront, you’ll likely miss the mark twice. Instead, build separate storefronts so you can customize buyer experience based on what your visitor is looking for.
The best ecommerce platforms will let you do this while sharing data between the two storefronts in the backend. This way, you’ll reduce operational overhead and inventory headaches while creating excellent buyer journeys for both types of customers.
Customer account options for business customers
Choose a platform that empowers your customers to browse, order, and reorder products on their own.
If you’re worried self-service tools will deter potential customers, consider this: as much as 86% of customers prefer this way of shopping over contacting a sales rep. It’s no surprise—with the right ecommerce software, self-serve B2B buying feels like a comfortable, B2C-like online shopping experience.
Make sure the platform you choose gives your customers the details they need to make a decision and complete a purchase, such as:
- Real-time stock counts and prices
- Advanced product search
- Easy access to previous quotes and orders
- Product lists and reordering capabilities
- Order tracking
Self-serve options will let your customers order from you 24/7 and prevent unnecessary emails, phone calls, and follow-ups.
Customized, personalized customer experiences
When it comes to personalization, B2B and DTC customers are no different. Both crave a shopping experience that feels tailored to them. Businesses selling to businesses seem to agree: 93% of B2B professionals attribute revenue growth to website personalization.
Ecommerce personalization for DTC customers includes tactics like recommended products, retargeting, and showing relevant user-generated content.
But business customers have more complex needs, requirements, and processes. They’ll look for relevant, timely information like:
- Custom pricing and discounts
- Shipping and freight rates for their location and order size
- Easy access to products they’ve previously viewed and/or ordered
- Previously agreed payment methods
- Quick-access pages, categories, or brands based on their role, previous orders, and other criteria
The key is to make these details and pages easy to access, and the journey seamless and intuitive.
Space for detailed product information
Your business customers need comprehensive product information so they can distill it into the most useful product descriptions for their end customers.
Go beyond the product descriptions you use on your DTC storefront and consider adding:
- A full, categorized list of all product features
- As many use cases as possible
- Detailed dimensions
- Design and style specifications
- High-quality images and videos
Your ecommerce platform should make product details easy to add (for you) and navigate (for your customers).
Contextual, customized pricing
When you’re selling to businesses, one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to pricing. A local small business and a global multimillion-dollar store might need the same products from you, but their budgets and quantity needs will be at odds.
Your ecommerce platform needs to make it easy to offer custom pricing based on parameters like:
- Specific customer making the order
- Products added to the shopping cart
- Quantities of products the customer is buying
- Location when selling to international buyers
Your customers will then see personalized pricing, discounts, currencies, exchange rates, and tax information. You’ll save time you and the customer would spend on the back-and-forth to set this up, creating a delightful customer experience.
Customer relationship management (CRM) for rich customer profiles
The B2B buying process is quite complex. About 95% of business buyers make purchase decisions collaboratively, often with up to five people. This means their journey isn’t linear, and you need a way to store rich customer profiles.
When selling directly to consumers, you have their name, email address, and details of previous orders. For business customers, this isn’t enough.
A great solution for B2B selling lets you store and surface details like company locations, user permissions, payment terms, custom pricing, tax ID, and multiple contacts.
Payments that can be made later, and tracked easily.
B2B payments are peculiar because they often aren’t paid at the time of purchase. Instead, business customers want to make draft orders and pay for them later.
Keeping track of this can get messy. When is each payment due? How will you remember to follow up with a customer? What’s the best way to view your cash flow based on outstanding payments?
Payment flexibility is great for user experience, but the manual process of tracking and following up can eat up hours of your time each week. Find an ecommerce platform that can automate tedious payments work, charge vaulted cards at checkout and on draft orders, and send scheduled payment reminders.
Checkout with context and custom information
Do your customers have all the details they need when completing their purchase? If they don’t, they might abandon their cart to look for information they need—and never come back.
Here are some details you should be able to feature in your checkout:
- Custom payment terms and options
- Wholesale prices and discounts
- Access to vaulted cards for easy checkout
- Location-specific information
- Product recommendations based on previous orders for easy reordering
- Prices including and excluding VAT
Adding this will give your customers full control over their purchase and the confidence they have everything they need to proceed.
What makes a B2B ecommerce platform excellent?
It’s not just about ecommerce features. Here are additional factors to consider when narrowing down your list of B2B ecommerce solutions.
It’s intuitive and easy to use
Many B2B-oriented software products are stuck in the past. They look outdated and take ages to deploy, often relying on an army of developers. It will slow you down in the beginning and every time you want to upgrade your website.
Ditch the legacy software and opt for a solution that’s easy to use and supports quick deployment.
This can include templates for custom pages on your website or a drag-and-drop editor so you can tweak sections. Navigating the platform should be straightforward and intuitive.
Most importantly, it shouldn’t take weeks or months to make changes your customers need right now.
It’s flexible and matches your needs
Let’s say you want your vendor signup forms to have five fields, but the platform forces you to have at least seven. Or you want to offer a wide range of payment methods, but you can only offer two.
Platform limitations will force you to make compromises and tradeoffs. They’ll shape the customer experiences you create. How will they influence new visitors who want to buy from you for the first time? Will they discourage existing ones from ordering from you again?
Take note of the customizations you need and look for a platform with features, integrations, and support that match them.
It’s scalable and grows along with you
If you’re already serving B2B customers in some capacity, your ecommerce platform shouldn’t just match your needs right now. It should easily grow and expand just as your business does.
Let’s say your ecommerce store currently sells to 100 business customers. Will the same platform work for you if that number jumps to 500? What about 2,000?
Without scalability built right in, you’ll run into a wall as you grow. You’ll be forced to change platforms, which will take your precious time away from driving your business forward. Plan to scale right from the start to avoid this.
It’s secure and reliable.
Your business and customer data need to be safe and secure, but not by adding more to your plate. It needs to be your chosen platform’s default.
Does the ecommerce platform have a secure network and regularly test it? Does it protect cardholder data? Is there an information security policy in place?
Pay attention to compliance standards including:
- PCI (a payments security standard)
- GDPR (a legal framework for protecting personal data)
- ISO 27001 (an international standard for information security)
- SOC 2 (a compliance standard for service organizations)
A recent report uncovered that retail suffers the most ransomware attacks among more than a dozen industries. Choose a platform that will protect you from security challenges.
Choose your B2B ecommerce platform
B2B is the right place to be in 2022. The right platform will streamline your back end, empower your customers to use self-serve tools, automate manual tasks, and customize every customer touchpoint.