by Contributing Author
Life is becoming increasingly digital, with rapid technological advances changing how we conduct business. Statistics published by software giant Salesforce reveal that 48% of B2B businesses already sell products online. That figure will likely reach a staggering 88% within the next three years.
Unfortunately, B2B businesses have trailed behind B2C in shifting from traditional to online trading. However, they must catch up fast, as B2B customers now demand an excellent online experience like B2C customers already enjoy. In fact, studies show that most customers are actually willing to pay a little extra to get that.
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The changing expectations and different buying behaviours have significant implications for your business. Savvy companies are already future-proofing their businesses by transitioning online, thereby ensuring they grab their share of an expanding online market. Most have achieved this by investing in a proprietary B2B eCommerce platform to help them.
BigCommerce is a popular B2B eCommerce solution that has made a niche for itself in low-complexity eCommerce models. It offers a range of built-in themes that allow fast, easy online store creation. However, the downside of those themes is that they can limit the customisation possibilities.
BigCommerce offers a range of pricing plans, each with varying features. Therefore, it is possible to start with the cheapest option and upgrade to the more comprehensive plans that add extra tools such as Google customer reviews, product filters, and price lists as the business grows.
Magento is a well-respected eCommerce solution used extensively by businesses of every size. The platform initially started life as a B2C solution. However, in recent years, a range of extensions and add-ons have been developed that allow it to be used in B2B applications as well.
Those add-ons and extensions make Magento highly customisable, versatile, and scalable to match business growth. However, the downside is that costs can mount up quickly and significantly depending on the selected options, which could be a problem for fledgling businesses working to a limited budget.
nopCommerce is an attractive free option for small businesses wanting to take the plunge into the world of B2B eCommerce but have no budget to invest. It is secure and has unlimited customization possibilities, making it ideal for virtually any application.
Key features of the nopCommerce platform include fast set-up, multi-store and multi-vendor capability, support for multiple currencies and languages, plus adaptive storefronts are also possible. Moreover, further configuration options are possible thanks to a library of available extensions and themes.
For businesses still uncomfortable with digital technology, help is available from the developer with set-up and customization. A quotation for that can be requested directly from nopCommerce.
4. Shopify Plus
Shopify Plus is a popular platform that currently drives more than a million online eCommerce stores. It is a spin-off from the Shopify eCommerce platform that has been around since 2006 and powers 3.76 million websites globally. It is primarily aimed towards enterprise-level organisations looking for something more than the standard Shopify platform offers.
Shopify Plus is a flexible and highly customisable solution that allows sellers operating internationally to offer a localised experience to their customers. The platform includes web hosting with unlimited bandwidth, making it a turnkey solution. At the same time, an impressive feature list makes it perfect for any type of eCommerce business. Furthermore, it integrates with the extensive range of Shopify apps and partners.
While Shopify Plus is a highly customisable, feature-rich, and scalable platform, it is best suited to B2C rather than B2B eCommerce models.
5. Salesforce CloudCraze
Salesforce B2B Commerce Cloud – also commonly referred to simply as CloudCraze – is a solution that offers B2B buyers a seamless, self-service online shopping experience with all the functionality they need.
The platform combines a suite of eCommerce and CRM tools designed to help businesses that regularly handle large, more complex transactions. Those businesses will be able to leverage cross-channel marketing approaches like those used in B2C. Additionally, customers will enjoy an enhanced user experience which will help generate quality leads and nurture strong business relationships with existing and future clients.
6. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Commerce
Microsoft Dynamics 365 Commerce is an eCommerce platform that enjoys the backing of the software giant, Microsoft. It is an omnichannel solution for businesses looking to establish a robust online presence.
The platform enables businesses to connect physical and web stores easily. Tracking customer behaviours is also possible, allowing companies to react to customer needs, for example, by providing personalised experiences. Furthermore, the platform is cloud-based and can integrate frontend operations such as online stores and customer loyalty programmes with backend systems like accounting, resource, and inventory management.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 Commerce offers all the tools needed for virtually any type of business to establish a strong, scalable online presence.
Times are rapidly changing, and increased digitalisation means that a robust online presence catering to customer expectations and demands is crucial for many businesses to survive.
While transitioning from regular commerce to eCommerce can be daunting, the number of platforms now available can ease the process considerably, allowing businesses to secure their share of the online market quickly and affordably.
Most of the platforms listed above have either free trials or demonstrations available, so go ahead and check them out to see what they can do for your business.