In the 21st century, we have seen the evolution of the ecommerce industry. It has completely changed the way we purchased things. Now we don’t need to go to a brick-and-mortar for even buying a packet of salt. There are several ecommerce marketplaces out there where you can find your groceries, fashion apparel, daily needs items, and much more. These marketplaces have become highly popular for vendors to sell their products, consumers to shop, and companies to advertise. There are tons of marketplaces with online shopping facilities, but big players such as Amazon, Flipkart, eBay, etc., have made a significant presence. eCommerce marketplaces give consumers and small-medium businesses a wide range of stock & products to meet their needs. As a consumer, you can compare prices, brands, reviews, and ratings and even purchase at much lower prices.
An ecommerce marketplace is a website or a web app on which different vendors or 3rd party companies can advertise or sell their products or services. All the processes and transactions are processed through the administration of the website. A seller takes all of his inventory & stock information on these platforms and uploads it to the marketplace. These marketplaces are for both consumers as well as small businesses to purchase products from large distributors. It can turn a small, local business into one with an extensive international reach. These marketplaces connect buyers and sellers and the payment processes, deliveries, shipments and provide an extra security layer of security for consumers and assistance for sellers. This article will know in detail the B2B ecommerce marketplace and the best platforms to build a B2B ecommerce marketplace.
B2B eCommerce Marketplace
“Business to Business” or “Company to Company” B2B marketplace allows a business to sell goods or services to other businesses. The businesses involved in B2B marketplaces are large-scale supportive enterprises that offer the equipment that other businesses require to operate and grow. Generally, industrial suppliers or payroll processors are involved in B2B. B2B companies have a completely different target audience. They provide raw materials, services, consultation, finished parts, which other businesses can sell, operate, grow and make a profit.
Essential Features Of The B2B Marketplace
In a B2B marketplace, wholesalers and big businesses sell products to small businesses. Therefore, certain features are required for the smooth functioning of a B2B marketplace. These are:
- Custom Pricing option, payment method, and options of ordering
- Option of personalizing the online storefront (e.g., searching site, navigation, branding)
- Reordering functionality so the customers can make the same order of large quantities easily
- Bulk orders discount functionality
- Minimum Order Quantity set feature
- Restricting access to unregistered users, etc.
- Customers segmentation
- Integration of user’s CRM or ERP software
- Payment options, fast and highly secure checkout
Choosing The Right B2B eCommerce Platform For Your Business
It is essential to choose the right ecommerce platform for your B2B business. In today’s time, the buyers’ way of interaction with your brand and research is changing radically. Customer experience has become the foremost thing. In some cases, it even matters more than the costs. While it is clear that B2B commerce is definitely making strides, and we can observe more in this ecosystem, it is imperative to pick the right platform which is truly built to support B2B commerce. Here are some factors that you must consider:
1. Multiple Buyers Can Easily From You
You can find many vendors claiming themselves as top B2B ecommerce, but only a few have B2B-specific core features. In the top-class B2B platforms, there is a built-in functionality by which businesses with multiple buyers to purchase from you using the same account. The B2B platform should support the setting of different kinds of roles and permissions for those buyers.
2. Customization Abilities
You must be able to quote prices apart from enabling standard orders so you can craft personalized offers for large or made-to-order requests. You could even negotiate with your customer, convert the quote to an order after the final agreement, and check online. Presenting custom catalogs and pricing to different customers is equally important.
3. Quick Ordering Ability
In B2B business, there are frequently repeated orders with the same set of items, which makes quick ordering functionality essential. The platform should enable buyers to quickly and efficiently place such orders by either quickly typing in or uploading SKUs they want, creating an order from a previous order, or setting up standard shopping lists that can quickly add to the cart.
4. Strong Content Development
In B2B ecommerce, there are complex and high-consideration products. You need to present rich content by which buyers can do proper research. Providing product details, including specs, computer-aided design (CAD) drawings, usage, configuration guides, volume pricing, reviews, etc., will easily allow buyers to do their research. You must have a platform by which you can create, schedule, and publish everything on your own.
5. Flexibility Is Key
The B2B ecommerce platform must fit your current business requirements and the future business models and strategies you want to deploy. E.g., in the future, you may want to reach the D2C business as well. It should also support different models. E.g., many companies are looking to sell services as well as products to augment their revenues.
6. B2B Buyers Are Also Mobile
Mobile commerce is not a fresh perspective now; instead has become imperative for every business, including B2B. Nearly 80% of the B2B buyers use mobile at work, and nearly two-thirds report that mobile played a significant role in a recent purchase. Thus the platform should be mobile friendly to serve buyers even on the go.
Top B2B Marketplace Platforms
After a lot of research, we find these platforms best for the B2B ecommerce operations. Let’s know about these platforms in brief:
1. Magento Commerce Cloud
Magento Commerce Cloud is a perfectly suitable platform. It is a cloud-hosted paid edition of Magento and comes with many existing additional features. As a store owner, you don’t need to worry about the server and forget all queries related to speed and performance. In Magento Commerce Cloud, there are many dedicated features for B2B businesses making it the first option for B2B businesses.
a. Requisition Lists
The B2B customers can maintain the Requisition lists, which are almost similar to the wishlist, but the products can’t be removed after being purchased. Requisition lists are used for making easier the reordering of products. For instance, the requisition list items can be easily added to a shopping cart or moved or copied from one requisition list to another.
b. Pre-Integrated Modules For Tax, Payments, & Shipping
Magento Commerce Cloud comes with multiple options to define taxes. You can use tax classes to define tax rules. Tax rules are a combination of Product Class, Customer Class, Tax Zone, and Rate. It also supports VAT calculation for B2B transactions in the European Union. Also, it comes with many default payments and shipping options, among which you can choose as per your business. You can also integrate 3rd party shipping providers using APIs.
An authorized buyer can be added using B2B quotes. The buyer will now able to initiate a price quote from the shopping cart. The merchants can manage quote requests from the admin interface, check out communication history between buyer and seller, save views, and export data.
d. Company Accounts
In this feature, the visitor on the Magento store can request opening a company account, or the admin can create a company account. After approving the company account, the Company Administrator can set up the Company Structure, add Users and Teams, assign Roles and Permissions, and manage the Company Profile all from the storefront.
e. Company Credit
The merchants can give a credit line to B2B customers using the B2B company credit, who may then make purchases on their account up to their allowed credit limit. There is a Credit Activity dashboard from where the merchants can monitor issued and utilized credit.
f. Automatic Order Approval
In the Magento 2.4 and better versions, the order approval lets the buyers configure customization approval rules based on order value, number of SKUs, and shipping costs. Thus companies can configure their purchase order policy needs and manage the buyers and approval workflows.
2. Shopify Plus B2B Commerce
With Shopify Plus, you can automate the sales process and empowers your ecommerce operations in your B2B or wholesale customers. Shopify Plus will help from scratch to end and would be really beneficial in having extra control over how the B2B buyers will interact with your store. It lets you integrate with CMS, ERP, Product Information Management, CRM< WMS, and IMS. Integration of these capabilities in your B2B store will help in multiple ways. Let’s know about the other capabilities of Shopify Plus for B2B businesses:
a. Personalized Sales & Marketing Experiences
Shopify Plus offers a highly personalized and brandable checkout experience. You can personalize the checkout directly, where you will customize the way people process payments. Shopify Plus also allows tailoring the marketing strategies as per the customer demands. Also, it is the only platform in Shopify which allows you to add more functionalities at the checkout level.
b. Low Initial Cost
In comparison to other B2B solutions, Shopify Plus is quite pocket-friendly. The initial setup costs are lower, and thus, even if you are a startup or a new business, you can opt for this platform. The same might not be true with the case of Magento Commerce Cloud.
c. Flexible Payment Options
In Shopify Plus, you can also enjoy classic Shopify features, such as abandoned cart recovery and multiple payment options. The customers will be able to make payments through Amazon Pay, PayPal, Apple Pay, etc.
d. Wholesale Channel
Wholesale Channel is one of the best features of Shopify Plus. This feature allows you to create a separate wholesale store as an offshoot of your existing Shopify store. You can also use it for offering volume-based pricing, review orders before invoicing, automate wholesale customer signups, and much more.
3. Shopware Enterprise: B2B eCommerce
Shopware B2B suite comes with a powerful core and the API-first approach. It is a valuable & comprehensive module for meeting the complex requirements of B2B business models. It has been developed as per the complex requirements of a wide range of B2B business models and is perfectly tailored to the needs of wholesalers and their customers.
a. API-First Approach Gives You Ultimate Freedom
Because of the API-first approach, Shopware gives a lot of flexibility for implementing different technical scenarios. Thus, you can manage the processes and automate them via API from CRM, ERP, PIM, and other systems in an automated manner.
b. Faster Orders Through File Uploads
In a Shopware store, the buyers can upload the files to the Shopping cart so the admin can check and process the order. These files will be saved with the order. The uploaded files can be viewed and downloaded by the customer in the customer account under “Orders” at any time.
c. Powerful B2B Suite For Complex Projects
The Shopware B2B suite has been developed to meet the complex demands of B2B models, including rights and role management, fast ordering, quote and budget administration, and new quotation management for sales representatives.
d. Content Commerce Meets B2B
The intuitive user guidance allows you to create landing pages, category pages, product detail pages easily. Content commerce can thus enter the B2B world independently of the end device.
e. Easy Internationalisation
Shopware understands the importance of global trade and offers language packages, an international ecosystem, multilingual administration, pricing rules based on the shipping country, freely configurable country shops, multi-currency, and multi-client capability.
4. WooCommerce B2B
Although WooCommerce is a plugin that gives ecommerce features to a normal web application built on WordPress CMS, it is powerful enough to support complex ecommerce stores, including B2B marketplaces. It will add all the features & functionalities to sell your stuff online. Also, just like WordPress, WooCommerce is an Open-Source plugin. It includes all the essential features every online store needs, including shopping carts, payment gateways, and a streamlined checkout process. On top of that, you also get access to advanced features such as tax management and a comprehensive extension system. Here are a few reasons to choose WooCommerce for your B2B marketplace platform:
a. Multi-Level User / Company Accounts
In WooCommerce, you can create multiple customer levels or types. You can add customer level/type based pricing rules; hide pricing from non-registered customers, auto thresholds (e.g., sales volume, paid membership), manual override/assignment of a customer level, add customer level/type based product view rules.
b. Company Based Catalog
For B2B customers, you can hide or show products and categories to particular user roles to optimize the catalog visibility.
c. Request A Quote
WooCommerce comes with a powerful “Request a quote” feature for hiding prices from a set of customers and replacing the “add to cart” button with the “add to quote” button.
d. Prices & Tax Display
In WooCommerce, you can choose to display prices inclusive or exclusive taxes depending upon the roles of customers. For example, you can choose to display prices inclusive of taxes to general customers and inclusive of taxes to wholesalers.
Taking your traditional wholesale business online can be the best business decision you ever take. There are many platforms with next-level B2B features that allow you to expand your business and increase sales. In this article, we have gone through the top-level B2B platforms. At Emizentech, the best ecommerce development company in India, we have expertise in developing B2B ecommerce stores with complex features & functionalities. Let us know your requirements.