B2B ecommerce for distributors: Top 7 solution platforms
Ecommerce has become an inevitable trend that companies, even B2B companies, need to catch up with. B2B eCommerce for distributors can be a great way to increase sales and reach new customers. By 2023, B2B e-commerce is expected to account for 17% of all B2B sales in the US, totaling $1.8 trillion.
However, implementing B2B for e-commerce distributors is not child's play. Unlike B2C, the customer buying process in the B2B model is extremely complex due to the involvement of many people, from the C-suite to the purchasing and finance team. Also, the value of each order is absolutely huge. As a result, customers take a lot of time to choose the final supplier and carefully consider which product is the best for their business.
Common E-Commerce Challenges B2B Distributors Face
B2B business complications
Some B2B companies believe that e-commerce is not an option for them due to the complex features of this model. The purchasing process is complicated because it involves multiple stakeholders (C-suite managers, purchasing teams, finance departments, etc.) and multiple stages.
When buying a B2B product or a B2B service, customers also want to avoid switching providers, as switching leads to time-consuming processes or higher costs.
The most common concerns when building a B2B eCommerce system for merchants are:
- Pricing in contracts.
- Terms and agreements for customers.
- Exclusive products.
- Different payment and shipping options.
While these interesting points are to be explored with your e-commerce technology provider, they are not a barrier to transforming your business. With the right e-commerce solution, you can easily overcome these obstacles.
Staff technical skills
Implementing e-commerce tools seems like a daunting task for employees familiar with the technology and features of E-Commerce systems must become familiar with. Your team may struggle at first to deal with the new e-commerce initiative. In addition, employees face the problem of “resistance to change”. Sales reps can feel threatened by new purchasing tools. The IT team suspects that the new website is not secure and could disrupt the process.
Therefore, business owners and managers should have a plan to train employees before implementing any new system. Of course, it takes time. However, when you think about the long-term success of your business, it's a risk worth taking.
Unlike B2C customers, B2B buyers have complex buying processes, especially in the buying phase.
It's not that easy to enter credit card information or log into a PayPal account. For high-value orders, businesses need a secure money transfer method that involves banks. In e-commerce, B2B companies often use ACH payments.
Not only payment problems but companies also need to take care of others when using an e-commerce system, including an optimal solution, involved in the customer acquisition process, payment requirements and shipping integration and manager approvals. Not every e-commerce solution can solve these problems. Depends on the platform and the integrations and features it offers.
How To Build A B2B eCommerce Site
Define the requirements of your project
After analyzing the business, the market, and the competition, you will know what your B2B e-commerce site really needs. There are 5 elements retailers need to pay attention to and clearly define their requirements.
You don't need to focus on every product. You cannot load all your articles on the homepage because your website will confuse the audience! Simply define your top-selling products and display them on the front page. Consider starting with high-margin products that give you the opportunity to earn more.
Catalog and Navigation
Before you upload your products, it is crucial to decide how to organize them. Customers can easily discover items online. Merchants can filter items by size, width, color, brand, shape, price, etc.
Developing a tax approach to sales is a must before starting any eCommerce website. Merchants can use services like TaxJar or Avalara to calculate taxes in real-time at checkout.
It will be easier to accelerate the completion processing and reduce risks by integrating your eCommerce website with an ERP system. It is known as the lifeblood of any meaningful collaboration and, when properly integrated, can provide many financial and other benefits.
You don't want that customers abandon carts before completing checkout because there are no payment options, right? Therefore, eCommerce distributors should choose a solution that offers more payment methods and allows integration options if necessary.
Consider your resources
Consider your resources such as money, human resources and technical skills if you are not using want to deal with problems. Developing an eCommerce website requires you to invest a lot of money and time. Merchants spend money to hire a development team to create a website for them and even take the time to train employees.
Choose the right platform
By combining what you need and what you have, you will be able to paint the picture of your ideal e-commerce solution. Each platform includes features based on the level of programming experience and usability.
And of course, the cost of each platform varies in a number of ways. Therefore, it's important to determine your organization's capabilities and choose the right platform.
Hire a development team
Before choosing or considering a technology partner, e-commerce distributors should look for more information on their capabilities when reviewing their portfolios. By reading client reviews and researching previous projects, you can assess the team's qualifications.
A competent technology company should have experience in a variety of businesses and professions, including your own. It shows that they have the necessary experience to build your project with low risk.
Crucial features of a B2B eCommerce distribution website
Advanced Search Function
E-commerce distributors have thousands of products with different SKUs, making the product search a challenge for every customer. With modern search capabilities, your site's user experience will improve and your e-commerce strategy will likely succeed.
Providing consumers with efficient search capabilities like faceted search can lead to increased buyer engagement and, ultimately more sales. If you're considering the need for an e-commerce platform for distributors, put search functionality at the top of your list.
Some merchandises are available in certain markets. In some cases, a product may have different prices and shipping policies in different regions. Therefore, retailers need an e-commerce solution that supports their digital commerce strategy, as certain items may be sold in certain areas or to certain customers, and shipping costs and alternatives vary by region.
Product recommendations are a great approach to making it easier for customers to buy while increasing the potential for cross- and up-selling. Cross-promotion often draws consumers' attention to items they didn't know the retailer was offering when customers switch from offline to online purchases.
By setting up an eCommerce website, retailers can create highly personalized experiences, mainly for product pages, homepages and shopping carts.
Ultimately, using customer data to suggest products, such as geography or demographics, results in a huge increase in conversions and a decrease in cart abandonment.
Customers only think for a few seconds about whether they should return to your website or not. If your website is attractive and interesting, visitors will come back to browse your online store and search for items. As a result, your store's bounce rate may decrease while increasing the likelihood of a purchase.
Merchants need to improve their website's user experience and user interface (UX/UI) to enhance the B2B customer experience.
A simple layout, easy navigation, and user-friendly interface can help you keep customers on your website. Marketers can enhance their content by adding creative videos and images that are more visually appealing than text. And the ideal answer for a website interface is to choose a platform that offers all customization options today and in the future.
Omni-channel is a multi-channel distribution strategy that provides customers with a seamless experience across all channels. In this way, the company can determine the views and interests of customers.
You can use this information to better align goals and messaging across channels, resulting in a better customer experience. Omni-channel is fast becoming a must-have feature for online stores that want to be successful.
B2B eCommerce platforms for distributors
BigCommerce B2B e-commerce platform is popular with distributors who want an easy-to-integrate solution. That's one of BigCommerce's key selling points, with the cooperation of some well-known brands like ShipperHQ, BrightPearl, and others.
Merchants can create custom shipping rates for B2B buyers and sync data across their CRM, ERP, OMS, and other platforms. Shoppers can emulate Amazon's one-click simplicity with instant reordering and listing tools.
The B2B offering is relatively new, so there are no customer numbers yet. However, over 60,000 brands use BigCommerce for their B2C eCommerce sites, including Avery Dennison, Toyota, and The Real Yellow Pages.
A recent update is that the B2B eCommerce platform launched last year, so no major updates have been released at the time of writing.
When we talk about a shopping cart solution, the B2B e-commerce platform Shopify is worth mentioning. It is a popular SaaS platform that offers many possibilities such as a powerful API or detailed analytics. There is a wide range of instructions: documentation, private online, and group consultations.
The target of Shopify Plus is to serve the needs of eCommerce businesses, particularly large ones. With an exceedingly simple and basic user interface, customers can use it easily without having too much knowledge about technology. There is also developed support. You can get information on everything via chat or phone call.
In eCommerce circles, Magento came out and caused quite a stir due to its highly customizable and scalable features. It's a great option for those looking for the best B2B eCommerce platforms.
After being acquired by Adobe, Magento currently has two editions. The first is Magento Open Source (formerly Magento Community), a free version that requires Magento hosting. The other is Adobe Commerce, formerly Magento Enterprise, the premium version of Magento.
In comparison between Magento Commerce and Magento Open Source, Magento Commerce offers customers a better business experience. This enterprise e-commerce platform offers a wider range of out-of-the-box features including B2B data, features, security, customizable solutions, etc.
Magento Commerce supports many different languages and currencies,... Moreover, this aids in building an ideal B2B eCommerce website, with features like promo and discount code tools, easy payment, search engine, SEO support and analytics tool. If you are looking for a solution for your omni-channel business, Magento Commerce will be the best choice.
However, implementing Magento is not easy for non-tech users. That is the reason why eCommerce distributors need a professional and seasoned development team to build an optimal eCommerce system based on Magento Commerce.
PrestaShop is an effective eCommerce distribution solution for resellers as it is an open-source platform full of customizable customization options. It provides many simple shop modding tools which are presented in a clean, small and easy-to-use interface. In addition, the payment function of the PrestaShop platform is rated as very versatile, offering a wide range of payment methods, which is convenient for customers to purchase their carts.
With more than 1500 templates and a large number of configurable themes, customization features of PrestaShop will help you fully categorize products, create search engine tools to make it easy to navigate your store, and set up alternative payment methods.
WooCommerce is the official eCommerce plugin for WordPress-based websites. This open-source eCommerce plugin is designed for merchants of all sizes. It offers an extensive library of plugins that store owners can use to customize their online store.
WooCommerce is free. Additional plugins may incur their own costs.
WooCommerce powers 26% of all eCommerce websites with clients like Weber, Ghostbed and AeroPRess. Instead of installing separate WooCommerce plugins, B2B merchants can get all the functionality they need in a single plugin, like the WooCommerce B2B plugin shown above. WooCommerce B2B plugins include essential features like the ability to hide prices and/or products from non-members, offer customer group discounts and exclude taxes.
Shift4Shop, formerly also known as 3dcart, is an e-commerce solution for B2C and B2B eCommerce distributors. It's a platform to create an intuitive shopping experience with a B2C feel, even if you're a reseller, wholesaler, or manufacturer.
TruTech Tools, Kitchen Restock, and Tigerpak are some of their successful B2B clients.
Key features and functions of Shift4Shop include:
- Sales representative management. If your business has sales reps, you can set them up for success in your eCommerce platform. Assign sales reps and track their progress, view performance reports and manage commissions.
- SEO & Marketing. Optimize and integrate your e-commerce site with search engines, automate XML maps, and automatically generate optimized product URLs. Manage Google Shopping, Facebook integration, and even abandoned cart emails.
- Advanced freight and transportation. Set up shipping with integrated carriers around the world and set shipping rates for different customer groups.
TradeGecko is a B2B eCommerce script that focuses on the simplicity and automation of business-to-business sales. It is aimed at wholesalers, distributors, e-commerce brands and high-growth manufacturers. It's a cloud-based solution, which means fewer technical worries, but also less control.
TradeGecko supports almost every must-have B2B feature on our list: individual pricing, custom price lists, the ability to hide products, and pricing for unauthorized users, easy ordering and reordering, warehouse inventory, promotions and more.
This solution has built-in reporting and analysis tools to help you better understand your processes and adjust as needed. The only thing that seems to be missing is a fully functional multi-store function for hybrid business models.
Most users are satisfied with TradeGecko and appreciate the simplicity and good customer support.
Get instant access to B2B e-commerce!
The inexorable and rapid growth of the B2B e-commerce market presents unique opportunities for retailers and wholesalers to grow their businesses through a variety of channels. Businesses can reach more customers and increase the likelihood of purchase. If you're thinking of long-term growth for your business, adding a B2B eCommerce solution is a must.
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Learn about B2B e-commerce platforms as soon as possible because it will give you many competitive advantages when entering this market.
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