B2B e‑commerce platform comparison

Considering B2B e-commerce platforms and trying to narrow down your shortlist of e-commerce software vendors? You’ve come to the right place. Continue reading to learn more about the different types of B2B e-commerce solutions and which best fits your business needs.

Image of two business people looking over charts and comparing notes - featured image for G2 Comparison Report

What’s the difference between B2C and B2B e-commerce platforms?

At a glance, there might not seem to be many differences between B2C and B2B e-commerce. After all, doesn’t it boil down to simply selling products through a web store? While that is true in essence, the reality is a little more complex.

The basic needs that a web store has to meet are the same for consumers and professional buyers alike: They need an online sales channel that’s available 24/7. But that’s where the similarities stop.

Professional buyers have a number of additional needs that business-to-business (B2B) web stores have to meet in order to provide a viable alternative to simply calling, emailing or even faxing your sales department. This includes:

Customer-specific pricing

Consumer, or B2C, web stores offer a standard price for each product — often with bulk or member discounts. In contrast, many B2B companies have come to individual pricing agreements with their clients, and that needs to be reflected in their online sales channels.

Single buyers vs. decision-making units (DMUs)

Consumers often make purchasing decisions by themselves, or maybe in collaboration with one or two others. Professional procurement, on the other hand, can be much more complex, and this complexity can be difficult to reflect in B2C web stores. B2B e-commerce platforms are specifically designed to support various roles so you can safeguard your client’s procurement processes and decision-making unit (DMU) structure.

Product search functionality

While consumers may search based on a brand name or product description, seasoned B2B buyers often search using article numbers to ensure that they get exactly the right item. Depending on their industry, there may only be one specific part suitable for their business needs. B2B web stores are designed with all of these search needs in mind.

Are you looking for the perfect B2B e-commerce platform software?

There are a lot of e-commerce vendors out there, and they all claim to be the best. There’s no doubt that each one is the best for someone, but the real question is: Which e-commerce software is the best for you? It all depends on your industry, business size, goals and needs. We want to help you find the perfect solution for your business, even if it’s not ours.

What are the different types of e-commerce software?

Below, you’ll find an overview of the four main types of e-commerce software. Once you’ve learned more about each type, you can use this comparison chart to see how they stack up on ERP connectivity and integration, maintenance, customer view, online customer access to documentation, order fulfillment process, web store launch process, design and add-on possibilities.

Unsure how to start your B2B e-commerce project?

Here are 4 essential assets to help you get your e-commerce project off the ground.

ERP-integrated e-commerce software

Example: Sana Commerce
Integrated e-commerce solutions are built to turn the ERP into an engine running an online store. Using the data from the ERP along with the e-commerce site, it becomes possible to create more relevant, engaging and personalized online experiences.

This software integrates front- and back-office systems to provide a unified business environment that is much more easily scalable, customizable and extensible, in addition to providing time-saving automation functionality.

It gives customer service reps a single view of customers across all channels. Orders from multiple channels and inventory are all managed from one system and can efficiently be fulfilled from that same system. Even a customer’s order history can be used to provide personalized and relevant offers.

Shopping cart software

Example: MagentoShopify
This type of application is used to stand up the front-end web store but has its own table structure. This means all the information used online has to be created in that system (e.g. product information, product attributes, pricing and inventory). Likewise, orders captured online from the front-end web store write back to the shopping cart platform, which again, is separate from any back-office system.

This type of software is heavily focused on B2C, which is less complex than B2B. So when it comes to B2B sales, these applications often lack the functionality needed for complex ordering, for example, adequate roles, rights or authorizations for placing orders as a business.

Shopping cart software


Example: eBridge Connections
Connectors are the third party application used to sync a web store with an ERP system. While these applications create a bi-directional flow of information between two systems, this typically occurs at a pre-defined interval, meaning information is not truly updated in real-time. Data is also replicated and synchronized rather than available in real-time, directly from the ERP.

Sana University

Interfaced e-commerce software

Example: k-eCommerce
These applications include a tool to manage the customer-facing front-end web store, so CMS and other e-commerce functionality like capturing web orders or promotions. They also include a connector (built in-house) to sync information to and from the ERP system.

This type of application does not offer a true real-time synchronization. On top of that, data replication still has to occur. And in some instances, just like with shopping cart applications, certain data that already resides in the ERP has to be manually recreated in the application due to limitations of the connector.

Interfaced e-commerce software

Are you interested in an e-commerce platform specifically built for B2B?