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There are countless options for B2B organizations seeking e-commerce solutions providers for their business. For these organizations, the right e-commerce platform can make or break goals for sustainable business growth and success.
E-commerce platforms are a great option for B2B organizations. This blog covers some of the best e-commerce solution providers out there. When selecting an online shop for your business, here are the key factors and platforms to consider.
Most e-commerce solutions providers are split into three categories: open source, SaaS, and headless commerce.
Open-source e-commerce platforms are popular with organizations that have their own in-house IT teams. This is because they can adapt or customize any part of the code to suit their requirements.
Open-source platforms require businesses to manage PCI compliance, web hosting, security and new tools or integrations for their web store. This means businesses must take responsibility for these tasks.
Examples of open source platforms include WooCommerce, Adobe Commerce, and Shopware.
Software as a solution (SaaS) e-commerce solutions providers allow businesses to leverage cloud-based software to operate their web stores. Businesses pay a subscription fee to use this software. By doing so, they can easily access updates and new releases.
SaaS solutions provide the platform and its associated infrastructure. They offer a range of pre-built features and functionalities that can be customized to an organization’s needs and business goals.
Examples of SaaS e-commerce tools include Sana Commerce Cloud, Big Commerce, and Wix.
Headless e-commerce solutions involve a separation of the platform. The front-end, or “head”, is decoupled from the back end, or “body”. This allows for more flexibility. These types of platforms are preferred by large enterprises that have multiple brands with verydifferent e-commerce requirements.
These solutions also provide a faster go-to-market pace than traditional e-commerce solutions. The separation of front and back-end can be costly and complex. It can require technical expertise to manage. Cumulative project costs may be higher as a result.
Examples of headless e-commerce solutions providers include Spryker, commercetools, and Salesforce Commerce Cloud.
E-commerce solutions can be divided into two categories: self-hosted and cloud e-commerce. These include headless, SaaS, and open-source options.
Choosing how to host your e-commerce store online is important. It can determine the success and performance of your store. Therefore, it is essential to make a wise decision.
These e-commerce platforms are also known as “on-premise”. Web store owners must take responsibility for hosting, installation and software updates.
Self-hosted e-commerce solutions providers give businesses complete control over the software, server configurations, and customizations. Some key aspects include software installation, server management, customization, data-control, and maintenance.
Platforms that offer customization and control may require technical teams to maintain them. This could be a challenge, but the end result is worth it.
WooCommerce is an example of a self-hosted e-commerce platform.
These kinds of e-commerce platforms are hosted on cloud-based infrastructure. Cloud service providers manage hosting, storage, and computing resources for e-commerce operations. This eliminates the need to manage one’s own servers or hardware.
Cloud e-commerce has many advantages. These include reliability in terms of data accuracy, flexible costs, high security and compliance, and easy access..
Sana Commerce Cloud is an example of a cloud-based e-commerce solutions provider.
Sana Commerce Cloud (SCC) is a robust e-commerce platform that leverages the power of Microsoft Dynamics and SAP ERPs to create a highly reliable platform built on customer convenience. An ideal choice for businesses seeking a solution that integrates with their ERP, it is highly specialized for B2B organizations seeking to provide next-level e-commerce experiences.
Adobe Commerce is an e-commerce solution with a large ecosystem, offering a wide range of tools and functionalities. It is most popular with organizations with extensive B2C or design requirements.
BigCommerce is a leading open-source e-commerce platform, one that can function well across various sectors and industries.
commercetools is a modern, API-driven e-commerce platform designed to deliver flexible and scalable solutions for businesses.
Shopify is a popular and user-friendly e-commerce platform that caters mainly to B2B sellers. Their B2B offering is called “Shopify Plus”. It offers a wide range of features and support, making it a leading choice for entrepreneurs and small businesses.
Intershop is a comprehensive e-commerce platform that offers a range of features and solutions for businesses looking to establish and grow their online presence. With its long-standing expertise in the e-commerce industry, Intershop caters to both B2B and B2C companies.
DynamicWeb is a comprehensive e-commerce platform that combines content management, digital marketing, and e-commerce functionalities. It provides businesses with a flexible and scalable solution for creating and managing their online presence.
Volusion is an e-commerce platform designed for small to medium-sized businesses. It provides a user-friendly interface and a range of features to help businesses create, manage, and grow their online stores.
OpenCart is a popular open-source e-commerce platform with strong store management, extensions, and customer support functionalities.
WooCommerce is an open-source e-commerce plugin for WordPress, popular amongst first generation e-commerce platform buyers. A CMS-driven web store that has an SMB, B2C focus.
When shopping for e-commerce solutions providers, what do you need to keep an eye out for? Here’s a quick look at all the different elements you need to factor in:
A key first step when selecting an e-commerce solution provider is, of course, finding one whose solution meets your business needs. To do so, you must first have defined your e-commerce goals with a prioritized list of product requirements. Find out how in our e-commerce project blog post.
Once you have your list of priorities, start looking for vendors who offer most, if not all, of your must-have requirements in their standard, out-of-the-box e-commerce solution.
In general, it is best to avoid too many customizations, as this can quickly increase your project timeline and push you over budget. And don’t assume that if one feature is standard in one e-commerce software platform, it will be standard in another, as this is not always the case.
E-commerce software features include:
On top of finding a platform that meets your list of e-commerce requirements, think also about how your potential solutions will fit into your current IT infrastructure and tech stack. What you want to avoid here are systems that operate in silos and lead to additional maintenance costs and resources, and more room for error. You also want to make the most of your existing tech investments and working processes.
Integration of systems is especially important as your organization grows and expands into new markets. To avoid siloed operations that lead to additional overhead costs and resources, the e-commerce platform you’ve chosen to back your web store should fit in with your current tech stack. There are two kinds of integrated e-commerce solution providers:
Directly integrated platforms
A directly integrated e-commerce solution, such as Sana Commerce Cloud, is installed inside your ERP system. The e-commerce platform can then access all your existing ERP data, functionalities and calculations, and project them onto the web store — without the need to replicate the information.
In short, your ERP is the engine that powers your web store. This leads to advantages such as quick implementation, lower maintenance costs and clearer investments, but also personalized customer pricing functionalities and many more benefits.
Interfaced e-commerce platforms
These types of e-commerce platforms run autonomously. These solutions only provide the web store itself (the front-end). You can still connect your web store to your ERP using connectors. The data is then synchronized with your ERP from time to time, but all adjustments and calculations need to be performed twice: once in your web store and once in your ERP. This often means a longer and more complex implementation project, but also more maintenance costs and resources needed in the long run.
Use our software comparison template.
Budget is always an important consideration when selecting an e-commerce solution provider. You can compare buying an e-commerce solution to buying a flight ticket. Some airlines will include everything in one ticket. While others will charge you additional fees for checked-in luggage, seat selection, entertainment, in-flight meals on top of the original ticket price.
There are many factors to take into consideration when making an e-commerce vendor pricing comparison. These can include:
E-commerce software vendor comparison can get tricky. While one solution provider might seem the cheapest initially, it might work out more expensive in the long run. Be wary of hidden e-commerce costs and ensure you have a clear overview of what you’re buying into.
And it’s not just the fees you are paying directly to your e-commerce vendor. You should also consider the money you will spend — or save — on internal resources to run and maintain your e-commerce platform. This again all depends on the type of e-commerce solution and provider you choose.
Use our free ROI calculator.
Time is also money! Be sure you select a provider who can deliver your web store within your timeline. The sooner your web store is live, the sooner you can start making money online.
How fast your e-commerce vendor can deliver a web store will depend on their working processes as well as the solution you choose. For example, if you opt for an out-of-the-box solution delivered by an expert e-commerce provider, you will go live much faster than with a highly-customized platform that a less experienced vendor needs to build from scratch.
This was the case for New Zealand-based steel distributor Steel & Tube, who used Sana Commerce to implement two web stores in just 90 days.
The best e-commerce provider for your business is typically a vendor who has experience working with your kind of company and project. This means experience with:
On top of selecting an e-commerce software vendor who has the right experience, you should also consider whether this vendor fits your organization. This means a provider whose culture, professionalism and working processes match or complement yours, for a seamless, clear and efficient collaboration.
You not only want an e-commerce solution vendor who can cope with your way of working, but also a provider with whom you can form a real partnership.
For example, if you are a waterfall company, a provider who can only work with agile methodology may not be a good fit. Similarly, huge enterprises might not want to opt for a brand-new start-up.
Before, during and after the implementation of your new e-commerce platform, you will likely need support from your e-commerce software vendor. Consider, therefore, the additional services offered by your shortlisted providers:
The type of support you require will differ based on your company’s needs. We often find that large enterprise companies have higher demands than smaller businesses. But whatever they are, to ensure your e-commerce project runs smoothly, your chosen provider should be able to comply with your support and servicing needs.
Over the span of this blog post, we’ve covered the different types of e-commerce solutions providers available for businesses looking to level-up their web stores. Moreover, we’ve covered some of the key considerations for B2B organizations trying to decide on a prospective vendor, which include the hosting environment, API call volumes, and security functionalities.
For truly effective B2B e-commerce, integration capabilities can make or break your work processes. Selecting the right e-commerce platform is critical for B2B success. Factoring in features such as out-of-the-box capabilities, integration potential, costs, time to market, and support can help you make an informed decision that is good for your business.