Guide 14 minutes

Enterprise E-Commerce Platforms: How to Choose the Right One

Learn everything you need to know about choosing the right e-commerce platform that will take your enterprise to new heights

Table of contents

    Finding the right enterprise B2B e-commerce platform for your business can be a complex and challenging process. With the wide variety of e-commerce solutions available, it can be difficult to decide which one is the best fit for your business.

    In this guide, we will discuss the key considerations when selecting an enterprise B2B e-commerce solution, such as scalability, feature set, fit within your IT landscape, extensibility, and pricing structure.

    We will also provide tips on how to evaluate and compare the different solutions. By taking the time to do the research and properly evaluate the different solutions, you can ensure that your business finds the right e-commerce platform that will meet your business’s unique needs.

    Key differences between e-commerce platforms for enterprises and SMBs

    An enterprise e-commerce solution is designed to meet the unique needs of larger and more complex organizations with a wide variety of products on offer. Unlike SMBs (small and medium sized businesses), enterprises require a scalable solution that can support rapid deployment and management of multiple online stores.

    In addition, larger companies need powerful features such as integrated payment processing, site customization and localization, content management, analytics, marketing, and customer support. These features are essential to provide a seamless and engaging online shopping experience for customers.

    ERP integration: A critical component for enterprise e-commerce

    ERP-integrated e-commerce is important for enterprises when it comes to B2B e-commerce solutions. This allows for the real-time synchronization of product data and financial information between the e-commerce platform and the ERP system. This integration can help automate pricing, inventory, and order management, and provide a seamless experience for customers.

    Although ERP integration is important to all companies, no matter the size, when it comes to enterprises this integration is unbelievably valuable as it offers comfort in the fact that customers are consistently being presented with the actual prices, products, and stock levels. That reliability is essential for companies that operate on a large scale and that have built trust with their customers over several decades.

    Beyond ERP: Other integrations essential for enterprise e-commerce success

    Enterprise e-commerce solutions may also integrate with external APIs, such as third-party payment gateways, to pull data from external sources and integrate it into the platform or the other way around, pushing data to your centralized BI platform. This allows for a more efficient checkout process and better control over all commercial data.

    While features like analytics, marketing, and support are important for every company, what truly sets enterprise e-commerce solutions apart is their ability to integrate with other systems.

    Examples of this include CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and PIM (Product Information Management) such as Perfion or InRiver. With all these integrations enterprises have a more centralized management of product information that offers scalability to rollout to different regions and countries all the while providing a high standard of efficient and seamless customer experience at a large scale.

    Learn more about ERP-integrated e-commerce

    What are the benefits of enterprise e-commerce solutions?

    With a new millennial generation of buyers from more diverse backgrounds with different views, perceptions and desires moving into more influential positions, the way that B2B buying is done is changing.

    E-commerce is now the number one way to buy in B2B spheres with 75% of all products now being bought online. This is up from 62% in 2019 according to the Sana Commerce 2022 B2B buyer report.

    Beyond sales, 90% of buyers are turning to online channels as their primary method of identifying new suppliers and 74% are using it to evaluate new suppliers.

    It is critical to focus on the overall online buying experience and consumer journey. With the right e-commerce solution, you’ll be able to prioritize business goals such as revenue, customer engagement and experience, efficiency, and more. Here’s how:

    Customer engagement

    Features such as personalized product recommendations, easy checkout processes, and convenient payment methods can lead to a seamless, secure, and engaging online buying experience. By providing customers with a positive shopping experience, businesses can increase customer loyalty, increase customer satisfaction, and customer retention.

    Increased sales

    It may come as no surprise that one of the most popular outcomes B2B companies would like to see in B2B ecommerce is higher revenue. With the right e-commerce solution in place, you can encourage repeat sales, generate upsell and cross-sell, and drive higher conversions.

    Business efficiency

    Saving time means increased efficiency and better margins. A B2B e-commerce solution can help you do just that by streamlining processes, reducing costs, and improving customer service. It can automate tasks and provide a more secure system for transactions, helping businesses provide customers with a more convenient, faster, and easier shopping experience.

    Improved customer experience

    The ability to analyze customer behavior, preferences, and buying patterns is vital to any business's success. It provides valuable insights into the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, product strategies, and pricing models. Helping you to constantly optimize and improve your strategy and buying experience.

    Increased customer reach and scalability

    Enterprise e-commerce solutions allow businesses to reach a vast customer base, both locally and globally, through their online presence. Providing buyers across the globe a localized and personalized experience using a unified tech stack.

    Data-driven decisions

    The ability to analyze customer behavior, preferences, and buying patterns is vital to any business's success. It provides valuable insights into the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, product strategies, and pricing models. Helping you to constantly optimize and improve your strategy and buying experience.

    5-step plan: How to start your enterprise e-commerce project

    Deciding on what solution will work best for your enterprise is challenging. Enterprise businesses operate on a larger scale than smaller businesses, and as a result, they need a more robust B2B e-commerce solution with a wide range of features and capabilities. With limited choices, enterprise businesses may not be able to find a solution that fully meets their needs, or one that offers the scalability and customization they need to accommodate their large customer base.

    These five steps will give you the information you need to make an informed decision about which enterprise B2B e-commerce solution is right for you and your business.

    Step 1: Talk to your customers

    Understanding the needs and preferences of customers is critical when choosing an enterprise e-commerce solution. Customers are the lifeblood of any business, and their satisfaction is key to the success of any online store. A thorough analysis of customer requirements and buying patterns can help businesses identify the features and functionalities that are most important to their target audience.

    By engaging with customers and collecting feedback, businesses can gain valuable insights into their preferences, including the types of products they are interested in, the payment methods they prefer, and the level of customer support they expect. This information can be used to tailor the e-commerce solution to meet the unique needs of the business’s customer base.

    In addition, understanding the features that customers like or dislike about an existing e-commerce solution can provide valuable feedback for businesses looking to upgrade or replace their current platform. By identifying the pain points and frustrations that customers experience, businesses can choose an enterprise e-commerce solution that addresses these issues and provides a more seamless and satisfying shopping experience.

    Ultimately, a customer-centric approach to choosing an enterprise e-commerce solution can help businesses build trust and loyalty with their customers, improve customer retention, and increase sales and revenue over the long term.

    Trying to convince your internal stakeholders about e-commerce?

    Here’s a free PPT template to help you build your business case.

    Step 2: Evaluate at your current platform

    When assessing your current enterprise e-commerce platform, take time to understand if pain points are true limitations or things that can be easily improved.

    Even if your current system cannot meet your longer-term goals, trying to address some pain points now can allow you to better understand requirements and relieve pressure during a complex re-platforming.

    For example, if you can identify with these issues below, you know what to work on and look for when re-platforming:

    • Loss of revenue because of system failures or needing to divert manpower into solving problems
    • Crashes during peak times
    • Important systems don’t easily integrate with your platform
    • Lack of confidence in data security
    • Unsatisfied with server performance
    • Your conversion rates are lower than industry benchmarks
    • Struggles with internal and external adoption of your e-commerce platform
    • Your current platform is harming your relationship with the business
    • There is no focus on sales and efficiency
    • The platform is taking up too much budget

    It is easy in this step to focus only on the challenges with your current solution. This can lead to key requirements being missed when choosing a new platform. Make sure you also think about features that your current platform supports that are beneficial to your business operations and carry them over when re-platforming.

    Step 3: Outline your specific business goals and functionalities

    Before you begin looking at enterprise e-commerce platforms it’s important to look at everything you want your new system to support. What are your goals or main objectives?

    Do you need a platform with high scalability and flexibility to extend and improve business growth?

    • Does your business require specific integration solutions that help with efficient management of extended product catalogues and numerous product pages?
    • Are you looking to support an omnichannel strategy or more than one online store that needs to be supported on the same platform? (Single-platform management of multiple locations, sites, and currencies, languages)
    • Do you want to prioritize user-friendly and intuitive UX, UI and checkout processes?
    • Is your goal to focus on providing seamless customer experience and AI-based personalized experiences?
    • Do you need a solution that enables you to manage your brand’s look and feel?
    • Does your current system allow for seamless integration with CRM, PIM, DAM, ERP, and other relevant tools?

    Once you have a clear idea of what your goals are, you can now start to build out what specific features and functionalities you will need to meet these goals, such as:

    It’s particularly important at this stage that you don’t fall into the trap of focusing on features alone, business goals and customer requirements come first!

    TIP: Make a list that organizes your requirements into must haves and nice to haves. You can also organize a list of what is important to have on day one of going live with your new web store versus what can be implemented further day the road. This will make things easier for you when deciding on an enterprise e-commerce platform.

    Step 4: Understand e-commerce costs and how to set your budget

    When deciding on a B2B ecommerce platform, understanding the available resources and setting a budget are key. It is important to consider the platform’s cost and any additional resources needed for implementation, such as increased efforts into internal and external adoption.

    Additionally, if scalability is a priority for your business, setting a budget can be the key to its success. Many enterprises are met with challenges in this process due to the lack of cost control when implementing an international roll out.

    If proper budget forecasting is not considered, particularly when it comes to the amount of time and effort required to properly configure and maintain the platform, this can have massive consequences for your business in the long term. Why? Because you run the risk of falling into the percentage of B2B e-commerce that is failing their buyers. In 2022, we surveyed over 1,200 professional buyers and found that 50% of e-commerce sites are not fully meeting the expectations of B2B buyers and, a further 94% of B2B buyers encounter some kind of customer experience challenge.

    To avoid contributing to these percentages, here are four key factors to consider when calculating your enterprise e-commerce costs:

    Factor #1: The type of e-commerce solution and the provider

    Functionality and features between e-commerce platforms can lead to significant pricing differences. You should also consider the different pricing models of each platform, as well as the start-up costs associated with ownership.

    B2B e-commerce solutions also tend to have a variety of hidden costs. These include costs associated with integrating the ecommerce solution with existing systems, such as a CRM, ERP, or other business software. They also include costs related to security and compliance, such as SSL certificates, PCI compliance, and data encryption.

    Other hidden costs you might want to consider are implementation time and adoption. The more complex data you have in your ERP, the more customizations you need for your WS, meaning more implementation time and higher costs. Finally, in case of a bad buying experience the customer will continue to order manually or even churn — resulting in higher backend costs and worst case, lost revenue due to a churning customer.

    Factor #2: Development, deployment and integration

    Replatforming entails a high development and integration cost. This may be your biggest expense. Consider build, third-party integration, API integrations, third-party app costs, and pre-launch testing. Using in-house teams gives control over customization but installing new features and integrations takes time and risks impacting other parts of the system. Outsourcing to an external agency may be more expensive but may be worth it.

    Another thing to consider is the potential issue of your e-commerce solution not integrating properly. Without proper integration, the data accuracy of the system could become compromised. This could result in the need for additional staff to manage and monitor the data accuracy, which would add to the cost of the e-commerce solution. Additionally, depending on the system’s complexity, additional tools such as PIM, CRM, DAM, or other software may be necessary to ensure the data’s accuracy. This could also lead to additional costs, as these tools would need to be purchased and implemented.

    Factor #3: Data migration

    Maintaining data integrity is essential during replatforming and exactly the reason budgeting shouldn’t be skimped. You may have access to confidential corporate data, which puts data security as a top priority. Blind spots and vulnerabilities can have serious consequences; therefore, a security plan should be established for all sensitive data.

    Make it a point to discuss data migration services, costs, and plans with all potential platforms beginning your migration. These costs should be factored into your budget, as faulty transfers can lead to incorrect product mapping, recommendations, images, mishandled customer data, and a loss of customer trust.

    Factor #4: Platform maintenance

    Lastly, your budget does not end once your new platform has gone live. You will need to continuously provide care to your platform to keep it running smoothly. This may include costs for maintenance, development, design, platform support, SEO, data analytics, security, and updates.

    Additionally, if you are opting for a solution that integrates with your ERP it’s important not to forget that your ERP is a powerful tool. You need to keep it sharp through ERP maintenance or the performance will suffer. Neglect the system, and its life cycle will be minimal.

    Step 5: What else to consider

    For an enterprise business to be successful, it requires several systems to function together perfectly. New technologies and generational changes have led to a blur between the expectations of B2C vs. B2B customers.

    The differentiation is no longer as black and white as it was a few years ago. Now in B2B buying, we are looking at professional buyers who value customer experience and satisfaction just as much as they do in B2C. This means that to live up to these new expectations your website needs to be available 24/7; payments must be processed, and shipments must be sent out quickly and accurately.

    Based on the survey responses in our B2B trust index, the top challenges which B2B customers now identify in the online buying process include; proper delivery and tracking (44%), relationships with suppliers (39%), and visibility of product features (34%). Additionally, new tools need to be implemented for marketing, sales, and e-commerce teams. All this needs to function seamlessly with the current tech stack in place.

    To make things a little easier check out some other factors you may not have considered below:

    Website performance

    Your website needs to be able to handle spikes in traffic without slowing down or becoming unresponsive. This is important not only for customers, but also for your website’s bottom line – if customers can’t get to your site, they may not return.

    Amount of website traffic

    If your customer base is expanding and your website traffic is increasing, it may be time to consider an upgrade to your current platform. Doing so could ensure that your online store can handle the influx of visitors and scale with your projected growth. This could help you ensure that your business continues to succeed.

    Secure payment and data

    Protecting your and your customers’ data should always be top of mind and choosing the right platform is critical since the wrong decision can be costly for your business.

    A self-hosted platform offers enhanced visibility of data and knowledge of data security, but a SaaS platform ensures security and PCI compliance for a fixed fee.

    Mobile optimization and SEO

    SEO is important for any e-commerce business looking to scale up and generate more revenue. Enterprise platforms that come with built-in SEO features make the task easier.

    There are many different e-commerce solutions available and each has its own set of requirements for SEO. For example, some solutions require industry-specific keyword research, XML sitemaps, mobile optimization, meta title, meta description, URL redirect management, and more.

    The rise in mobile commerce has increased customers’ expectations of mobile site performance and user experience. Moreover, according to Google, mobile optimization has become one of the most important ranking factors for websites. Thus, making mobile optimization a prerequisite for selecting the ideal enterprise e-commerce platform.

    Calculate your e-commerce costs

    Use our free e-commerce costs calculator.

    Enterprise e-commerce platform comparison

    Sana Commerce

    Sana Commerce is an ERP-integrated e-commerce platform that seamlessly connects with your ERP to simplify sales processes and improve the customer experience. Sana Commerce is known for its user-friendly interface, making it easy for businesses to set up and maintain their online stores without requiring extensive technical expertise. Its integration with leading ERP systems SAP and Microsoft Dynamics ensures that businesses can efficiently manage their operations and provide a seamless customer experience.

    One of the significant advantages of Sana Commerce is its scalability and flexibility, allowing businesses to adapt their store to their evolving needs. Additionally, Sana Commerce offers a wide range of themes, extensions, and plugins, providing businesses with an extensive ecosystem of customization options.

    Take a product tour


    Spryker offers a variety of features, including modular architecture that enables businesses to customize their store’s functionality to meet their specific needs.

    However, as a newer platform, Spryker may have a smaller ecosystem of extensions and plugins compared to more established e-commerce platforms. This may limit some customization options for businesses that require specific functionalities. Additionally, the learning curve for setting up and maintaining a Spryker store may be steeper, and technical expertise may be required.

    See how we outranked Spryker in the 2022 G2 Crowd Report and why so many companies are making the switch to Sana Commerce.


    Magento (now Adobe Commerce)

    Magento (now formerly owned by and called Adobe Commerce) is an open-source e-commerce platform that allows businesses to create and manage online stores. It provides a variety of features, including customizable themes, extensions, and plugins to enhance the functionality of the store. However, due to its complexity, it may require technical expertise to set up and maintain, and may not be the most user-friendly platform. Additionally, some users may find the cost of hosting and maintaining a Magento store to be higher compared to other e-commerce solutions.

    See how we outranked Magento in the 2022 G2 Crowd Report and why so many companies are making the switch to Sana Commerce.



    SAP is an enterprise-level e-commerce platform that provides businesses with a suite of tools to manage their operations. They offer a range of features, including advanced analytics and reporting capabilities, personalized customer experiences, and multi-channel support. However, due to its complexity and size, SAP may be more challenging to set up and maintain, and may require significant resources and technical expertise. Additionally, the cost of implementing and maintaining an SAP solution may be higher compared to other e-commerce platforms.

    See how we outranked SAP in the 2022 G2 Crowd Report and why so many companies are making the switch to Sana Commerce.


    Final thoughts

    We hope that this guide has provided you with valuable insights to help you find the right enterprise e-commerce solution for your business. E-commerce is a complex topic, and after speaking to several solution providers, you may be faced with information overload. If you’d like to speak directly with an e-commerce consultant specialized in the enterprise use case, feel free to get in touch below.

    Request an e-commerce consult for your enterprise today