Selecting the eCommerce Platform for B2B Business: Pros and Cons

There are quite a few eCommerce Platforms to choose from, so let’s dig into the pros and cons of the top platforms.

Magento

Pros

  • #1 Business to Business eCommerce Platform
  • It is open source and there is a paid supported version of Magento as well.
  • Strictly on the cloud. Magento 2.4 has completely rewritten the system.
  • It is PHH Symphony based.
  • You can get started reasonably easy – no upfront software costs.

 

There are hosting costs obviously but it is the best for the large eCommerce B2Bs.

Cons

  • If you are a small manufacturer or distributor, this is not a good starter program, especially is you are under $50 million
  • Must be supported and there’s a fair amount of work that goes into setting Magento up. You have to configure it to meet your needs.

 

It’s not an out-of-the-box solution like a Shopify. So, let’s delve into Shopify.

Shopify

Pros

  • It is the #1 Business to Consumer platform. Is it usable for B2B? Yes, but for companies under $10million dollars.
  • Highly Standardized
  • Highly Supported
  • Very Inexpensive
  • Allows for very few SKUs
  • No kitting is allowed, no complex parts
  • Designed for Consumer check out, which means it is most appropriate if most of your customers are paying you via credit card or ACH.

Cons

  • If you are allowing for purchase orders, Shopify is not designed for it. You will have to do some work to get your clients to land over to a PO process
  • It’s not going to grow with you; it is limited in terms of SKUs and complexity.

 

Other Platforms

Another well-known system out there is WooCommerce, nopCommerce and others like them.
They are more flexible than a Shopify. And therefore, I still think it works in the same range of size for a very small company, but it’s far more flexible. You can get a lot more customization to it. It’s very easy to find people to handle the WordPress site of your business. Most websites are built in WordPress, so suddenly all you’re doing is tacking on some rather simple e-commerce functionality to a website you probably already have. You can also build it in such a way to handle custom orders, custom fabrication, and those kind of offerings.

Dot Net Force or Supported Platforms

We begin to want to think about something that’s in dot net force supported. That could be BigCommerce. Is it could also be Sana. One upcoming platform is a headless e-commerce solution. With this, you are moving off of dot.net and your back into an open source and PHP world.

What’s the difference between the three? The first two are highly supported software. They are a dot.net, most likely to fit well within your corporate environment, especially if you have dot.net programmers and the rest of your systems are dot.net. That is an important consideration when you’re trying to put the system at a corporate level. What’s that benefit of Open Source? There’s a lot of innovation and headless e-commerce has is definitely an area of innovation everyone is talking about now.

High Volume, High Number of SKUs

The last thing that I want to add is the considerations of having really high volume, high number of SKUs in the complexity e-commerce. A lot of companies are finding out that their e-commerce is slow. It can’t handle the amount of information. It gets bogged down and that is primarily because you’re storing or trying to call too many SKUs, too much information at one time and that’s where the concept of product information management begins. Having a single source of truth and the ability to serve items quickly to your eCommerce instead of pulling it from an ERP makes all the difference. The main one being that an ERP really doesn’t support the type of information needed for eCommerce.

Whether you are starting out or have a million SKUs, you will be surprised how quickly you can get up and move successfully into eCommerce.