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6 Top B2B Ecommerce Websites Tailored to Small Businesses (2024)

Online shopping is booming. Thanks to sleek e-retail stores and advanced online payment systems, more and more customers are turning to the internet to snap up products and services. But the growth of ecommerce hasn’t changed only how individuals shop. It’s also altered the way business purchasers obtain their wares.

Online business-to-business (B2B) sales jumped 8% in the first quarter of 2023, and as of 2022, nearly two-thirds of B2B companies offer online sales. Many online businesses partner with B2B ecommerce websites with features specifically designed to streamline their purchasing process.

What are business-to-business (B2B) ecommerce websites?

A B2B ecommerce website is an online store that sells products, services, or information to business clients to expand customer reach and reduce cost-to-serve. In other words, B2B ecommerce stores facilitate direct exchanges between two businesses online—between a manufacturer and wholesaler, or a wholesaler and a retailer, for instance—rather than between businesses and consumers.

For example, if you run a small print shop that supplies signage and promotional products to other businesses, a B2B ecommerce platform can allow your business clients to directly place orders online, decreasing purchase barriers and driving revenue.

B2B ecommerce websites vs. business-to-consumer (B2C) websites

Whereas B2B ecommerce websites market and sell products between two businesses, business-to-consumer (B2C) websites allow businesses to sell directly to consumers.

While B2B and B2C websites don’t share target audiences, they do have some commonalities. Both B2C and B2B ecommerce websites:

  • Offer user-friendly interfaces
  • Are SEO- and conversion-optimized
  • Provide detailed product descriptions and ample product data
  • Support rewards and customer benefit coupons
  • Accept multiple payment methods

Because businesses have unique buying processes, volume requirements, and expectations for vendor relationships, B2B ecommerce websites require additional functionality to meet the needs of business clients. Standard B2B-specific features include contract pricing, bulk purchasing options, quote management, automatic recording options, and shopping cart sharing functions. Here’s what this means:

Contract pricing

While prices on B2C sites sometimes change, they’re typically the same for all customers. B2B ecommerce websites, on the other hand, require advanced pricing capabilities. Prices on B2B sites vary, depending on the contract and customer. For example, legacy customers may have access to discounts that aren’t available to new clients.

Some B2B ecommerce platforms offer built-in contract pricing, allowing you to sort customers and offer different pricing tiers to other customer groups.

Bulk purchasing options

Businesses often need to purchase items in bulk. A good B2B website makes it easy for customers to place bulk orders and add volume-based (or wholesale) pricing functions, which can automatically adjust the price per item based on quantity. For instance, a bulk discount may apply to custom-dyed socks: the more socks you buy, the less each pair costs.

Automatic reordering options

Just as businesses often need to order in bulk, they also often need to repeat orders. For example, suppose your ecommerce business provides zippers and buttons to a tailor. In this case, your client might expect to reorder every six months without the hassle of respecifying what they need.

Allowing your business clients to reorder automatically through your online store saves time and supports revenue generation by decreasing customer attrition.

Shopping cart sharing

B2C and B2B ecommerce websites serve two distinct buying processes. While the B2C buying process is relatively simple—a customer sees your handmade clogs, craves them, and makes a purchase—the B2B buying process tends to be more complex. For business clients, purchasing decisions are often made collaboratively and may require review and approval by multiple parties before being finalized.

Shopping cart sharing functions and in-platform approval workflows on B2B ecommerce websites make it easier for business clients to plan, review, approve, and complete purchases from your online store.

Quote management

Another key feature of the B2B buying process is the request for quote (RFQ). Instead of making purchasing decisions based on list prices, many businesses request individualized quotes that reflect their specific contract needs. Companies might submit RFQs to multiple suppliers before choosing a vendor.

B2B ecommerce websites can make it easy for your customers to request a quote for your products or services by including online quote generators or options to submit an RFQ online. Many allow you to both receive and respond to RFQs on their platforms.

6 popular B2B ecommerce websites

Choosing the right B2B ecommerce website platform for your business depends on your business model, target audience, technology budget, and the features and integrations you need. The following five providers are popular with small-business owners for their flexibility, cost-effectiveness, and range of services:

  1. Shopify Plus
  2. Alibaba
  3. Amazon Business
  4. Mercateo
  5. WooCommerce
  6. Adobe Commerce

1. Shopify Plus 

Shopify Plus is the B2B ecommerce side of Canadian-based Shopify (which typically operates in the B2C space). Shopify’s enterprise offering was designed with companies who operate both B2C and B2B businesses in mind, making it easy to sell to both customers and wholesale accounts from the same store. Plus, it offers unique customizability for each customer, meaning that your wholesale customers can have an experience tailored to them, their needs, and their pricing.

Shopify Plus commerce components help you optimize the checkout process for the most conversions. Highlights include headless SDK, edge-deployed shopping cart, and lightning-fast low-code storefronts.

Shopify Plus has all the features Brooklinen was looking for when it decided to expand into B2B sales after successfully selling DTC. It was able to create a B2B experience equally as seamless as it created its B2C one.

Shopify Plus offers:

  • Customizable customer profiles, with unique checkout flows for each customer
  • The ability to set custom price lists for different buyers or accounts
  • Nearly infinite customization and expandability via the Shopify App Store
  • The ability to set payment terms for each account

2. Alibaba

Alibaba is an online marketplace and B2B ecommerce website based in China. Alibaba provides raw materials and finished products to buyers in multiple industries.

Alibaba is often a choice for small and medium-sized businesses that sell in overseas markets and participate in cross-border trade.

Alibaba offers sellers free product listings for 30 days, and members receive both a storefront and product pages. B2B sellers can choose between a standard, extended, or premium plan (with higher-tier plans offering increased keyword ad spend and enhanced account management services).

Alibaba also provides premium additions, like gold and verified suppliers, which allow for 10 and 40 product showcases, respectively, and include additional services like R&D support and quality control.

Alibaba’s standard plan costs $3,500 per year and comes with:

  • Unlimited product postings
  • Online stores
  • Analytics dashboard
  • Built-in CRM
  • Keyword data
  • Ability to accept and respond to quotes
  • Wholesale pricing

3. Amazon Business

Amazon is an online marketplace, and the largest ecommerce platform in the US. Amazon sites see over 2.3 billion visits per month—and Amazon Business has one million customer accounts, over 150,000 sellers, and more than 10 billion in annual sales.

Amazon Business is the B2B side of Amazon. It offers multi-user accounts, approval options, and payment by invoice. Like Alibaba, Amazon supplies multiple industries and provides an online storefront and product pages.

Amazon Business Prime Duo is free for one account if you already have a personal Prime membership. You can also pay $179 per year for up to three users on Amazon Essentials. Small, Medium, and Enterprise plans are $499, $1,299, and $10,099 annually, respectively. Higher tier plans get more user accounts and features.

Plans come with:

  • Payment via invoice
  • Approval workflows
  • Multi-user accounts
  • Customer groups
  • Fulfillment network
  • Online stores
  • Wholesale pricing
  • Virtual dashboard and product data analytics 
  • Ability to accept and respond to quotes
  • Automatic reordering

4. Mercateo

Mercateo is an ecommerce procurement platform that sells products from verified suppliers. Mercateo is headquartered in Munich, Germany, and isn’t currently available to US businesses or sellers.

Unlike marketplaces like Amazon and Alibaba, which require business owners to set up B2B storefronts on their sites, Mercateo connects supplier catalogs directly to its centralized interface, allowing businesses to sell products without setting up an online store.

Mercateo offers:

  • Free supplier memberships
  • No seller ranking
  • Business-specific contract pricing
  • Single-creditor options
  • Analytics and reporting

5. WooCommerce

WooCommerce is an open-source ecommerce platform and commerce plug-in meant for WordPress websites.

WooCommerce supports online stores, offers a mobile app, and accepts multiple forms of payment. Unlike Amazon Business and Alibaba, WooCommerce doesn’t host individual storefronts within a larger marketplace, instead integrating with WordPress and allowing you to create separate online stores.

WooCommerce is open-source, meaning the main plug-in is free of charge. The B2B extension costs $149 annually. WooCommerce B2B comes with:

  • Customer groups
  • Volume-based discounts
  • Wholesale pricing
  • RFQ functionality 
  • Advanced tax management 
  • Shipping management
  • WordPress integration
  • Automatic reordering 

6. Adobe Commerce (formerly Magento)

Like WooCommerce, Adobe Commerce (formerly known as Magento) is an open-source ecommerce platform. The platform provides various products and services, including online stores, inventory management, and fulfillment support.

The platform’s B2B-focused offering includes: 

  • Company accounts and customer groups
  • Self-service customer portals
  • Purchasing workflows 
  • RFQ functionality
  • Postponed payment options
  • Advanced analytics
  • Automatic reordering through an extension

B2B ecommerce websites FAQ

What is a B2B ecommerce website?

A B2B ecommerce website is a site that sells products, services, or information to business clients. You might set up a B2B ecommerce site where potential business clients can learn about your services, obtain a quote, and contract your company.

Can Shopify be used for B2B?

Yes, you can use Shopify for B2B sales. Shopify Plus is Shopify’s dedicated B2B ecommerce platform. It offers direct-to-consumer and wholesale purchasing functions. Features include customer accounts, 24/7 customer support, CRM integration, and more. Shopify Plus accepts more than 100 payment providers and international currencies. 

What is an example of a B2B ecommerce website?

A B2B ecommerce website might be a landing page for a company that provides cleaning and extermination services to commercial office owners or an online store for a coffee roastery that sells wholesale beans to hospitality industry clients. These websites offer specialized features like wholesale pricing, quote management, and automatic reordering.

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