Choosing a B2B E-Commerce Platform? Here’s What to Know

There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing a B2B E-Commerce Platform, but the following points will make or break your selection.

Choosing a B2B E-Commerce Platform

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As a business owner, you may need to set up a B2B e-commerce platform. Companies choosing a B2B E-Commerce platform to set up their online marketplaces in order to boost revenue streams and reach a wider customer network have to put in a lot of work to discover which one will work best for their business. 

There are plenty of e-commerce solutions and they are all marketed the same way, so uncovering what they will and won’t do for you isn’t always apparent. This guide looks at some of the key factors you should ask about when choosing a B2B e-commerce platform.

1. Your Budget

How much are you willing to spend on an e-commerce solution?

There are plenty of solutions on the market with both open-source and tailor-made e-commerce platforms. Most tailor-made e-commerce solutions are pretty expensive and are customized to meet a business’s specific needs. Click here to check out our guide on how to calculate eCommerce pricing.

Open-source solutions are available for free. However, you may need to hire a developer to customize the solution or add other integrations to meet your business needs. You need to be aware that expensive software is not always the best.


We would recommend going for open-source solutions because the TCO, or total cost of ownership, is relatively low compared to tailor-made solutions. For example, you will get future product updates and patches for free with open-source solutions.


• Requires more maintenance
• Typically less secure
• Typically harder to maintain and update

SaaS e-Commerce Solutions. Software as a service (SaaS) has become a much more appealing option over the last decade. Also known as hosted software, SaaS generally refers to cloud-based software that’s usually part of an ongoing subscription or monthly hosting fee. A couple great examples are BigCommerce and Shopify, where software is hosted and maintained by the service provider, giving the user less responsibility (and fewer things to worry about).


• Highest level of security
• 24/7 Tech support
• Much easier to get up and running
• Include trusted apps for functionality extension


• Higher monthly hosting fees
• Hard to customize checkout page
• B2B will require additional apps

2. APIs and Extension Integrations

Is the solution compatible with App extensions or third-party APIs?

If you’re running a B2B e-commerce platform, you will need features such as ERPs (enterprise resource planning) software to manage your business. For large companies, an ERP will help you manage your inventory better and also automate some of the services.

APIs can help you add more features to your platform. With an API, you don’t have to rebuild or reinvent the wheel whenever you want to add new functionalities to your e-commerce platform. For example, you can add an e-mail API that sends a monthly newsletter to your clients.

Take a look at BigCommerce’s list of Apps. You’ll notice many are free and many require additional fees, but this will give you a real good idea of 3rd party services you may need to integrate.

bigcommerce apps


3. User Experience

Statistics show that the behavior of online clients depends on the customer experience they get on a platform.

You need to ensure that your clients get the best experience when visiting your online store. The webpages need to load fast, and features such as ‘add to cart’ and checkout must be accessible. For reference, check what payment some of the features most e-commerce platforms support.

When choosing a B2B E-Commerce platform – make sure it’s mobile friendly. Most people access the internet via their smartphones. Your storefront needs to be optimized for all types of screens. The webpages also need to be intuitive and use the best colors. This will make clients spend more time and become return customers.

There are many e-Commerce requirements to consider:

Some great examples that can have a critical impact on the performance, scalability, and usability of your e-Commerce platform include:

  • Security – it is important to specify the level of security that should be met such
  • Privacy – meeting basic requirements for GDPR
  • Scalability and performance – can the system scale to meet expected current and future traffic and order volume at normal and peak times
  • Speed user journeys – defining how long each step in the mobile order process takes
  • Speed of services – defining how services will take to provide a response
  • Accessibility – ensuring that the platform meets the basic accessibility standards throughout
  • Documentation and Usability – ensuring that the platform is sufficiently documented and easy to understand with minimal or no training
  • Quality – even the best mobile ordering platforms can be poorly designed, so code should be developed to a good quality standard
  • Extensibility – ensuring that the platform is extended in such a way to make future development feasible
  • Data integrity and retention – defining how long data should be stored and reviewable
  • Testing – defining how unit testing will be built into the solution
  • Compatibility – ensuring that the platform can be easily integrated with 3rd party systems
  • Search – defining how quickly the system will return search results on and off line
  • Infrastructure – defining the performance thresholds (CPU and memory usage)


The list above is just a short list of key non-functional requirements. Moving beyond that you may need to hire a user experience manager and user interface engineer to help you design and build your storefront.

Another thing to look into is headless e-commerce pace platforms offer the best customer experience. Unlike other solutions, the front end and back end of the e-commerce platform are decoupled, making the storefront very lightweight.

4. Scalability

Choosing a B2B E-Commerce platform that will grow with your business is a must. Your e-commerce site may not attract high web traffic during the first few weeks or months. However, with time and as your brand grows, your site will start attracting more web traffic. Along with this additional traffic your site will need to change how functionality works to improve your customer experience.

You do not want a site that will end up crashing when you receive massive traffic. This may happen, especially during Black Friday or the holiday season when people shop a lot. E-commerce platforms with cloud-native support are the best when it comes to scalability.

5. Technical and Customer Support

Customer support is very important when purchasing software. When using the platform, you will encounter technical issues or may require help when setting up or during customizations. Being put on hold for long hours or having unresponsiveness customer support can be very frustrating. Before buying the application, make sure the product has an active customer support team.

6. Payment Gateways

If you’re selling your products globally, you will need to have various payment gateways on your e-commerce platform. A reliable payment gateway should allow clients to make card payments or pay using services such as PayPal or Stripe. The payment gateway also needs to be secure, especially for clients paying via either Visa or Mastercard.

So, when choosing a B2B e-commerce platform, go for one that supports integrations with multiple payment wallets. The better if the platform can support bank APIs integrated into the site. When doing your research, visit several e-commerce sites and see which payment gateways they support.

7. Built-In SEO Features

Online businesses rely on SEO and online marketing. A good B2B e-commerce platform should come with inbuilt SEO and marketing features. The SEO features will allow you to create product descriptions to help your site rank top on SERPs, or search engine results pages.

Other marketing extensions include e-mail marketing. You can ask customers to sign up for a monthly newsletter and send them product and price updates. However, you need to be careful when handling customer data.

Analytic tools are also essential to help monitor your customers’ behavior when visiting your site. One of the best analytical tools is Google Analytics, which offers real-time analytics and insights on customer behavior.

It’s important to note that SEO takes place on site and off-site. Making sure you have the built-in SEO features is the first step, the second step is content, outreach and link building. For that you may want to look at a fully manages SEO provider like the Hoth.

8. Cloud-Native Support

There are plenty of hosting platforms where you can host your e-commerce platform. Some people choose to host your sites in-house by setting up servers within their premises, and this can be expensive and requires technical knowledge regarding server and database management.

The other solution is cloud-native support, which means that your B2B e-commerce platform has inbuilt cloud support. With native cloud support, you do not have to pay for hosting services. Cloud services are faster and you can automate most of the update processes.

Wrapping Up

Online marketplace solutions can help you tap extra revenue from global clients. There are plenty of B2B e-commerce platforms in the market. The type of solution you choose will predict the success of your business. When choosing a B2B e-commerce platform, consider some of the factors shared above.

Whichever e-Commerce platform you choose, it should allow you to easily integrate other features such as e-mail marketing, sales channels, payment gateways, and ERP solutions.