B2B platforms comparison 2024

Many believe that selecting the right B2B commerce platform is a straightforward task, but the reality is far more complex. With the digital landscape evolving rapidly, businesses in 2024 face the challenge of choosing a platform that not only meets their current needs but also anticipates future growth and changes in the market. In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the critical aspects of B2B commerce platforms, from the indispensable features that enhance functionality and user experience to the integration capabilities that streamline operations. We also explore the paramount importance of security measures and compliance standards to safeguard your data, the scalability options to support your business's expansion, and the pricing models that affect your bottom line. Our aim is to equip you with the knowledge to make an informed decision, ensuring your chosen platform is a catalyst for success in the ever-competitive B2B landscape. 

Top features to look for in B2B commerce platforms in 2024

Modern B2B commerce should provide Omnichannel Capabilities. The platform should seamlessly integrate multiple sales channels such as online marketplaces, mobile apps, social media platforms, and offline channels like sales reps or distributors. This ensures a consistent and unified customer experience across all touchpoints.

As the digital landscape evolves, B2B commerce platforms must adapt to meet the changing needs of businesses. One critical feature to consider is the integration capabilities with existing systems such as ERP, CRM, and PIM. Seamless integration ensures that data flows smoothly between systems, reducing manual entry errors and improving operational efficiency. A case study by a leading electronics manufacturer showed that after implementing a B2B platform with robust integration capabilities, they experienced a 30% reduction in order processing times and a significant improvement in customer satisfaction scores.

In the digital age, security and compliance are paramount for any business, especially for B2B commerce platforms that handle sensitive business and customer data. Robust security measures such as data encryption, secure payment gateways, user authentication, and compliance with industry regulations (e.g., GDPR, CCPA) are non-negotiables. Customers need assurance that their sensitive data is protected.

Lastly, the importance of customization and scalability cannot be overstated. As businesses grow and market demands change, B2B commerce platforms must be able to adapt. This means offering customizable options that can cater to specific business needs and scaling up to handle increased traffic and transactions. A recent case study involving a B2B SaaS provider highlighted how switching to a highly customizable and scalable platform resulted in a 40% increase in customer acquisition and a 25% increase in operational efficiency. This underscores the need for platforms that are not only robust and feature-rich but also flexible enough to support business growth.

Evaluating the best B2B commerce platforms: omnichannel user experience

When selecting a B2B commerce platform, the user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) are critical factors that can significantly impact the efficiency and satisfaction of both your team and your clients. A platform with an intuitive interface and seamless user experience can lead to higher adoption rates, increased customer loyalty, and ultimately, a boost in sales. For instance, platforms like Shopify Plus and Magento Commerce are renowned for their customizable interfaces and user-friendly designs, which cater to a wide range of business needs. 

Shopify Plus offers a more streamlined experience for users looking for ease of use without sacrificing functionality, while Magento Commerce provides extensive customization options for businesses with specific requirements. Adding to these, OroCommerce stands out in the B2B domain by offering a deeply customizable platform designed specifically for complex B2B operations, featuring capabilities like multiple price lists, personalized catalogs, and customer-specific configurations that enhance the B2B buying process. Similarly, SAP Commerce Cloud delivers robust functionality tailored for both B2B and B2C markets, focusing on scalability and integration capabilities. It supports comprehensive cross-channel experiences and includes advanced features such as real-time stock management and complex pricing models, which are essential for large-scale enterprises managing extensive product lines and services globally. 

Each of these platforms has distinct strengths. Shopify Plus and Magento are excellent for their user-friendly interfaces and customization capabilities. OroCommerce excels in addressing the intricate needs of B2B sellers. SAP Commerce Cloud offers a powerful solution for businesses seeking extensive integration with other enterprise systems and robust scalability across multiple business models.  

However, there are also other more or less known B2B Commerce platforms. One f them is Shopware which is a German eCommerce platform that has been powering online businesses for over 20 years. It offers a modular structure, with over 4000 ready-made plugins that can be easily tailored to desired business requirements. Also CommerceTools is the world’s leading commerce platform built on modern MACH principles (Microservices support, API first, Cloud native and Headless). On the other hand there are less known but strong players like Sylius wich is an outstanding eCommerce framework providing a developer-friendly environment for creating any shopping experience for B2C and B2B eCommerce operating in the most demanding models. Worth mentioning is also ElasticPath which is a highly flexible and extensible B2B eCommerce engine that gives organizations the control they need to meet complex and unique requirements by API-First approach. 

Let’s highlight some crucial features of these platforms: 

Shopify Plus

Might score highly on ease of use and mobile responsiveness, appealing to businesses that value straightforward setups and smooth mobile experiences. 

Magento Commerce

Could lead in customization options, ideal for companies needing bespoke solutions. 

BigCommerce Enterprise

Might offer a balance between ease of use and customization, catering to businesses looking for flexible yet user-friendly options. 

OroCommerce

May excel in customization and complex pricing structures specifically tailored for B2B enterprises, making it a strong candidate for those with intricate business models and client hierarchies. 

SAP Commerce Cloud

Could be highlighted for its integration capabilities and scalability, perfect for large enterprises that operate both B2B and B2C models and require robust, enterprise-level solutions. 

Shopware

Offers B2B Suite to automate and facilitate the complex business operations It contains toolkit for advanced and rapid storefront development called Composable Frontends. 

Sylius

There are number of plugins which empowers user experience and speeds-up customization.

CommerceTools

Allows businesses to tailor experiences to the exact needs of their customers by creating custom UI components. It also offers frontend no-code tools to achieve better time to market by non-technical users. 

ElasticPath

Has account-specific catalogs that include negotiated pricing and unique product assortment. It also offers Pre-Integrated Store to accelerate implementation phase (currently only for B2C). 

Integration capabilities: connecting your B2B commerce platform with essential business tools

Integrating your B2B commerce platform with other business tools is crucial for streamlining operations and enhancing efficiency. The ability to seamlessly connect with CRM systems, ERP solutions, marketing automation tools, and analytics platforms can significantly impact your business's agility and responsiveness. For instance, platforms like Salesforce Commerce Cloud offer robust integration capabilities with a wide range of Salesforce applications, ensuring a unified approach to customer management and sales processes. On the other hand, platforms such as Magento (Adobe Commerce) provide extensive APIs and a marketplace filled with pre-built integrations, catering to businesses looking for flexibility and customization. 

Adding to these, OroCommerce excels in integration, particularly for B2B companies requiring specialized business processes. It offers out-of-the-box integrations with popular CRM and ERP systems, and its open-source nature allows further customization to ensure seamless interaction with virtually any existing business technology stack. This makes OroCommerce particularly valuable for companies that depend on highly tailored software ecosystems. 

Considering the diversity of integration needs among B2B businesses, it's essential to evaluate the compatibility of a commerce platform with your existing tech stack. Platforms like SAP Commerce Cloud are designed to integrate deeply with SAP's ecosystem, offering unparalleled synchronization for businesses already invested in SAP's suite of products. Conversely, newer platforms like Shopify Plus have made significant strides in expanding their integration capabilities, focusing on ease of use and rapid deployment, which might be more appealing for businesses prioritizing quick market adaptation and lower upfront costs. 

The other notable B2B commerce platforms like Shopware, Sylius, CommerceTools, and ElasticPath are all robust eCommerce platforms with have also strong integration capabilities. Shopware offers Digital Sales Rooms that integrate seamlessly into your existing eCommerce infrastructure, creating immersive shopping experiences. Sylius provides around 70-80% of standard eCommerce features with the flexibility to customize or add the remaining features, making it ideal for advanced B2Cs, B2Bs, Multi-vendor Marketplaces, or SaaS eCommerce modules. CommerceTools, a cloud-native platform, enables businesses to automate processes, customize product catalogs, and pricing, supporting expansion to new business models. ElasticPath allows rapid creation and optimization of B2B experiences with unlimited account-specific catalogs and B2B-focused cart and checkout, offering no-code and low-code B2B solution integrations that reduce time-to-market and cost by up to 60%. 

The table below provides a comparison of integration capabilities among leading B2B commerce platforms, highlighting key differences in their approach to connectivity with essential business tools. This comparison aims to assist businesses in making an informed decision based on their specific integration requirements and existing software ecosystem. 

Security and compliance: ensuring your B2B platform protects your data

With the ever-increasing sophistication of cyber threats, choosing a B2B commerce platform that prioritizes security and compliance is paramount. Businesses must ensure that their data, along with their customers' information, is safeguarded against breaches and unauthorized access. This involves evaluating platforms based on several key criteria: 

Encryption standards

The platform should employ robust encryption methods for data at rest and in transit, ensuring that sensitive information is always protected. 

Compliance certifications

Look for platforms that adhere to international security standards and regulations, such as GDPR, PCI DSS, and ISO/IEC 27001, to mitigate legal and financial risks. 

Regular security audits

Opt for providers that conduct frequent and comprehensive security assessments to identify and rectify potential vulnerabilities. 

Access controls

The ability to finely tune user permissions and roles is crucial for minimizing the risk of internal threats and data leaks. 

Incident response plans

A clear and tested incident response strategy ensures that the platform can swiftly address and mitigate the impact of any security breaches. 

By rigorously assessing these aspects, businesses can significantly reduce their exposure to cyber risks and protect their reputation, ensuring a secure and compliant B2B commerce environment. 

Scalability and performance: choosing a platform that grows with your business

Choosing the right B2B commerce platform is critical for ensuring long-term success and scalability. Experts advise that businesses should prioritize platforms that offer robust scalability options and high performance. This means looking for solutions that can handle increasing volumes of transactions, data, and users without compromising on speed or user experience. A platform's ability to scale not only supports business growth but also ensures that you can maintain efficiency and customer satisfaction as your operations expand.

Performance is another key factor that cannot be overlooked. A platform that offers high-speed transactions and page loads can significantly enhance the user experience, leading to higher conversion rates and customer retention. High-performance platforms are designed to manage large volumes of traffic and complex operations seamlessly, which is essential for B2B businesses that deal with extensive product catalogs and customer databases. Therefore, evaluating a platform's performance capabilities is crucial in the selection process. 

Moreover, consulting with industry experts and leveraging case studies can provide valuable insights into how different platforms have scaled with businesses over time. This real-world evidence can guide decision-making, highlighting platforms that have a proven track record of supporting business growth. Additionally, flexibility in customization and integration capabilities are important considerations, as they allow businesses to tailor the platform to their specific needs and ensure it can evolve with changing business requirements. Ultimately, selecting a B2B commerce platform that excels in scalability and performance is foundational to building a resilient and thriving business. 

Cost analysis: understanding pricing models of leading B2B commerce platforms

Delving into the pricing models of leading B2B commerce platforms reveals a complex landscape, where understanding the nuances can significantly impact your bottom line. These platforms typically offer a variety of pricing structures designed to accommodate businesses of different sizes and needs. Key considerations include subscription fees, transaction fees, and the cost of additional features or services. It's crucial for businesses to thoroughly evaluate these costs in relation to their specific operational requirements and growth objectives. 

Among the leading platforms, several common pricing models can be identified: 

Subscription-based models

These usually involve a monthly or annual fee, which may vary based on the number of users, the volume of transactions, or the level of customer support required. 

Transaction fee models

Some platforms charge a fee per transaction, which can be a fixed amount or a percentage of the transaction value. This model can be cost-effective for businesses with lower transaction volumes. 

Freemium models

Offering basic services for free while charging for advanced features, freemium models can be an attractive option for startups and small businesses looking to scale. 

Evaluating these models requires a deep understanding of your business's current and future needs, ensuring that the chosen platform can support growth without becoming prohibitively expensive.