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If you want to dominate B2B eCommerce, you need the right platform for the job. In 2023, you have dozens of options to choose from. The good news is that you really only need to consider three:

  • Shopify if yours is a small business
  • BigCommerce if it’s a medium-sized business
  • Adobe Commerce/Magento if you run an enterprise

Okay, it might not be that simple. The right choice will depend on some unique factors you’ll need to consider. In this article, I’ll go through specific factors for each of these B2B platforms andcover some important aspects of B2B

Top 4 B2B eCommerce Challenges According to Business Owners

Before we get to the best possible platform for your specific B2B company, let’s look some of the reasons it’s become so important to make the right decision and then make the most of your eCommerce site to win new business. In 2020, 86% of B2B companies reported that they were using their websites to engage customers and prospects online. And yet, we know firsthand that many B2B business owners and decision makers still struggle with the decision to go “all in” on their eCommerce websites.

While every B2B company is unique – even within the same industries – we’ve seen the same four challenges come up again and again when decision makers are hesitant about investing in their eCommerce websites.They are:

1. Large or Custom Catalogs

A lot of the B2B companies that come to us are doubtful that they’ll be able to seamlessly transition into an eCommerce because their catalogs are too large, or the custom nature of these inventories simply won’t translate well to a website.

2. Reluctance to List Full Catalogs or Pricing Online

Similarly, many B2B business owners are reluctant to list their entire catalogs online. Many times, we hear this concern from clients who don’t necessarily even have the largest catalogs we’ve seen. They simply don’t like the idea of their competitors looking at what they offer, especially their prices. Many B2B companies offer special prices to different shoppers based on a number of unique factors. They may even use a “request a quote” feature on their product pages to make it easier for shoppers to receive this specialized pricing.

3. Potential Threats from Global Resale Partners

Many B2B businesses depend on resale partners – often located throughout the world – to drive sales. So, it’s understandable that these business owners are concerned with how a stronger eCommerce presence could threaten these valuable partners.

4. Customers Prefer to Send Purchase Orders Directly to Sales Reps

While this may have been a problem at one point for many B2B eCommerce companies, more and more, online orders are becoming the norm. One big reason for this is simply the people who are placing these orders. Many of them became buyers a decade ago or even longer back. They’re used to the old-fashioned way of doing things and don’t want to change.


Solving These Common B2B eCommerce Challenges

Every B2B business is unique, so there’s no one best way to address any of the eCommerce challenges we just covered. But we’ll cover the solutions in the coming article by talking about trends that show the tide is changing (i.e., younger buyers taking over who prefer online catalogs) and explaining how the right eCommerce platform can make these problems a thing of the past.

Why B2B Companies Need to Go Online

Why B2B Companies Need to Be Online

Despite these challenges, it’s absolutely vital that wholesalers and manufacturers get their products online and invest in eCommerce websites and B2B eCommerce marketing strategies.

The BIG reason is that the search engines such as Google won't be able to show potential customers your products unless your catalogs are listed online. Many B2B companies have found out the hard way that just having a PDF of their inventories online – which search engines can’t “read” – or, worse, just a page or two summing up what they do isn’t enough to attract traffic and earn conversions.

When your B2B customers are looking for certain parts or want a certain tool that they need to solve their business needs, they’re probably going to turn to Google. Yet Google will never send that customer to you if your site doesn’t have the information or products they want.

With B2B eCommerce expected to continue to grow – by as much as 20% between 2023 and 2030 – it’s never been more important to invest in an eCommerce presence for your company ASAP.

B2B eCommerce Growth: 15 Important Statistics

Need more proof that your B2B eCommerce website is essential for success? Let’s look at some compelling statistics:

  • 90% of B2B buyers start their research online. Again, if you're not there, that’s A LOT of potential customers who are likely to even consider what your B2B company has to offer.
  • 74% of these buyers actually prefer to be able to do their purchase online. So, while maintaining an “IRL” presence may still be important (more on that in just a moment), the majority of your customers probably want to explore their options online ANDmake their purchases there, too.
  • What’s more, 84% of those customers prefer to do their repeat purchases online, as well. If you're not serving this demographic, then you're not just missing out on the initial sale. You’re missing out on the ongoing revenue they would continue to provide your B2B business in the future.
  • 65% of companies right now are made up of the younger generations, either Millennials or Gen Z-ers. These younger people grew up with the Internet. It’s second nature to them. So, when they are ready to make purchases, they go online to look for B2B sellers.
  • 73% of these companies are actually being led by Millennials now or, at the very least, they're the decisionmakers when it comes to purchasing decisions. That number – and the influence of these younger generations – will only continue to grow.
  • 17% is the current year-to-year growth for B2B online sales, which totals $1.8 trillion. And that’s despite of all the economic challenges that we saw in 2023. B2B is still growing at a rapid rate, especially compared to B2C businesses.
  • 1/3 of B2B buyers make a purchase up to three times a day! And the majority of the rest are still purchasing at least once every single day, so it’s no wonder why B2B revenue continues to grow online.
  • 5% is the annual growth rate for conventional B2B companies and yet the rate of eCommerce growth year-after-year is an incredible 10%!
  • 2/3 B2B sellers are getting more than 50% of their sales from this online presence.
  • 75% of these B2B businesses expect that more than 50% of their revenue will be through eCommerce over the course of next year.
  • 75% of brands expect to invest heavily in their eCommerce presence by 2024. Those remaining that do not take their eCommerce sites seriously are going to really miss out on this growth opportunity.
  • Many B2B companies are reporting about 63% of their revenue is coming through people doing research online and then placing the order through an offline channel or some combination of the two.

So, what does this mean for the offline aspects of your business? Does the growth of B2B eCommerce mean that your company should put of their resources into a website? Not exactly.

Hybrid Approach: Nurturing Online and Offline Sales

According to research done by McKinsey & Companyin 2022:

“Hybrid selling—initially an adaptation to the pandemic—is expected to be the most dominant sales strategy by 2024 due to shifts in customer preferences and remote-first engagement.”

In short, the hybrid approach is when you combine both offline and online sales so that they work together. So, making sure you still have sales representatives to support your eCommerce sales is still very important.

The Top 3 B2B Ecommerce Platforms in 2023

When selecting a B2B eCommerce platform, it's essential to consider its features, customizability, and alignment with business needs. Here's a brief overview of the top three platforms:

Shopify & Shopify Plus

Shopify Plus

Shopify has been an extremely popular eCommerce platform since it debuted in 2006 and is currently the fastest-growing eCommerce platform on the planet. Just some of the many B2B companies that use Shopify include:

  • Pangaia
  • Microfiber Wholesale
  • Mac Tools
  • Primera

Other huge companies you’ve heard of also use Shopify, including Staples, Tesla, Wikipedia, and even the popstar Adele!


The Benefits of Shopify and Shopify Plus for B2B Companies

But does Shopify make sense for your eCommerce business? Let’s look at some of the benefits that have attracted others.

  •  Easy to Get Started: Initially, the big reason behind Shopify’s success – and early adoption by B2B companies – was how incredibly user-friendly it is. It's a host-less solution so you can just sign up on their website and start playing around with it. Like I mentioned, it's the fastest growing platform from small businesses to large businesses. Shopify is one of the fastest growing platforms out there and partially is due to how easy it is to get started and also how quickly the company is innovating with the new features they're coming out with. This is a really important point to appreciate. With Shopify, “user-friendly” doesn’t mean “lower your expectations.” As we’ve talked about before, Shopify is great for SEO, which means you can start attracting new B2B customers ASAP. Better still, Shopify can produce impressive conversion rates, as well. So, you won’t just save money. It can help you make a lotmore money, too.
  • Endless B2B Innovations: Of the three platforms we’re about to cover for B2B eCommerce companies, Shopify is by far the most innovative. On top of that, it regularly introduces more innovations every single year. So, this is definitely an eCommerce platform that is continuing to evolve and improve. They have the largest App Store compared to any other platform out there. You're going to have a lot of different add-ons that are easily accessible to you and your company and a lot of these are B2B focused. The other key takeaway is that they are very focused on B2B initiative and they are rolling out a lot of new features so it is pretty important to note that they are focused on B2B and B2B features so that you know that they're going to continue to innovate in this area.
  • Shopify Plus Company Profiles: For example, this past year, Shopify Plus rolled out innovative B2B features like company profiles, which you set up inside of your Shopify account. This lets you set up different users under that company so you can have a profile that you can use to give a discount to you can have different approval processes and then they can go in order for their organization. This is a very big feature to allow you to start doing B2B on Shopify. They now have quality purchasing rules so you can set up different quantities either a minimum purchase or where you have discounts for higher quantities that are purchased such as if you order 100 you get x amount of discount if you order 200 you get 20 discount if you order 500 then you get a 30 discount so they have quantity rules now built in which is a very nice feature.
  • Quick Ordering Tables: When it comes to Shopify, I would say that they are probably most in line with medium and small companies. As we touched on above, there are also a lot of larger enterprises using Shopify since they have less ability for customizations for fully customized a lot of the bigger organizations doing 100 million dollars online they're not necessarily using Shopify because of the limitations of the customizations they're seeing there.
  • Low Maintenance Costs: And yet, despite all of these advantages, Shopify is actually very affordable to maintain. Again, it’s a hostless platform, which helps reduce those costs significantly. This makes it easy to maintain year after year without having to go and do security patches or upgrade yourself.


The Drawbacks of Shopify and Shopify Plus for B2B Companies

But plenty of B2B business owners would struggle to get everything they want from Shopify, which is already a problem before we even get to the initial drawback of this platform:

  • Revenue Percentage Fees: Shopify will essentially charge you a commission on all of your sales. It will be 2.9% of your sales, plus an additional $00.30 per sale of your online products or services. For actual physical products, you’ll pay 2.7% per sale. If your B2B business uses a different payment gateway than Shopify Payments, you’ll also pay another 2% of every sale. That doesn’t necessarily need to be a dealbreaker, though. The reason we recommend it for many small businesses is that Shopify’s initial costs are so minimal. Your costs only go up if your revenue does, too.
  • Limited Customizations: Although we mentioned earlier that Shopify is the platform-of-choice for a wide range of B2B eCommerce companies, those are actually fairly simple sites if you take a look at what they can do. And that’s because Shopify’s share hosting means there’s only so much it can really support in terms of development. For many B2B companies, this limited customization potential is a deal breaker. If your bottom line depends on one-of-a-kind features that will give your business a competitive edge. That said, we can’t say enough about Shopify’s endless customizations for B2B companies.

The next two options on our list of B2B eCommerce platforms are probably better choices (that said, feel free to contact one of our Shopify developers to check if this platform will suit your needs before making a final decision). But again, for the vast majority of small- or medium-sized eCommerce companies, Shopify is a great choice and Shopify Plus is worth the extra investment if you need a bit more out of your platform.



BigCommerce focuses more on medium-sized businesses. The eCommerce platform is focused more on merchants that are doing $1-$50 million dollars online annually. A few examples of B2B companies that use BigCommerce include:

  • General Electric Aviation
  • Avery Denison
  • ResMed
  • Barron Designs

With its recent acquisition of BundleB2B anda B2B-specific version of the platform, BigCommerce is clearly making this sector a priority.


The Benefits of BigCommerce for B2B Companies

Why do successful B2B companies love BigCommerce. Let’s take a look at the biggest selling points.

  • Hosted Solution That Is Very Customizable: One of the biggest pros of BigCommerce is that it is a hosted eCommerce solution yet allows much more customizations than Shopify. This is the thing that BigCommerce has really become known for: being a middle-ground platform that is both a hosted solution andopen source. So, it gives business owners the convenience of a hostless solution, as well as the flexibility of an open-source platform.
  • …but Also VERY Low Maintenance: And so, another big reason B2B companies love BigCommerce is that it's extremely customizable and yet very low maintenance. If you’re a B2B business owner who wants a site that doesn’t feel boilerplate, BigCommerce will give you a lot of options for creating this one-of-a-kind look without requiring around-the-clock maintenance on your part.
  • Some Decent B2B Features: They have sales representative and sales representative quoting inside of the eCommerce. This allows sales representatives to log in as a customer help them place the order and it also allows them to create quotes for that order and then for the customer to approve it or disapprove that quote. They also have B2B rules so that you can set different tier pricings and different pricings four different customer groups or different tier pricings for volume as well. These are all very basic B2B features but also big Commerce is customizable. Some of the main features that they do have is they do have a B2B portal. When a business logs in they have an area to go to to see all their previous orders and to see the products that are available to them. They have corporate account management which is the same thing as a company management so that users can create a company inside of their Commerce and then you can associate users to that company so they can purchase orders for their organization.


The Drawbacks of BigCommerce for B2B companies

But BigCommerce does have some pitfalls you should know about before taking the plunge.

  • Customization and B2B Features Are Still Lacking: The cons for them is that it's not fully customizable and they're still building out their B2B feature list so they don't have all the features of some of the other platforms too. While it has a limited amount of B2B features built out of the box it is customizable so you can add additional features to what they currently have.
  • BigCommerce vs. Shopify for B2B Business Owners: As we mentioned earlier, BigCommerce is probably the right choice if your business is medium-sized. But that fit isn’t 100% guaranteed. Shopify could actually be a better choice anda more affordable one.

For a head-to-head comparison, check out our post about “Shopify vs. BigCommerce.” If you have specific questions about this particular platform, you can always talk to one of our BigCommerce developers.

Adobe Commerce (Formerly Magento)

Adobe Commerce

Finally, let’s talk about the pros and cons of Adobe Commerce, which used to be known as Magento before Adobe acquired this popular website platform. Some of the biggest B2B websites in the world use Adobe Commerce, including household names like:

  • Amazon
  • Alibaba
  • Grainger
  • Food Service Direct

We’ve also covered how some huge B2C companies like Helly Hansen and Wilson Sporting Goods love Adobe, too, if you’re curious. But let’s look at why the platform has become synonymous with B2B eCommerce.


The Advantages of Adobe Commerce for B2B Companies

This is one of the oldest platforms around and yet Adobe continues to innovate and add to its long list of features. For many, Magento is synonymous with B2B websites – a reputation Adobe has continued to bolster. Let’s dig into some of the big reasons Adobe Commerce keeps winning over B2B business owners.

  • Total Customization: Adobe Commerce is fully customizable. It's completely open source so you can modify it however you wish. You can dive into any part of the code and modify it for your business leads which is a big bonus to a lot of bigger companies that need to customize their eCommerce seats exactly to how their business Works. Vegeta has been doing B2B for a really long time so it has a lot of poor B2B features baked into the platform.
  • Support for Complex Products: One of the other significant features that Adobe Commerce has, that is not just for B2B businesses but is for any type of retailer, is that it can handle more complex products. It has a whole bunch of different types of products that you can use within Adobe Commerce, and that can build out more complex solutions for merchants to be able to have more complex catalogs. We see these more complex products and more complex catalogs with a lot of B2B merchants, such as manufacturers and wholesalers. A lot of times, they have more complex needs. This is a significant feature for them.
  • Bulk Ordering for B2B Buyers: Adobe Commerce has more B2B features baked in or out of the box than any other platform around. Some of the main features that it has baked in are the ability to create companies and users under it, which a lot of these other platforms have, but you can also create different custom catalogs for individual companies, which is a significant feature as well. It has a lot of the quick order tables already built in, so you can make bulk orders quicker. You can bulk order using a CSV file, so directly uploaded to the store, and that can place a bulk order for a merchant.
  • Merchant Ordering and Quote Creation: It also has a sales representative baked in, so the sales representative can log in as a merchant and place an order for them, or companies can be associated with sales representatives, so they can get commission and be attributed to any sales that the company makes on the website. It also has quoting features built in, so you can request a quote, you can send that business a quote, and then that business can either decline it or approve the quote, and if they decline it, then it can go back to the sales representative, and they can modify it based upon that merchant's needs.
  • Take Full Advantage of Adobe Suite: Another key benefit to Adobe Commerce is that it gives you access to the full power of Adobe’s entiresuite of products. This includes everything from Adobe Analytics – for understanding all of your customer interactions – to Adobe Firefly and Sense GenAI – which will revolutionize how you create visual assets – and so much more.

The Drawbacks of Adobe Commerce for B2B Companies

Finally, let’s talk about some of the reasons you may want to pass on Adobe Commerce for your B2B company’s website.
  • Higher Price Tag for the Initial Build: We’ve gone into the cost of Adobe Commerce in great detail before because it there’s a lot of nuance involved (the same goes for the price of upgrading Adobe Commerce). It all depends on what exactly you want for your B2B business. But sufficed to say, it’s significantly more expensive than Shopify Plus and BigCommerce. So, the initial build of an Adobe Commerce website is going to cost you and you will need to hire an experienced developer unless you have one in-house. Of course, the potential for your eCommerce website can be exponentially greater because Adobe Commerce is so feature-rich. It’s just that you’ll need to pay for that potential upfront.
  • Higher Maintenance Costs: For the same reasons, it’s going to cost you more to upkeep and maintain your Adobe Commerce website. Unless you can handle all of your own upgrades, you have to handle everything from upgrades to security patches and more. And adding other tools from Adobe’s impressive suite is going to come with extra costs, too. For example, the price of Adobe Analytics – though 100% worth it – is probably going to cost you $2,000 to $2,500 a month.

Adobe Commerce vs. Shopify for B2B Business Owners

If you’re curious about how Adobe Commerce stacks up against Shopify, we’ve actually blogged about this before in a lot of detail. Check out our post, “Shopify vs. Adobe Commerce” for more information or just reach out to talk to one of our eCommerce experts.

What eCommerce Is Best for Your B2B Company?

Choosing the right B2B eCommerce platform is crucial for businesses looking to expand and adapt to the digital age. Each of the three eCommerce platforms we covered above offers unique features and benefits – along with some notable drawbacks. Once again, the following generallymakes sense based on the size of an eCommerce company:

  • Shopify:Small businesses
  • BigCommerce: Medium-sized businesses
  • Adobe Commerce/Magento: Enterprises

But there are tons of examples of successful B2B companies that didn’t follow these guidelines and have still enjoyed plenty of online success. Ultimately, the choice depends on your unique company's specific needs and goals. If you’d like help with making this important decision, we’d love to hear from you. Contact us to speak with one of our eCommerce experts. We can schedule a no-obligation consultation that will make sure you select the perfect platform for your business.


Let’s chat!