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Whether you’re starting your business to business (B2B) ecommerce journey or you’re aiming to reach new levels of ecommerce capabilities, it’s important to choose the right solution for your needs.

We’ve taken a look at how five leading solutions, including Cloudfy, compare with regards to the range of requirements you are looking for. Here’s our overview of some of the best B2B ecommerce platforms out there.

Scalability

As your business grows, your B2B wholesale ecommerce platform needs to grow too. You also want to be confident that you can accommodate peak online demand without having to maintain excess capacity. Cloud-based, on-demand platforms make a lot of sense in this regard, but there are other options for you to consider too.

Cloudfy Cloudfy’s Software as a Service (SaaS) in the Cloud means that you have an easy to manage solution that can grow and scale as and when you need it to.
WooCommerce This is the ecommerce option for WordPress. If you don’t already have a hosting provider, there are plenty to choose from. Many will have specialist WordPress support.
Shopify Shopify has a large Content Delivery Network (CDN) of servers across the world, enabling your B2B online store to load quickly.
Magento Magento Digital Commerce Cloud B2B was launched in 2017 to support complex B2B ecommerce requirements out-of-the-box.
IBM WebSphere WebSphere application servers are available on IBM Cloud and can be clustered to provide scalability and workload balancing to support availability.


User experience

One of the most important features of your B2B ecommerce site will be the user journey. High-quality templates will help ensure your site looks great, while easy-to-use dashboards will make maintaining and updating your quality content straightforward.

Cloudfy Cloudfy has been designed and optimised for B2B ecommerce, offering a range of flexible templates that can easily accommodate your brand. There are also straightforward upload options for product information and connection with back office systems.
WooCommerce WordPress offers Storefront to integrate with WooCommerce. It’s built and maintained by WooCommerce core developers, so the risk of conflict is minimised. Product information can be uploaded from CSV files.
Shopify Shopify offers free and paid-for templates in its Theme Store that can be updated to your brand’s specifications.
Magento B2B ecommerce themes are available in the Magento Marketplace, while there are also plenty of third party providers.
IBM WebSphere Content Template for WebSphere is designed to use with your own components and workflows.


Responsiveness

Business buyers are increasingly using their mobile devices for business-related searching, so your site needs to be responsive. Speed is a big issue, so you need to be ready to deliver super-fast response times for mobile users. What’s more, Google mobile-first indexing now means that your desktop site rankings are affected by the quality of your mobile content, so this should be a definite priority.

Cloudfy Cloudfy’s responsive design delivers a secure, fast, high-quality experience for mobile and desktop users alike.
WooCommerce WooCommerce recommends its Storefront ecommerce theme to make sure your site will adapt and display properly on mobile devices.
Shopify Shopify includes a built-in mobile commerce shopping cart for customers to browse and buy using their mobile devices.
Magento Magento says its B2B site is mobile-optimised to deliver seamless user experiences.
IBM WebSphere IBM’s Responsive Web Design provides changes in screen size, from small to large, for mobile devices and desktop channels.


Pro
duct management

No matter how large or complex your product catalogue, your customers will expect to find what they are looking for quickly and easily. Ideally, offering a personalised view can really help to improve your customers’ experience when on your site.

Cloudfy With Cloudfy, you can create customer-specific catalogues, menus and categories along with product templates and easy information downloads.
WooCommerce WooCommerce has a range of merchandising options to create your catalogue and display your products.
Shopify Adding product information is fairly straightforward and Shopify offers a number of third party catalogue options in its App Store.
Magento Magento supports customisable catalogues and personalised price lists for companies or groups of customers.
IBM WebSphere There is a catalogue of WebSphere content templates, and targeted content can be created using audience segments. There are also ‘portlets’ that can be used to customise content.


Customer service

Self-service is one of the top priorities for the modern B2B buyer. In fact, recent research from Digital Commerce 360 found that 52% of buyers place self-service as being very important in terms of having an overall positive customer experience.

Cloudfy As well as customer self-service, Cloudfy includes customer account management, authorisation and workflow. You can also manage customer returns, contracts and quote to cash.
WooCommerce Customer accounts and checkouts can be supported, along with one-click refunds, reporting and notifications. Built-in payment processing is included from payment providers like PayPal and other payment options can also be supported.
Shopify You have the option to make your store public or restrict purchases to only those with accounts. Customers can write comments and specify options.
Magento Sales to corporate accounts with multiple levels of buyers and varying roles and permissions can be supported. Flexible payment options, including payment on credit, can be offered along with quote requests and quick ordering.
IBM WebSphere The WebSphere Commerce Aurora storefront includes a Customer Service option to support registered customers and enable customer service representatives to handle common customer issues and take orders.


Integration

Integrating your ecommerce platform with your business systems will improve efficiency and customer service. You can learn about your customer’s preferences and keep track of stocks and orders.

Cloudfy Cloudfy offers out-of-the-box integration with major business, finance and accounting systems. There is also a powerful application programming interface (API) if you need a customised solution.
WooCommerce The WooCommerce Extension Store offers a range of plug-ins for integration with popular accounting, customer service and shipping systems.
Shopify Shopify’s RESTful API supports integration with major business systems.
Magento Magento offers a wide range of APIs and off-the-shelf extensions for easy integration and real-time communication with enterprise systems.
IBM WebSphere Integration is supported for enterprise systems such as Oracle or IBM DB2 databases. Java application ‘servlets’ are used to extend applications hosted on the server.


Operations

Data protection has never been more important and you will want to be confident that you are meeting the necessary standards. The Payment Card Industry (PCI) has compliance standards for an organisation’s information security. It makes sure businesses securely handle information about customers and their payments.

Cloudfy Because Cloudfy has been specifically designed for B2B ecommerce, features like PCI compliance, security and fraud screening come as standard.
WooCommerce WooCommerce comes with PayPal for credit card and PayPal account payments, BACS, and cash on delivery payment options. Extensions are available for other payment gateways.
Shopify Shopify’s shopping cart solution supports credit card and PayPal payments and integrates with other payment gateways.
Magento Magento’s checkout process is designed to optimise payments and reduce risk, allowing integration with payment gateways.
IBM WebSphere WebSphere Commerce Payments supports multiple online payment options for B2B ecommerce and behaves like a cash register for your site.


In summary

Cloudfy offers an out-of-the-box, cloud-based B2B ecommerce solution that is specifically designed for the needs of manufacturers, distributors and wholesalers. It’s easy to implement and cost-effective to run for almost any type of business.

WooCommerce can be a good B2B commerce solution for businesses that already have a WordPress site and some expertise. You will need to be happy with some ‘hands-on’ involvement or work with someone who has WordPress know-how.

Shopify is a good basic solution for B2B businesses that are expecting to handle high volumes of traffic. There are some trade-offs with flexibility and customisation that you will want to check out before making a final choice.

Businesses that have well-established enterprise, accounting and finance systems and who have big plans for the future can benefit from the deep functionality of Magento.

WebSphere’s services are comprehensive and will suit larger businesses with high transaction volumes and a long-standing commitment to enterprise databases and operating systems. For smaller businesses, the migration timescales, costs and complexity might not be suitable.

Book a free demonstration to see how Cloudfy can meet your business needs. Get in touch today.

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