This article provides considerations for your business-to-business (B2B) ecommerce platform.
Last Published: 10/20/2016


Desired Features of a B2B eCommerce Platform


With the seemingly endless options for your business to choose from, it becomes difficult to discern what you actually need from what is being sold to you as a platform feature. Next are some general areas that your business and your tech team should consider when selecting platforms. The overarching question is this: does the prospective platform meet your business needs and that of a growing ecommerce channel?

  • Technological integration and adaptability. B2B ecommerce platforms typically require complex integrations with other electronic data management systems that are already in use within your business, such as existing enterprise resource planning (ERP), CRM, and inventory and manufacturing systems, as well as customer data and contract terms. The integration of a company’s ERP into an ecommerce platform often takes up to 50 percent of the total time, effort, and money allocated for the project.

  • Support for different business models in the demand chain. B2B organizations often require a single ecommerce platform to support distributors, resellers, retailers, and direct B2C channels. In this way, a B2B solution becomes a B2B2B or a B2B2C. To support such channels, the B2B ecommerce platform should offer strong catalog management, promotions management, content management, and order management.

  • Cross-channel content management. B2B companies require a great deal of content to support the sales process, as well as online catalogs. The B2B ecommerce platform should manage this content across all channels.

  • Support for complex workflows and client self-management. B2B customers require self- service access to a much more complex range of information than is typically required from retail-focused solutions. Examples include access to order approvals, order history, order sheets, replenishment cycles, contract terms, multiple forms of shipment to be  approved by management, customer establishment, and purchase authorizations. 

Prepared by the International Trade Administration. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the International Trade Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting http://export.gov/usoffices.



eCommerce Industry Business to Business eCommerce Knowledge Management Information Systems Planning