There are a number of elements that factor into any platform selection process – even more when considering finding the right one for a B2B company. Let us give you an introduction into the way we think about this critical decision making at Accorin…
As part of our detailed project discovery work, we dissect these considerations in close collaboration with our clients. We talk to many prospective B2B merchant clients large and small…manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers alike and there is no such thing as a one-size-fits all solution when it comes to e-commerce implementations. Each B2B merchant’s needs are as varied as for B2C merchants…as are their budgets.
Over the years, because of this complexity, we have worked with Magento more than any other platform and years ago in the era of Magento 1, the approach was to use the core of the Magento 1 community edition version and then select from a number of extensions to add a more customized B2B functionality. Today with a number of different platforms offering B2B functionality “out-of-the-box”, the process can be more business/client centric. Our process invariably flows from our discovery process and the questions about the business that we get into as a part of that. To summarize (and simplify) this process and the rationale behind it and to help you understand which approach you might take we look at these key factors:

  • If the business is simple but needs basic, core B2B functionality
  • If the catalog and pricing structure is relatively straight forward but needs customer groups and price tiers
  • If the business structure and budget for IT is a better fit for SaaS

…then BigCommerce (a great SaaS solution) might be a good fit.

  • If this business is complex
  • If there are multiple storefronts and/or global requirements
  • If your B2B buyer companies are complex and you need to provide multiple levels of controls over the organization’s purchasing
  • If you need a highly customized buying experience that may need to change over time
  • If you need customized features and a truly self-service experience tailored to your company customers

…then the chances are that Magento is going to be a better fit due to the rich foundational B2B features that come with it.
We have found in our 5+ years of mid-market and enterprise B2B e-commerce work that the B2B buying requirements can be incredibly diverse and that they can be different within the largest set of company customers that a B2B merchant has. While a SaaS platform like BigCommerce has some core B2B features, it is still a SaaS platform that has limitations on its customizability. This is fine for some B2B companies but not for others. Our Self-Service B2B e-commerce setup for Magento is flexible enough to be applied to a wide range of B2B businesses but works best with larger B2B businesses that have the infrastructure and business processes to support buyers with wide ranging needs.
For your reference, here are some summary feature lists for BigCommerce and Magento. We can help you find the best fit for your business from these platforms and we’d be happy to discuss them whether you decide to work with us or not:

“Out-of-the-Box” BigCommerce B2B Features

  • Price lists
  • Customer groups
  • Draft orders
  • Promotions
  • Restricted login
  • SSO & Login API

Functionality Supported by BigCommerce Partners:

  • Multiple price lists
  • User roles & permissions
  • ERP, OMS, CRM, & PIM integrations
  • Content management system \ Advanced search
  • Purchase orders
  • Quote management
  • Punchouts

“Out-of-the-Box” Magento 2 Commerce (not CE) B2B Features

  • Restricted Login
  • Company as Customer
  • Grouping N number of individual customers with a company
  • Roles and Permissions: controlling levels of purchasing authority
  • Purchase Order / Purchase Order Approvals (integrated with roles and permissions)
  • Price Lists
  • Price Tiers
  • Quotes and Quote Managemernt
  • Customer groups
  • Requisition Lists
  • Promotions / coupons
  • Multiple Storefront (not SSO to multiple stores but

Accorin’s Magento Self-Service B2B Extensions

The Bottom Line

BigCommerce is a viable, dependable, SaaS offering for merchants looking to extend their business into B2B. It’s also very fast to set up and get running all other factors being equal. It’s best for B2B merchants that have a relatively simple catalog and business process with their company buyers. However, Magento provides considerably more B2B functionality out of the box and the ability to customize the B2B e-commerce experience to meet all of the specific requirements of serious enterprise B2B businesses.