A new report from Forrester Research analyzes the technology offerings of 18 vendors of B2B e-commerce platforms. “Prioritize vendors that align to your commercial model,” it says.

There are many flavors of e-commerce technology platforms, but finding the one that best suits a company’s tastes takes legwork.

In a new study from Forrester Research Inc.—“Now Tech: B2B Commerce Suites, Q2 2018”—digital technology analysts John Bruno and Bruce Eppinger lay the groundwork for exploring 18 vendors of e-commerce software.

They divide the vendors into groups by the volume of their annual revenue, and further show how they differentiate from one another by the primary functionality of their software platforms and the types of companies they sell to.

The report comments on the capabilities of several types of platforms, including:

  • Hybrids that offer both B2B and B2C functionality. “These solutions feature modern architecture and flexibility to deliver discrete experiences for B2B and B2C audiences on a single software instance,” Forrester says. “Businesses can reuse assets and information so that the B2C experience emphasizes personalization, while the B2B experience can leverage more advanced rules, permissions and workflows to tailor buying” as done by an customer account or team of buyers.
  • Omnichannel versions designed for sales reps and self-service e-commerce. “These solutions offer deep persona-based experiences for buyers, sellers and customer service,” the report says. “They often feature tight integrations with customer relationship management systems and seller-focused applications—or even deliver enhanced mobile order entry applications for sellers in the field.”
  • “Digital-experience-led” commerce software suites that emphasize web content management integrated with personalized e-commerce. “B2B firms often lag their B2C counterparts on experience, because they have focused on managing overwhelming product catalogs and complex relationships between products, pricing and customers,” the report says. “Digital-experience-led solutions help mature B2B businesses close this gap, largely by focusing on web content management, digital asset management, and personalization capabilities.”

“Prioritize vendors that align to your commercial model,” Forrester advises.

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Bruno and Eppinger will each speak at the B2B Next conference in Chicago in September.

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