Seeking to expand its ecommerce technology to more wholesalers, manufacturers and distributors, ecommerce platform provider BigCommerce has rolled out a B2B ecommerce platform that combines non-traditional ecommerce features, such as credit lines for B2B buyers, along with mainstream e-commerce features including personalized product recommendations and guided navigation.
The new platform, BigCommerce for B2B, is a software-as-service-based platform and developed in conjunction with six e-commerce technology providers: Apruve, Brightpearl, Bundle B2B, Nextopia, PunchOut2Go, and ShipperHQ. Each partner, with which BigCommerce had a pre-existing relationship, provides B2B sellers with an application that delivers an “exceptional” user experience, BigCommerce says.
“Our approach to e-commerce is to focus on our core strength, which is our e-commerce platform, and that’s why we look for partners committed to provide the best solution in their respective fields,” says MaryAnn Bekkedahl, senior vice president of business development for BigCommerce. “This initiative demonstrates BigCommerce’s commitment to provide B2B merchants with the flexibility to provide e-commerce capabilities that accelerate operations and growth.”
Doug Root, CEO of family-owned distributor Atlanta Light Bulbs, which since 2015 has run its ecommerce site AtlantaLightBulbs.com on the BigCommerce platform, the expanded features of the new software suite will help wholesalers and distributors better meet the demands of today’s buyers. “The ability to offer net terms, automated invoicing, quick-order forms, live online quotes, and integration with procurement and ERP systems are the necessary building blocks to entice the B2B buyer to buy from your company,” he says. “Those who do not cater to the millennial B2B buyer will be left in the dust by those who do. And the ecommerce platforms that recognize this and adapt to it like BigCommerce are going to win.”
That an ecommerce platform provider is attempting to expand in the B2B world is not surprising, given that many B2B sellers are looking to add e-commerce portals or websites to complement their traditional ways of selling through sales reps, call centers and electronic data interchange systems. BigCommerce’s new B2B offering expands on its legacy B2B ecommerce software, whose clients also include Berlin Packaging and Avery Dennison.
“There’s a burgeoning opportunity in the B2B midmarket that has attracted both B2B enterprise vendors down market and B2C players across market,” says Andy Hoar, CEO of Paradigm B2B, a B2B consultancy. “It’s a real boon for buyers who now have a multitude of options to fit their specific budgets, feature needs, and partner capabilities.”
The vendors BigCommerce has partnered with provide myriad features to help B2B sellers grow their business, streamline operations and enhance the online buying experience.
The Inclusion of Apruve, for instance, enables B2B sellers to receive payment within 24 hours and extend credit lines more than $1 million to their customers, automate invoices and collections, and create user-friendly credit approval and checkout processes for buyers.
Brightpearl allows omnichannel B2B sellers to manage multiple facets of their business using a single system, including financials, inventory, purchasing and fulfillment, warehouse, returns and logistics.
B2B sellers can use Bundle B2B, which is built on BigCommerce’s application programming interface, to streamline operations around corporate account management and quick order forms for customers, create custom catalogs and pricing schedules for clients.
Sellers utilizing Nextopia can create personalized product recommendations, guided navigation and analyze individual customer behavior.
A managed service for B2B sellers, PunchOut2Go enables sellers to reduce the cost and complexity of B2B e-procurement data translation by integrating their e-commerce operations with their customers on any spend management and e-procurement applications, such as SAP Ariba, Coupa, Jaggaer and Oracle.
The inclusion of ShipperHQ, helps sellers improve shipping by tailoring orders to buyer’s specific needs, including freight shipments and multi-origin support.
“By partnering with best of breed solution providers, we can offer a B2B platform that captures the attention of sellers and buyers,” Bekkedahl says.
BigCommerce will charge sellers a monthly enterprise fee for the service. While BigCommerce declines to provide a range for the fee, including an entry-level price point, Bekkedahl says the fee is based on a number of variables including monthly order volume, value and level of tech support.
In addition to the rollout of BigCommerce for B2B, BigCommerce has released an ebook titled “Exceeding Your B2B Customers’ Needs In 2019” to provide B2B sellers with strategies and insights to simplifying buyers’ shopping experiences.
Peter Lucas is a Highland Park, Illinois-based freelance writer cover business and technology.
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