Selecting an eCommerce platform is similar to investing in real estate. Choosing the right platform depends on your requirements, your industry verticals, and more.
Business owners generally have two options in the platform market: a custom eCommerce solution and a vendor-provided eCommerce platform. Which one is better than the other?
Well, in this post, we’ll be delineating the differences between the two B2B platforms to show which platform is more suited to your business.
So, let’s begin with the custom B2B eCommerce solutions.
The Pros and Cons of Custom B2B Ecommerce Solutions
There are plenty of benefits you can gain from custom B2B eCommerce platforms. If you’re familiar with B2B eCommerce, you’ll be able to relate to these terms.
You Gain Creative Freedom
When you’re in charge of developing your solution, you have complete creative freedom over it. You can add certain features that aren’t present in other platforms – tailoring the platform precisely to your requirements.
For example, you want to add a Quick Ordering feature that’s only available as an add-on in other SaaS platforms. Since you’re building a custom solution, you can develop that functionality yourself instead of purchasing that specific add-on.
Build What You Want
Closed-source, ready-made B2B eCommerce platforms bring with them tons of beneficial features. While some of them are indeed good, most of them can weigh your processes down. If you don’t need a particular feature, why keep it a part of your store?
With a customized B2B eCommerce solution, you’re not carrying the excess baggage. You build integrations, add-ons, and plugins that you can use to improve your processes. Nothing beyond that.
You Own the Product
When you build your solution, you’re the sole proprietor of the product. There is no one standing in the way of how your business operates. From inventory management to manufacturing concerns and supply-chain management, you’re in the driver’s seat every step of the way.
On top of everything, you can cater to customer requirements, adapt to all industry verticals, and create a sturdier business.
Selling on Your Terms:
B2B eCommerce platform vendors offer a ready-made solution for their B2B eCommerce needs for growing businesses. However, down the road, they also eat up a chunk of your business with transaction and listing fees.
While some generally don’t have a problem with this, some business owners aren’t too inclined to give a percentage of their income away. When you go for the custom build option, you’re eliminating these costs.
Now that we’ve discussed the advantages of having a custom solution, it’s time we look at the cons associated with it.
Resource and Infrastructure Heavy
This is a significant drawback of using a custom B2B eCommerce solution. While immensely beneficial to B2B eCommerce processes when implemented, the development process is a challenge in and of itself.
Developing a platform from its foundations takes time, patience, labor, and monetary resources. In short, it’s a long-term commitment through and through.
Speaking of long-term, when the development process is finished, you would also need labor resources to keep the platform maintained and secured at all end-points. It’s a challenge that can, for a time, deviate you from your original business and ventures you into the world of technology.
The Pros and Cons of Vendor-Based B2b Ecommerce Solutions
Now that we’ve discussed the pros and cons of using a custom B2B eCommerce platform, it’s time we discuss the pros and cons of vendor-based B2B eCommerce solutions.
Most functionalities that you wish to integrate to make your store customized come right out of the box. The platform developers offer various API’s and add-ons that help business owners integrate these functionalities in their store.
Security and stability.
This is where the custom solution falls short of prominence. Vendor solutions come pre-equipped with all the necessary security and stability certificates that follow security regulations such as PCI, DSS, GDPR, and others.
With this, you can start up your business process without having to worry about complying with laws, rules, and regulations because you’re complying with them from the get-go.
Now, let’s look at the disadvantages of using vendor solutions.
When you select a vendor B2B eCommerce platform, you’re forsaking some control over your B2B eCommerce processes. In particular, you’re losing some freedom with regards to your sales processes. If the platform provider ever decides to increase fees, you have to comply regardless.
Technology changes over time. What is considered a powerful B2B eCommerce feature today can go into obscurity very quickly. In some closed-source vendor platforms, new and innovative integrations may not be as easily implemented.
To add to their inflexibility, these platforms are not too savvy on in-depth customizations. So, if you’re looking to make your store stand out, then these platforms are not right for you.
Vendor B2B eCommerce solutions offer various plans, and you can select one which is right for you. There is no denying that. But the problem here is that these plans also include features that, nine times out of ten, you’re not going to end up using.
Using features that you pay for is an essential point in this disadvantage. Unfortunately, vendor platforms are very rigid in these matters.
Selecting a Platform That’s the Best of Both Worlds
Both the platforms we discussed in the former argument have their list of pros and cons, and you’re free to choose between them.
To drive this discussion home, we’re going to be discussing a third-platform, which is a mix of both. A famous example of this is the platform WooCommerce.
An open-source platform lets you create a B2B eCommerce store on WordPress with roughly the same features as a vendor B2B eCommerce platform. On top of that, it enables you to customize your store at the base-level. A custom platform with more features than a vendor platform. Best of both worlds, indeed!
For the sake of this post, let’s look at how this hybrid model for B2B eCommerce can prove useful.
You don’t have to conduct long development lifecycles.
Building an eCommerce platform from scratch, unless necessary, is somewhat unintuitive in such a competitive environment. It would help if you focused on a solution that gives you serious customization options while being ready-made to a healthy degree.
With this, you get a solution that helps you avoid the months-long jive into developing a platform from scratch.
Reduce time to market
To follow up on what we discussed above, after selecting the right eCommerce platform and then customizing it, you reduce your time to market by a significant margin.
The reason behind it is that they don’t require the time and resources traditionally used with a regular eCommerce platform. All you have to do is customize your store, and you can start selling.
Reduce maintenance costs
By using a hybrid platform, you can reduce your maintenance costs. While some maintenance concerns are associated with an open-source platform, you can solve them with relative ease. It is plenty of times better than hiring an entire maintenance team that, in a nutshell, adds to the maintenance costs.
Maximize integration flexibility
With a hybrid model like WooCommerce, you can improve your B2B eCommerce process with ease through integrations and add-ons. There are plenty of APIs and integrations available that you can use for your operations. The result is an optimized business performance.
B2BWoo – The Ultimate B2B Ecommerce Solution
If you’re looking to implement B2B eCommerce within the infrastructure of WooCommerce, you can use a platform like B2BWoo – the complete B2B solution on WooCommerce.
Using the ready-made infrastructure of WooCommerce, you can use the functionalities of B2BWoo to make your WooCommerce B2B eCommerce store stand out from the crowd.
Try B2BWoo today!