At the most general level, B2B eCommerce refers to any online transaction between businesses. For some companies, B2B eCommerce is just one of multiple sales channels. For others, it accounts for all sales. Regardless, the platforms making B2B eCommerce possible are powerful online marketplaces that help companies get more visibility on their products, close more deals, and scale faster.

The nature of B2B transactions means that eCommerce platforms must have robust functionality to provide services such as bulk purchases, tiered pricing, personalized shopping experiences, streamlined payment workflows, and much more. Some eCommerce platforms even require highly complex rules and custom features that have to be built from the ground up.

This means the cost of B2B eCommerce platforms can vary quite a bit, but with a system that’s tailored to a business’ exact needs, the investment can pay back in spades.

What Does B2B eCommerce Cost?

When it comes to developing B2B eCommerce platforms, Magento 2 has become the industry standard. Magento is an open source eCommerce platform that programmers use to tailor online stores to advanced business needs. It was acquired by Adobe in 2018 and became part of the Adobe Experience Cloud. A recent Forrester report on B2B and B2C commerce suites named the platform as a leader in the market. Other eCommerce platforms include Shopify, another well-known option that skews towards the needs of micro or small eCommerce businesses.

There’s also the option of using eCommerce systems that come from existing enterprise resource planning (ERP) providers, but this is rarely a sound investment. While some legacy ERP platforms can achieve limited eCommerce functionality, many simply weren’t built to support modern shopping experiences. They lack the flexibility to meet nuanced business needs such as real-time chat support, on-the-fly product customization, complicated buying rules, and robust self-service options.

Of course, the cost of a B2B eCommerce platform varies based on project scope and required features. We’ll focus on pricing for a Magento site, as it’s the most comprehensive and robust platform available. Here’s a general breakdown of what a Magento B2B eCommerce platform can cost:

There are many factors that determine which of these tiers is right for a particular project. We’ll explore three of the most influential factors next, focusing on Magento sites. (Related post: How Much Does a Magento 2 Site Cost?)

Factor 1: Building or Re-Platforming

The first pricing distinction is based on whether an eCommerce site gets built from scratch or updated from an existing site. A Magento 2 site built from scratch will likely cost more than other options, however it’ll be built on the most technologically advanced foundation available, able to meet and surpass all business needs now and well into the future. Early on, the decision to use Magento 2 Commerce (enterprise edition) or Magento 2 Open Source will factor into cost. The business’s website development team can help identify key differences to determine which version of the software best suits the business.

On the other hand, if the eCommerce platform is being updated from an existing site, pricing will largely depend on the platform from which it’s being transferred. As Magento gets closer to discontinuing support for Magento 1 sites, many businesses are migrating to Magento 2. In addition, many smaller businesses built on other platforms are migrating to Magento 2 as they grow. Overall, these updates must be viewed as a valuable investment in a top-of-the-line platform that can improve efficiency and provide customers with a premier shopping experience. Development costs will be determined by the amount of work necessary to transfer, update, and configure the site for optimal use.

Factor 2: Number of Features and Integrations

The number and complexity of features is another factor in the cost of a B2B eCommerce platform. Smaller B2B eCommerce companies can be quite please with basic (native) yet robust features that provide:

The Polylok site was recently migrated from Drupal to Magento 2, due in part to the business owners changing how they want to sell.

If the business is larger and has more complicated needs, custom features can be developed, such as:

The Solar Biz uses many native Magento 2 features and includes an integration with their NetSuite ERP system, for a complete and seamless business system.

Factor 3: Complex Rules and Custom Features

If a B2B eCommerce platform has to manage a very large and diverse inventory, international transactions, and additional complex buying rules, then more custom solutions can be built. These additional complexities may include:

AccuStandard and Contractor Nation sites each have their own unique set of advanced customizations that suit current business requirements and the need to continually evolve. See AccuStandard Case Study and Contractor Nation Case Study.

Is B2B eCommerce Worth the Cost?

As you can see, the price of a B2B eCommerce platform can vary greatly depending on the types of features, integrations, and rules that must be implemented. Because of this, the price of the perfect site can be a bit intimidating. So, is it the cost justified?

Yes. Setting up a B2B eCommerce system that’s tailored for your business is a game-changing experience, especially if it leverages the latest technology (such as the Magento 2 toolkit). Building an eCommerce platform is an investment that can yield a very high return. Anecdotally, we know that shopping online has become the preferred method of buying for huge portion of the population. A Forrester report even found that B2B buyers prefer self-service elements on eCommerce platforms to traditional sales methods. The same report predicted that B2B eCommerce would account for 17% of all B2B sales in the U.S by 2023, accounting for over $18 trillion. See US B2B eCommerce Will Hit $1.8 Trillion By 2023.

Here are a few reasons why:

The cost of a B2B eCommerce platform pales in comparison to the benefits it can bring to a company. From finding more customers and closing more deals to improving buyer loyalty and beyond, having a platform that’s tailored to the exact needs of a business can be incredibly powerful. The right B2B eCommerce platform can bring out the best in any business and greatly simplify the shopping experience of its customers.

Additional Resources

Magento 2 Commerce or Open Source: Features & Differences
What is B2B eCommerce?
Understanding B2B Commerce Market Forces and Opportunities
How Much Does a Magento 2 Site Cost?
Magento and System Integrations
Magento eCommerce Website Development