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Why B2B companies shouldn’t be using a B2C ecommerce platform

No matter what industry you’re in, you need the right tools for the job. And when it comes to ecommerce platforms, things are no different.

We’ve worked with countless B2B sellers who have been struggling with B2C platforms for years — getting by with lacklustre tools and features that simply weren’t designed for businesses like theirs.

So if you’re a B2B company in the manufacturing, distribution, or wholesale space — and you’re still using a B2C ecommerce platform — we’re here to help.

Here’s what you need to know about B2B businesses using B2C ecommerce platforms:


Why do B2B companies use B2C ecommerce platforms?

In the early days of ecommerce platforms, B2C was the only real option. It was where it all started — where the concept of ecommerce was pioneered, and where some of the biggest names in ecommerce platforms made their mark.

Even today, B2C platforms are seen as more accessible than their B2B counterparts. They’re often more affordable and easier to set up — and they’re the first names that jump to mind when you think about ecommerce.

(Think Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce, or Square. They’re all primarily designed and built for B2C — even if they’ve later branched out into B2B.)

It’s only recently that the dedicated B2B ecommerce platforms have managed to catch up (and overtake) their B2C counterparts — after years of development and evolution to reach a mature and refined state.

So for many B2B businesses, a true B2B platform simply isn’t on their radar. They’re not up to date with how far these platforms have come. And they’re not always aware of just how much more a B2B ecommerce platform can offer.

But for businesses in the know, there’s simply no comparison when it comes to B2B:


Can a B2C platform give you B2B features?

At the most basic level, both B2C and B2B ecommerce platforms do the same job: giving you a streamlined way to sell online.

But when it comes to the specific needs of a B2B business, a platform that’s built for B2C is usually sorely lacking.

A standard B2C ecommerce platform won’t be able to give you the advanced features your B2B customers need, such as:

  • Budget management tools
  • Approval workflows
  • Reordering
  • And the ability to handle multiple sites, and multiple users.

So how did B2B businesses get access to these features?

Before the emergence of dedicated B2B ecommerce platforms, companies using B2C platforms had two options:

  1. Hiring third-party services to customise their platform.
  2. Buying pre-made add-ons and plugins to add functionality.

And the result? Neither of these options was an optimal choice.

Hiring third-party services came with huge costs, involving developers and coders who could create custom modifications to match your specific needs.

And while pre-made plugins were a more affordable option, it was almost impossible to integrate those plugins with your ERP — which meant that B2B companies had to continually duplicate their data to keep their systems up to date.

(And let’s not get started on how the different plugins interacted with each other — many of which were incompatible when they were used at the same time.)


Does a B2C platform give you proper support?

In most cases, B2C ecommerce platforms don’t give you the level of customer support your B2B business needs. You’re either left on your own to solve your own problems — or you’re referred to a network of third-party services.

These third-party services come with their own hefty costs. And for a B2B business that’s new to ecommerce platforms, that’s an extra expense that’s easy to miss.

On top of that, there’s an operational issue when you bring in a third party — it’s easy for miscommunication to happen, and it’s harder to assign responsibility when things go wrong.


Can a B2C ecommerce platform handle integrations?

Most B2C platforms are built around a self-contained system — where all the information is managed inside the platform.

That’s great for most B2C companies with simple data. But it means that those B2C platforms aren’t built for integrations with other systems. And for a B2B business, that’s a real problem.

Without the ability to share data with your other systems (such as your ERP, CRM, accounting, and inventory software), you’ll be stuck with the task of manually duplicating that data across to the systems that need it.

It’s not efficient, and it’s not fun. And as your business continues to scale and grow, that laborious manual data management grows with it — racking up countless hours of unnecessary time and attention.

(And that’s before you start to think about how manual data entry comes with a high risk of human error — a problem that’s completely eliminated by automated integration.)


So how does a B2B ecommerce platform compare to B2C?

There’s a reason why dedicated B2B platforms have continued to grow and develop, despite so many B2C offerings on the market.

They grew from the frustrations of B2B companies as they struggled to make B2C platforms work — and the lack of advanced features that were continually holding them back.

Today’s B2B ecommerce platforms give you B2B features straight out of the box, with no need for tricky plugins or costly third-party services.

They come fully equipped with the integrations you need, with ready-made connections for the most popular ERP, CRM, accounting, and inventory software.

And the best B2B ecommerce providers give you the guidance and support you need to get up and running — from project management and staff training, to marketing strategies and technical advice.


Ready to use the right tools for the job?

Whether you’re new to ecommerce platforms, or you’re making the move from a B2C solution, we’ve got the tools and the knowledge to help.

Apparatus is a dedicated B2B ecommerce platform that was designed for businesses just like yours, with B2B features straight out of the box, and integrations ready to go.

We’ve given countless B2B companies the features and tools their teams and customers love to see — with the deep industry experience that helps B2B distributors, wholesalers, and manufacturers to hit their targets and see real ecommerce success.

So if you’re looking to streamline your online sales, we’re ready to help — take a look at what Apparatus can do, or get in touch to book a live personalised demo and see the platform in action.


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