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Best Multichannel eCommerce Solutions and Free B2C Demo Testing

November 22, 2022 | Oro Team

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In a store. On a branded website. Through an online marketplace.

Customers have plenty of options to purchase from brands today.

If you want to meet potential customers where they buy, it’s no longer enough to operate a single eCommerce channel. Diversifying eCommerce sales via multichannel selling is a solution for brands with big growth ambitions, like yours.

In this article, we take a closer look at multichannel eCommerce – explain what it is and reasons to adopt it, list the best multichannel eCommerce software, and let you test a multichannel eCommerce system yourself with a free trial.

What is Multichannel eCommerce?

Multichannel eCommerce means a digital commerce strategy that encompasses more than one channel at the same time. It may include selling through online sales platforms, B2B marketplaces, mobile applications, brick-and-mortar shops, traditional advertising campaigns, third-party distribution channels, and more.

Experienced B2B businesses know that selling on multiple channels is one of the best ways to get their products in front of the largest customer base possible. This approach helps them diversify risk, increase revenue potential, and stay on top of the competition. To execute a multichannel selling strategy, B2B businesses need the right infrastructure in place, including advanced inventory management, stellar customer service, and robust eCommerce multichannel software.

Why B2B Needs a Multichannel eCommerce Solution

B2C companies like Home Depot and OfficeMax operate B2B sales channels and have done so for many years. While Home Depot is best known as the big box store that sells to the consumer, they also have a contractor program that is geared towards local general contractors and tradesmen that need to buy in bulk and make frequent purchases.

Amazon changed B2C shopping experience on the internet and played a large part in shaping today’s buyer mentality. They’re doing the same in the B2B sector with Amazon Business. This Amazon channel caters to small businesses with volume pricing, employee purchase authorizations, and even offers commercial terms. It only makes sense that B2B eCommerce sellers would turn the tables and offer a B2C sales channel using a B2C commerce platform as well.

For example, B2B giant Grainger is known worldwide as an industrial supplier. But they also operate Zoro, which sells to small companies and individuals who may only need one of a few items.

A B2C sales channel may be more than just an opportunity to create a small additional revenue stream. B2C commerce could be a means of acquiring new B2B customers as well. After all, it’s not uncommon for a B2B buyer to make a small initial purchase as a B2C buyer. The buyer may want to obtain a sample before engaging with a sales rep, may be in a hurry, or might just be looking to avoid the hassles of establishing a B2B account.

Whatever their reason, these B2B buyers are looking to engage with companies through B2C channels in general and through B2C eCommerce platforms in particular. Since agile companies meet buyers when and where they want, offering a multichannel eCommerce customer experience deserves careful consideration.

Adding a B2C channel can improve brand recognition and widen and deepen a seller’s reach into existing markets and even open up new markets. It also allows B2B sellers to better support their wholesalers and retailers by offering a convenient way for end users to purchase accessories and spare parts.

3 Multichannel eCommerce Strategies

There are 3 general strategies companies use to support multichannel eCommerce. The multichannel eCommerce solution you select should support the strategy you decide to employ.

B2B Only with Referral for B2C

When B2B first met the internet and embraced eCommerce, this strategy was the most common strategy deployed. General visitors to the web store could only access limited information. In order to get detailed information or pricing details, visitors had to contact the company and establish a business account.

Once the visitor had established an account, they had full access to product information and pricing. If a visitor didn’t want to establish an account, they were directed to a retailer or wholesaler to make a purchase.

In some instances, this referral was nothing more than a link to “buy on Amazon”. The seller’s website served as the primary channel and was geared towards B2B only while the B2C channel was nothing more than a link or a reference to another seller. This isn’t really multichannel eCommerce software, but single channel software commandeered to be multichannel by embedding links.

These shopping channels were completely walled off to non B2B customers. Potential B2C customers and B2B leads that had not established an account were frequently greeted with these messages.

b2b portal block

Not only does this strategy turn away B2C consumers, it creates friction for B2B buyers as an account must be created to interact using the web channel. Using this strategy, you don’t need multichannel eCommerce software. Software built for B2B eCommerce will do the job, but a platform for B2C commerce might not handle the complexities of B2B.

B2B and B2C on the Same Website

With this strategy one website and a single web store is deployed. All customers and guest visitors can view the product catalog. In addition, B2B customers that have an established account can log in to access additional information. This may include support documentation, additional product information, or marketing materials for resellers.

The prices displayed on the site are MSRP vs MAP type – the manufacturer’s suggested retail price or minimum advertised price serving as the default B2C pricing. A B2B customer that is logged into their account will see their wholesale or individually negotiated pricing. Depending on their status (B2B logged in or B2C guest), the same page may appear differently.

b2b b2c mutlichannel example

In addition, with this multichannel eCommerce approach, B2B and B2C will have different checkout and shipping options. No matter the status, all buyers generally have the default payment options of using a credit or debit card.

In addition, logged-in B2B customers may have the option to pay by ACH check. Established accounts may even be able to buy on net 30 terms (or whatever terms are established). These options aren’t available to B2C buyers. However, B2C buyers may have the option to use PayPal, ApplePay, or AmazonPay.

When it comes to shipment management, B2C customers may not be presented with options, while B2B customers may have the option of choosing their own carrier, billing freight to their own account, or adding shipping labels.

A multichannel eCommerce solution with a powerful workflow engine makes all this possible. That’s because this type of multichannel eCommerce software allows you to configure website functions differently for different user classes. For example, the registration process may be different for B2B buyers than B2C customers.

Or perhaps the Request for Quotation option is only available for B2B buyers. By distinguishing classes of users, multichannel eCommerce software can provide two different customer journeys that end up purchasing the exact same product.

Standalone B2C Website

The third strategy is to operate a standalone B2C website. Because it provides a clean separation, you can more easily customize the path to purchase. After all, B2B buyers and B2C buyers have different customer expectations and business needs and your marketing should reflect this reality.

A standalone B2C website allows you to offer multichannel eCommerce that is easy to manage and effectively market.
A multichannel eCommerce solution should allow you to operate multiple websites, such as a B2B website and a B2C commerce solution with one eCommerce platform. With the right multichannel eCommerce software, you can run a multitude of eCommerce stores and even offer the same store in different languages.

Key Multichannel eCommerce System Features for Merchants

As you look for a multichannel eCommerce management solution that meets your needs, you’ll want to keep your eye out for these key capabilities and benefits. You may focus on some specific features more than on others – make sure to create your list ahead of time so that you can properly shortlist and compare your options.

Marketplace Integration

Your multichannel eCommerce platform of choice should integrate into the marketplaces you’re active in for streamlined transfers of product and customer data. Some of the more common integrations include support for Amazon and eBay.

Listing Automation

A platform for multichannel eCommerce sales must support listing automation or easy upload of product data on different online channels and agencies.

Inventory management and synchronization

Whenever a sale is made on any channel you integrate with, this should reflect immediately on your stock. Setting sale buffers to prevent overselling and stockouts can come in handy and help avoid cancellations and negative customer reviews. Look for real-time updates and accurate inventory tracking when considering a multichannel eCommerce platform.

Workflow automation

Look for a solution that automates repetitive and time-sensitive tasks ( i.e., order processing sale promotions, and bulk editing for catalogs). This way, your sales team can free up time to focus on other important eCommerce business operations.

Warehouse management

A powerful multichannel platform will enable you to organize, pick, pack and transfer inventory between warehouses with features like barcode scanning, batch & bin picking, and automated routing for faster order fulfillment and delivery process.

Analytics & Reporting

A multichannel system for eCommerce that can’t provide insights into business data is of little use. Ideally, you’ll want a solution that offers:

  • A dashboard with Inventory & order analytics, product analytics, and accounting analytics.
  • Alerts configurations to notify you about inventory replenishment, order dispatch, returns, refunds, and more.
  • Data on total online sales, cross-channel conversions, cost of goods, profits, discounts, taxes, and business performance across sales channels.

Overview of the 6 Best Multichannel eCommerce Solutions for B2B

To help you manage your multichannel eCommerce strategy, you’ll need the system and supply chain technology optimized for multichannel selling.

From managing your product listings to making sure you have enough inventory to meet demand – getting all elements in place can be tricky when selling through more than one channel.

To help you streamline your efforts, we’ve analyzed the multichannel eCommerce platform market and shortlisted some of the best multichannel eCommerce solutions available today.

Multichannel eCommerce Solution

Description Pros

Cons

OroCommerce OroCommerce is a B2B-focused eCommerce platform with multichannel capabilities, including extensive integrations with online sales channels and marketplace, easy import/export of orders and data, multichannel inventory management, and synchronization of all channels and orders in one central hub. 
  • B2B and B2C in one platform (Multi-language, multicurrency, payments and taxes)
  • Robust APIs for easy integration with critical systems and online platforms 
  • Inventory synchronization
  • Workflow eCommerce automation
  • Offers a B2B marketplace management platform (OroMarketplace)
  • Training required to use the platform to its full potential 
  • Not an ideal solution for small retail businesses
Adobe Commerce Adobe Commerce powered by Magento is a multichannel commerce platform with a unified back end and a flexible front end.
  • Extend your product listings directly to Amazon 
  • B2B and B2C commerce all in one platform
  • Backend workflow automation
  • A large API library
  • Difficult to upgrade and maintain, especially for organizations operating globally
  • Lack of robust support for in-store/fulfillment options
BigCommerce BigCommerce is a cloud-based SaaS eCommerce platform that is meant to serve as an all-in-one solution for those looking to build an online store. With an easy-to-use interface and feature-rich but affordable pricing options, BigCommerce is ideal for small businesses and new online shop business owners. 
  • Multichannel listings
  • A large API library
  • Inventory syncs
  • An easy product, SKUs, and customer data CSV export 
  • Annual sales threshold (automatic upgrade to a higher plan if the annual sales limit is exceeded)
  • No multilingual options
  • Mostly targeted at B2C companies
SellBrite Sellbrite enables brands & retailers to list and sell products effortlessly across multiple sales channels and gain centralized control over inventory and orders. Sellbrites cloud-based, channel management platform that integrates with many popular eCommerce marketplaces and shopping carts, including Amazon, eBay, Walmart, Etsy, Shopify, and others.
  • A lot of integration options
  • Easy inventory management and inventory reporting
  • Channel flexibility
  • Catalogue control
  • Easy CSV import/export
  • No integration option for social channels.
  • Little support for customers outside the US.
  • No support for kitting & bundled products.
ChannelAdvisor ChannelAdvisor is one of the most well-known and oldest players in the space. It integrates with more than 100 domestic and international sales channels and apps.
  • Many sales channels to integrate with
  • Ability to manage your marketplace ads 
  • Partners with Amazon and eBay
  • Repricing tools
  • The users can have a hard time if they don’t have a tech background
  • Designed for companies with a large budget
  • Commission fees and fees for each marketplace you want to sell on
Brightpearl Brightpearl is an ERP-turned-eCommerce-solution, designed for sellers doing $1 million or above in sales. It combines CRM with ERP and POS tools, alongside other essential eCommerce functionalities.
  • Centralization of orders, inventory data, financials, POS, and CRM 
  • Multiple inventory management
  • Suitable for omnichannel retailers with multiple brick-and-mortar stores, online channels, and suppliers
  • Not an ideal option for B2B eCommerce brands 
  • Limited and rigid integrations and customization options
  • Limited customer support

OroCommerce for All Multichannel eCommerce Strategies

Whatever your strategy, OroCommerce is the multichannel eCommerce solution that allows you to do B2B and B2C commerce the way you want to do it. There’s no need to change your enterprise’s approach to business to conform to your technology.

OroCommerce allows you to operate a B2B-only eCommerce website that refers B2C to your distribution chain, a single website for B2B and B2C commerce, or two or more standalone websites from one platform. In every scenario, the powerful workflow engine and enterprise-grade tools adapt to your company and not the other way around.

A good case in point is the Animal Supply Company project. Animal Supply Company is one of the largest distributors of pet food and supplies in the US. Faced with the challenges of their legacy systems, they needed an eCommerce solution that could support multiple selling channels, provide the flexibility to add new digital technology, and fully support their 3PL services. And it had to work with the plethora of ERPs and other legacy systems they had acquired.

Initially, the OroCommerce platform was deployed with a headless architecture to act as middleware to bring together 21 distribution centers, legacy ERPs, and existing order channels.

orocommerce headless

Eventually, this architecture enabled Animal Supply to empower each retailer to create their own website or use a website Animal Supply created on their behalf to build their own online stores for retail customers.

ASC provided a means for their customers to offer online selling without ever handling or processing an order. OroCommerce routes the order to the appropriate warehouse for fulfillment and shares data with the appropriate ERP.

You, too, can experience true multichannel eCommerce with a test of OroCommerce’s latest multichannel eCommerce solution. It’s powerful and easy to navigate. And you don’t even need to go through a sales rep to get access!

Check out the OroCommerce B2C website demo today!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is multichannel selling?

Multichannel selling is the process of selling your products on more than one eCommerce sales channel. Multichannel strategy covers your own eCommerce website, online marketplaces, mobile marketplaces and/or bricks and mortar stores.

What is an example of multichannel retailing?

A prime example of multichannel retailing is when a brand sells through its branded eCommerce website, as well as on Amazon and eBay.

What are the top multichannel eCommerce software?

The top eCommerce multichannel software include:

  1. OroCommerce
  2. Adobe Commerce
  3. BigCommerce
  4. SellBrite
  5. ChannelAdvisor
  6. Brightpearl

Why do retailers use multiple channels to sell?

Going to multichannel selling helps retailers tap into established customer bases, reduce operational costs, and build loyalty with repeat customers. Another advantage is that multichannel selling gives consumers the choice to engage in the channel of their preference, while retailers don’t miss out on purchases happening outside of their own website.

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