It is not uncommon for new B2B e-commerce startups to opt for one of the user-friendly, do-it-yourself e-commerce platforms like WooCommerce or Shopify over the more advanced e-commerce platforms like Magento and SalesForce. The most popular all-in-one platform, Shopify, offers a simple drag-and-drop solution that can have anyone, regardless of tech-savvy, operating a fully functional B2B e-commerce storefront in a matter of hours.
The recent shift to e-commerce in response to the pandemic has created an unexpected surge in the B2B e-commerce marketplace which is likely to cause some growing pains as small e-commerce sites try to scale up to handle the increased traffic. Small volume sellers using the basic Shopify B2B platform may find that the basic tier now feels too restrictive in light of the expanded opportunities opening up in the market. Shopify does offer an upgraded enterprise platform that is geared toward their larger commercial clients. With a base licensing cost of $2,000 monthly, or $24,000 annually, the cost of Shopify’s Enterprise platform often comes with a heavy dose of sticker shock for basic tier users.
Enterprise Level Website, Entry Level Price
Fortunately, Magento offers a solid alternative to an expensive Shopify Enterprise upgrade. The open-source core of the Magento platform is $0. It will not cost you a dime to download, install or start configuring your site. You will need to subscribe to a hosting service to host your site. Expect to pay $5 – $50 a month to host your site. Most hosting service providers include domain name registration in the bundle of hosting services, though you will still likely need to pay the annual subscription fee. Annual Domain name registration will cost $10 – $15 each year.
These expenses represent the bare minimum financial outlay required to launch a basic Magento site. Turning your newly created site into a fully functional B2B e-commerce storefront will require an additional outlay of cash to purchase or subscribe to the third-party plug-ins and services that will provide the functionality needed to sell products online. The ala carte structure of the Magento platform allows for more control over the total cost. With over 6,000 plug-ins to choose from in the Magento app store, you can find any utility you need at price points that range from $0 – $500+.
All things considered, with as little as $80 worth of plug-ins from the Magento marketplace, you could easily create a fully functional Magento B2B e-commerce site with all of the same bells and whistles offered in the much pricier Shopify Enterprise edition.
Endlessly Customizable B2B Tools
Magento is built with open source coding which can be modified as needed to work with all third-party service providers. This opens up endless possibilities for B2B tool integration to help you easily expand your e-commerce business to meet the new demand without driving up the cost of business. Shopify is built using proprietary software that has limited compatibility with the third-party tools that will be needed to expand the customer service and order processing capacity. We have highlighted several of the most compelling reasons to make the switch below.
Magento’s strength is its infinitely customizable structure which provides the flexibility to expand and contract your B2B operations to match the ebb and flow of the market. Shopify is constructed around a proprietary core that is inaccessible and altering the platform’s source code is prohibited. These restrictions make it impossible to customize Shopify features to fit the rapidly changing marketplace and force the user to purchase costly third-party plug-ins to provide the missing functionality. The high cost of each plug-in can add up to an exorbitantly high price tag very quickly.
Customer Coupon, Discount, And Reward Campaigns
Magento has built-in support for coupon campaigns and discounts which you can customize as much as you like. Magento offers specialized discount code creation that allows shop owners to specify different discount amounts for different customer sets. Use the robust reporting tools to track individual customer purchasing volumes and set up specific spending thresholds that will trigger the application of deeper discounts or rewards for your most valuable customers once they have spent a designated amount of money in your store.
Payment processing has come a long way in the decade since PayPal arrived on the scene, disrupting the traditional banking industry. While consumers were initially skeptical about the idea of entrusting money to an online bank with no physical location, today there are hundreds of digital payment handlers, online banks, and alternative payment methods. Shopify supports more than 100 different payment processing portals, however, the only free payment processing option provided is the Shopify official payment gateway. Costly third-party transaction fees are charged from payments that are processed through the other payment portals. Magento supports more than 150 payment processing portals with no additional transaction fees and offers several international payment processing portals for global suppliers.
Optimized For The D2C Marketplace
Magento is always looking forward to and anticipating the next trend in B2B e-commerce. The latest research predicts that 80 percent of buyers will likely be shopping through direct-to-customer (D2C) businesses within the next 5 years. The platform is already preparing for the coming D2Crevolution that has already begun. As commerce has moved online, customers have indicated their clear preference for eliminating the middle man to dealing directly with the original producer or manufacturer. The Magento platform provides full support for the deployment of multiple multi-lingual storefronts offering both local and international payment processing, and providing global shipping options by interfacing directly with shipping providers from around the globe.
Shopify has expanded to provide support for multiple languages and currencies as well. However, each Shopify platform is only able to support one location, language, and currency. Users who want to expand their B2B e-commerce into foreign markets or accept orders from international buyers must purchase a separate Shopify platform license and maintain a separate e-commerce storefront for each unique location.
Offer Custom Details And Configurable Products
Magento supports B2B e-commerce merchants and the diverse range of complex, and custom products, and services that they sell. The check-out experience can be configured to offer a range of options for customers to complete their purchase by selecting “Pre-Order”, “Ship To Store”, “Buy Online”, or “Pick-Up In-Store”.
The Shopify checkout process is fixed and cannot be customized. Merchants are limited to a finite number of product variations such as different sizes, colors, and feature packages which greatly restricts the usefulness of the platform for B2B e-commerce sellers with complex product sets, or highly customizable products.
Gain Insight From Detailed Reports
Magento provides a comprehensive suite of data collection and site monitoring tools that compile information about client purchasing and browsing trends, average sales volumes, peak visit hours, visitor counts, conversion rates, employee productivity, inventory management, and content engagement, and much more. The insights provided can be used to help merchants fine-tune their e-commerce storefront to improve the customer experience or better allocate employee workloads
Shopify’s core processes are not accessible or visible to merchants on the platform so there is no opportunity for merchants to observe or analyze customer or employee behavior or monitor site performance.
Magento’s robust B2B e-commerce features are unmatched by competitors. When you are ready to expand your B2B e-commerce presence, Magento will be ready to help you migrate your store with little to no data loss and minimal downtime.
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