TL; DR: Oro, Inc.’s suite of open-source B2B ecommerce solutions, created by the founders of Magento, reflect years of industry experience. Between OroCommerce, OroCRM, and OroPlatform, the company offers customers everything they need to create personalized business experiences, get a 360-degree view of the customer, and facilitate rapid application development. With plans to expand both geographically and into new markets, Oro is furthering its goal to simplify digital transformation for companies across the globe.
As consumers, we tend to think of ecommerce from the perspective of our self-interests, whether they entail shopping on Amazon, bidding on eBay auctions, or purchasing handmade goods from Etsy.
But overshadowing the business-to-consumer (B2C) ecommerce space is a massive business-to-business (B2B) sector at the level of manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, and brands.
Pandemic-related lockdowns have accelerated ecommerce adoption on both sides of the market since March 2020. But while the global B2C market is expected to reach $6.2 trillion by 2027, forecasters anticipate the B2B market will reach $20.9 trillion within the same year — more than three times the valuation of the B2C market.
The difference makes sense — after all, the B2B and B2C markets are two wildly different beasts. B2B transactions tend to be larger than their B2C counterparts and are typically the product of long-standing relationships with repeat orders.
As a result, online B2B providers need technical platforms that can keep up with their unique scale and complexity requirements. The folks at Oro, Inc. recognize this — and that’s why they built the company’s open-source B2B ecommerce solutions from the ground up.
“Our founders designed the platform keeping in mind that B2B operations are very different,” said Anna Korolekh, Marketing Director at Oro, Inc. “Vendors invest more in relationships, so much more personalization and flexibility are required. You can’t take an off-the-shelf product and just run with it.”
As opposed to other solutions, Oro’s three open-source business applications — OroCommerce, OroCRM, and OroPlatform — all provide a diverse range of features and capabilities designed explicitly for the B2B market, including localization, smart marketing tools, robust reporting, and groundbreaking segmentation.
Founded in 2012 by the Creators of Magento
Oro’s founders, Yoav Kutner, Jary Carter, and Dima Soroka, got their start working on Magento, a well-known open-source B2C ecommerce platform. “They built Magento to be a robust and hugely popular platform,” Anna said. “It currently has a share of about 20% of all ecommerce launches.”
While working at Magento, the trio started receiving unconventional requests from B2B businesses.
“Being, of course, very bold and ambitious, they said, ‘Yes, sure. You can do anything on Magento,’ but they soon discovered that B2B requires an entirely different approach in terms of architecture,” Anna told us.
After selling Magento to eBay in 2011, the proven leadership group left the company and decided to start a new one dedicated to the B2B market. Their first move was to create a customer relationship management (CRM) platform with the in-depth analytics and wide range of integrations users demanded.
“The majority of transactions in B2C are one-off events caused by emotion-driven buying,” Anna said. “And for most B2C ecommerce businesses, it’s quite alright that the majority of consumers never come back. But in B2B, it’s a different story. Every customer is a relationship.”
Once the company established itself in the CRM space with OroCRM’s 360-degree customer view, its founders moved on to tackle the ecommerce side of the equation, mindful of the particularities in the B2B space.
“Again, so much more personalization is required because B2B businesses have multiple levels of complexity,” Anna said. “Vendors, manufacturers, and distributors that use an ecommerce platform to sell to other businesses have multiple levels of seniority and a hierarchy that must be respected, and the same goes for their customers — the retailers.”
B2B businesses also tend to have multiple organizations and subsidiaries within nested structures. These groups must be able to work in sync in a highly efficient and performant manner. Because OroCommerce was built with B2B businesses in mind, the founders were able to bake the features needed to enable such functionality into the platform.
Open-Source Ecommerce, CRM, and App Development
Today, Oro’s three main products all work in tandem. OroPlatform, a robust rapid application development (RAD) solution, powers both OroCommerce and OroCRM. Anna said that while some of the other ecommerce platforms on the market are outdated and unable to keep up with modern technologies, OroCommerce is purpose-built for today’s development landscape.
“Because we are open-source and because the system was built on top of modern technologies, including the Symfony framework and PHP, integration is easy,” she said.
The updated technology, which runs through both the CRM and ecommerce platforms, also makes it easier for businesses to find internal developers who are comfortable working with it.
“OroCommerce and OroCRM are both open-source and built the same technological layer, which we call OroPlatform,” Anna said. “This brings together the CRM and ecommerce sides of the business, as the two services are seamlessly integrated. A customer who purchases an OroCommerce enterprise license gets OroCRM for free as part of the package.”
Anna said CRMs are essential components in B2B systems, facilitating back operations and sales processes. While many CRMs on the market are pipeline management tools devoted to salespeople, OroCRM contains both marketing and sales tools that help optimize conversions and boost customer satisfaction.
Although it comes packed with perks, users shouldn’t feel obliged to use OroCMS.
“We understand that changing CRMs is a pain,” Anna said. “You can start with OroCommerce and OroCRM, or you might choose just to use OroCommerce and have the option to migrate your CRM later.”
Simplifying Digital Transformation for B2B Companies
Oro’s value proposition is multifaceted. The technology helps boost operational agility, increase conversions, and add flexibility through open-source code.
Anna said all of these benefits stem from the fact that the platform offers businesses a significant technical upgrade. “OroCRM and OroCommerce both simplify the digital transformation process for B2B ecommerce companies, and the result is an improvement in efficiency and an acceleration of sales,” she said.
Infrastructure-wise, OroCRM and OroCommerce are optimized for cloud hosting but can also reside on-premises or in hybrid environments.
“We say we have a deploy-anywhere approach,” Anna said. “Some companies want to keep everything on-premises because they are protective of what they have. But with the pandemic, more and more businesses are starting to understand that on-premises is not the most resilient choice.”
Oro’s products don’t meet the traditional definition of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) because they provide users with a single tenancy environment, rather than a multitenant one.
“We go with single tenancy because we are heavily focused on B2B, and we feel this is the best solution for them,” Anna said. “It provides them with ultimate security and flexibility in terms of what they can do with their infrastructure. They can also be sure that no other instance or implementation would influence their systems.”
Geographic Expansion and Entry Into the B2C Market
Moving forward, the Oro team hopes to expand into both new geographic regions and markets.
“North America and Australia are our key regions, but we’re doubling down on our efforts in Germany, France, and the UK this year,” Anna said.
Looking further ahead, Anna told us that the company aims to welcome the B2C market into its customer base.
“The great thing about having OroCommerce as a platform is it’s made for B2B commerce, which is basically B2C on steroids. We provide the maximum capacity, so we already have all the tools you would need for a B2C scenario.”