Construction of small business B2B commerce platform by Catalog

When you think about commerce platforms, chances are the first names that come to mind are big names like Adobe Commerce or Salesforce Commerce Cloud. That’s why a French startup called Catalog wants to build a software-as-a-service product that seamlessly manages B2B sales across several sales channels. But these tools don’t necessarily work well for B2B companies. This way, the company hopes it can handle the majority of B2B orders for companies that have decided to use Catalog. By focusing on small and medium businesses, Catalog could start offering a wide range of services that are specifically tailored for these small manufacturing and commerce companies.

When discussing commerce platforms, it’s common for people to immediately think of big names like Adobe Commerce or Salesforce Commerce Cloud. These corporate giants handle millions of orders each year, making their technological solutions essential for managing operations on such a large scale.

However, for smaller companies handling $5-20 million in sales volume per year, there isn’t a tool that efficiently meets their needs. While they may already use an ERP system, they often spend a significant amount of time processing orders and entering information.

This is where Catalog comes in. This French startup aims to provide a seamless software-as-a-service product specifically tailored for managing B2B sales across multiple channels. It is most effective for businesses with an annual revenue of $5-$100 million.

“We integrate very tightly with the existing tech stack of the companies we’re targeting, which are companies that manage a lot of their B2B activity in their ERP,” Catalog co-founder and CEO Julien Bellemare explained. “Unlike Shopify, we didn’t need to build an incredible admin system that would let you manage stock, set pricing rules, and so on. Because if we did that, we’d be duplicating what they’re already doing in their ERP.”

Catalog supports various sales channels in different ways. For clients who want to browse and order products directly, there is an online portal where they can check prices and place their orders without having to go back and forth with a sales representative. However, for some customers, they prefer to meet with a salesperson before placing an order. In this case, Catalog serves as a companion tool for the sales team, giving them access to the catalog, previous and ongoing orders, and pricing information.

One unique aspect of Catalog is its use of AI models to scan and transform inbound emails into orders on the platform. This not only helps streamline the order process but also ensures that Catalog becomes the single source of truth for all incoming orders. The original email is also displayed alongside the automatically generated order for reference.

A marketing opportunity

While Catalog’s main purpose is to manage B2B sales, it also presents a marketing opportunity for existing customers. For example, if a company is running a sales campaign, they can use Catalog to nudge customers who typically purchase a specific category of products and see if they’re interested in ordering more.

Unlike B2C companies that use Shopify, B2B companies do not have many options for mar-tech products to improve their sales processes. As Bellemare puts it, “Your salesperson will also concentrate their meetings based on the priority of your customers … Your low-priority customers – your long and medium tail – your salesperson does nothing for them.”

Catalog recently raised a €3 million funding round (equivalent to $3.3 million at today’s exchange rate), with LocalGlobe as the lead investor. The startup was initially founded at Hexa, a Paris-based startup studio that has helped launch popular B2B software-as-a-service companies like Front, Aircall, and Spendesk. Other investors in Catalog include Helloworld, Kima Ventures, Motier Ventures, and ATI.

Currently, Catalog focuses on specific verticals such as home & decoration, baby & kids, and fashion. Some of its notable customers include La Compagnie Dumas, Elitis, Babymoov, Gamin Tout Terrain, and Rivedroite Paris.

Catalog operates on a monthly subscription model, meaning customers pay a fixed fee regardless of how much they use the platform to process orders. This way, Catalog aims to handle the majority of B2B orders for companies that have incorporated it into their operations.

This startup competes with other French commerce platform startup, Djust, which primarily caters to large enterprise clients looking for a full-fledged platform. Looking forward, Catalog plans to add more features such as payment reconciliation, customer support integrations, and onboarding optimizations. By focusing on small and medium businesses, Catalog has the potential to offer a wide range of tailored services to meet the specific needs of these companies. It’s an interesting approach to identifying pain points within an industry through a vertical SaaS like Catalog.

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Dylan Williams

Dylan Williams is a multimedia storyteller with a background in video production and graphic design. He has a knack for finding and sharing unique and visually striking stories from around the world.

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