Everything you need to know about B2B e-commerce

82% of professional buyers¹ want their business purchasing experience to be the same as when they’re buying for themselves. The fact is, B2B buyers are just as human as you and me. As such, they are looking for the most convenient shopping experience: B2C standards impact B2B expectations.

Read more: Ecommerce – What You Need To Know?

1. What is B2B ecommerce?

Let take the automotive industry as an example of complex B2B relationships. To make a car, automotive manufacturers purchase components from several companies over the world. This business-to-business transaction is commonly referred to as the “B2B business model”. For instance, in the B2B model, prices vary depending on the customer and the quantity they order. Pricing contracts is a regular practice in the B2B space. This means that for each order, the sales rep must check the contract and adapt the quote.

Smooth communication is the key to effectively simplify this complex process between two companies. According to Sapio’s 2019 research into the B2B buying process report², 40% of B2B business respondents place an online order weekly. This is why placing orders through a digital platform can increase business efficiency and gradually drive sales growth.

How frequently do you place an order online with your top 10 supplies?

The same report also points out that 33% of B2B buyers would be persuaded to choose a vendor that offers online sales functionalities. They want to access an online portal where they can place and track orders, pay online, and manage returns on their own. Fully personalized shopping experiences is definitely a trend as well and is becoming a top priority in the buying decision.

Why is B2B e-commerce growing so rapidly? Let’s look at the top 5 advantages of an e-commerce site for B2B business.

2. How does B2B E-commerce benefit your business?

E-commerce can be harnessed to generate more leads and sales for brands that provide products and services. It will enable the brand to reach new target markets due to the digital medium. These unexplored markets can be captured via E-commerce in order to create new customer groups.

When E-commerce is applied in B2B activities it helps to tap into more business activities. As the geographical barrier does not remain a challenge, sales can be made globally. Implementing E-commerce in B2B sales will help increase the scalability, sales engagement, brand awareness, and target the precise customer base of the product or service.

First advantage of B2B e-commerce: Expand Business Online Presence

According to Google report 2019³, 67% of purchases for multiple industrial manufacturing and pack-and-ship industries are influenced by digital. With a B2B e-commerce site, your business will gain visibility present during the buyer’s research process, therefore driving more sales.

Second advantage of B2B e-commerce: Empower your customers with self service

While business owners start looking for more and more personalized orders and simplified reordering processes, leveraging e-commerce platform is the most effective way to encourage them to interact with your brand. In Sapio Research, more than 50% of respondents said they prefer accessing a wide range of information (products and parts, inventory, delivery, etc) online.

B2B Online Buy Behaviour

Third advantage of B2B e-commerce: Streamline Order Process

Simplify your order process with a cloud-based system and advanced commerce functionality such as repeat order, multiple payment and shipping options, etc. This will not only eliminate repetitive tasks for your sales team but also improve the B2B buying experience.

Fourth advantage of B2B e-commerce: Exceed customer expectation and easily manage each of your accounts

B2B executive buyers are expecting more than they were before according to Accenture Strategy, B2B Customer Experience Research, 2017⁴. Exceed your customer expectations for personalized experiences and end-to-end solutions to ensure a coherent experience during their buying journey. Manage your accounts effortlessly with order review and approval workflows to boost productivity

Fifth advantage of B2B e-commerce : Benefit of Data Driven-Report

Empower your marketing and sales with accurate data insight on order totals, revenue, profit percentages, or even discounts within a specific time period. You will thus be able to easily measure your marketing and sales performance to develop your business strategy.

3. B2B E-commerce key features

Did these benefits of B2B e-commerce get you thinking about your business’ online opportunities? If so, keep on reading to find out the most important features and make sure you are getting the right platform:

Personalized customer experience to increase interaction with your customers

  • Customer-specific Pricing

Depending on massive orders and contracts between different businesses, your website should display specific pricing for certain products or product bundles. This will make your customers’ buying experience personalized and relevant to their business context.

  • Customer-specific catalog

Customized specific catalog for unique business buyers, this will certainly help to improve customers buying experience.

  • Enhanced faceted search

Increase the possibility for customers to easily find products which they are looking for on your platform.

Speed up your order process to boost up productivity

  • Product Information Visibility

As buyers acquire more and more accurate product information, providing product visibility on your site seems to be the key to increase sale opportunity.

  • Request a quote

It’s never easy to deal with a quote for complex products via email. By leveraging the “Request a quote” feature, you will be able to easily manage product quotation and efficiently respond to your customer

  • Minimum Order Quantity

In order to maximize your business profit, minimum order quantity is required for each buyer to successfully complete the order.

  • Multiple shipping options

B2B buyers always have a variety of delivery needs such as speed, location, or cost. The best way to increase the conversion rate is to provide them preferable shipping methods. In this way, customers will be able to choose the option based on their priorities.

  • Flexible payment options

Providing multiple payment methods ensure customers can complete their orders conveniently. This also helps to reduce abandoned cart rate at the end of the buying journey.

  • Multiple invoices options

Managing your invoices allows you to track where your cash is flowing and reporting purposes.

  • Easily repeat a previously placed order

B2B buyers are likely to repeat their purchase every month. In this case, repeated order option is a crucial feature to have to enhance customer experiences.

  • Real-Time Inventory Updates

Only with real-time inventory updates are you able to provide customers with accurate stock information. It helps to gain your customers’ trust and opportunity to build long-term relationships.

View Data Analytics with advanced features for B2B Buyers

  • View consignments with tracking

Easily track your consignments with real-time location update.

  • Seller reports in the back-office

Easily identify potential customers as well as deliver the appropriate sale approach to each buyer based on reports

  • Buyer reports in the storefront

Buyers can always view their order history in their account setting that helps to keep track order status, invoices as well as enable them easily to repeat the order at the same time.

  • Integration with Google Analytics

Generate powerful customer data to create strategic campaigns that meets customer needs to drive sales and business growth.

If you are ready to kick-off your B2B E-commerce project, let get ready to prepare for 5 Most Common Challenges for B2B Business to start ecommerce site

4. B2B E-commerce Trends in 2020

Keep up with B2B E-commerce trends in 2020 to quickly adapt and stay ahead of your competition.

1. Fully personalized online shopping experiences arrive

According to Sapio’s 2019 research into the B2B buying process, personalization is already top-of-mind for many B2B customers. Users will be served customized product catalogs and even entirely personalized websites, navigation experiences, and checkout processes.

2. B2B voice commerce on the rise

In 2019, 14% of B2B customers already wanted to see voice ordering in their online B2B buying experience. Therefore, the demand for voice commerce in B2B e-commerce in 2020 and beyond will not be far behind.

3. AR and VR comes into play in B2B business

When B2B customers shop online, they look for straightforward, quick and accurate experiences. Therefore, in B2B, a big opportunity for AR and VR technology is to serve a functional role: to help customers virtually try out and identify the correct products quickly and easily.

4. B2B e-commerce becomes eco-conscious

People across the world and across demographics becoming more conscious of environmental issues. Optimizing delivery chain and other e-commerce processes can reduce environmental impact, but also increase the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of ordering and fulfillment processes.

Powered by SAP Commerce Cloud, Quick Starter Package delivers all the B2B e-commerce specific features you need to offer your customers a top-notch online experience.

Start servicing online with SAI Digital’s Quick Starter Package (QSP) for B2B E-Commerce and get a fully operational e-commerce platform within 100 days. Learn more about this package here!


1. https://bit.ly/39G2JZ4

2. https://www.sana-commerce.com/b2b-buying-process-2019-report-how-to-meet-b2b-buyers-demand/

3. https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/advertising-channels/b2b-buyers-online-and-offline/

4. https://www.accenture.com/_acnmedia/PDF-60/Accenture-Strategy-B2B-Customer-Experience-PoV.pdf