Everything you need to know about B2B eCommerce

Sudhakar Varatharajan
June 8, 2021

What is B2B eCommerce?

Business-to-business (B2B) eCommerce is an online transaction between businesses to place orders and request quotes to improve your buyer's experience and efficiency.

B2B transactions can be between manufacturers and wholesalers, distributors and retailers, manufacturers and dealers, or B2B sellers and buyers.

Types of B2B eCommerce

Dealer portal by manufacturers

The manufacturers appoint multiple sales channels like wholesalers, distributors, and retailers across geographies to increase their reach and sales. The produced product can reach consumers like in consumer electronics, or it can reach another factory that is also a business in industrial spares.

The manufacturers use the portal for their dealers or distributors to buy products from them and then further sell them to other businesses.

Direct to consumer marketplaces by manufacturers

Considering the digital adoption by many businesses, every manufacturer must have their own marketplace to reach their target customers directly. This approach will eliminate the number of sales channels before the product reaches its customers.  

Manufacturers should still consider keeping the distributor's network to reach its customers with distribution locations as micro delivery centers to cover the entire country.

Spare parts portal by industrial manufacturers

When you sell your products to industrial customers, manufacturers need to set up a spare parts portal. It increases their customer experience as well as their loyalty to buying their products.

Service personal visiting customers can suggest and encourage customers to buy the products online, reduce selling costs, and increase profitability.

Distributor portal by wholesalers

The wholesalers do not focus on small value transactions, and their specialty is to reach large geography through further channeling the sales.

A good example is the distribution of food and beverages or consumer electronics products. They generally appoint significantly fewer wholesale partners for a country to distribute and manage their logistics.

Distributors setting up commerce for their retailers

Large sales teams cannot cover the number of retailers, and it is vital to reach them digitally. Retailer acquisition, onboarding, and then providing them with their specific prices are critical to increasing sales.

Myths about B2B eCommerce

B2B customers won't be comfortable buying online.

Today, many of us have been buying products online as a consumer. Since the Millennials have to be part of our workforce, digital adoption increases for good—89% of the B2B buyers research products on the internet before they purchase.

Eliminate all friction for customers and ensure smooth self-service purchase possibilities. Adjust back-office wherever possible and adjust sales teams to focus on strategic selling rather than mundane order booking.

We will lose customer relationships when customers start buying online.

B2B is all about relationship selling and absolutely no denial. So let us look at this scenario more deeply to understand how it works. All of us know Pareto principle work in business, 80% of business comes from 20%of our customers.

So how do we deploy our sales teams? Our best sales teams manage our top customers to generate and maintain good repeated & new sales. So is it not wise to make the transactions only performed online and sales teams continue to focus on relationships?

Yes. You got it right. Adding an online channel will relieve your sales team and allow them to reach more customers and build strong relationships.

Advantages of B2B eCommerce

Reach more customers

Like we discussed Pareto principle, it is expensive to reach a balance of 80% customers who give you 20% business with physical sales teams. Hence, combining physical and digital channels is an excellent opportunity to reach more customers with digital campaigns and interactive B2B eCommerce landing pages to browse through the detailed product catalog online.

Upsell and cross-sell to your existing customers.

Have you heard your customers saying that they were not aware that some of the product lines even existed with you? It happens when your customers couldn't spend more time with your sales teams in understanding the complete product line.

Your B2B eCommerce portals will help customers understand the range of product lines and provide intelligent upsell options when they browse through the catalog. More interestingly, they will get to see their negotiated prices or have an opportunity to request for quote online to negotiate a new range of products.

Increase digital sales

Making the portal public and get the Google SEO done for your site allow you to acquire customers digitally and sell more. Even the B2B buyers are not looking for products in all social channels, and it opens up a new array of opportunities for B2B organizations.

Summary

B2B eCommerce is here to stay longer to help you grow your business. Every sized business must set up its online sales channel to increase sales and reduce costs.  

Increase your customers' purchasing experience memorable and use your sales team more effectively to build relationships and strategically support your customers, whether online or offline.