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Business to Business eCommerce

What does B2B mean, and could your business benefit from an enterprise level eCommerce platform?

What is Business to Business (B2B)

Business to Business is a business model to sell products directly to other business, rather than the general public. Most likely, if you are a wholesale distributor or manufacturer, this is your current route to market. 

The differences run deeper than just who you sell to

When selling via the B2B route, there is more to the purchase decision compared to Direct to Consumer (DTC - when brands sell directly to consumers without a ‘middleman’). Purchasing on behalf of a business means there is far more to be considered. Quite often there will be a team of people involved in the purchase and all those decision makers have different needs and requirements to be filled, so it must appeal to all of them to ensure a purchase. The sales cycle is far slower than DTC, more along the lines of days, weeks or even years (all depending on the product for sale). For example, if a manufacturing business was going to invest in a new piece of machinery, they wouldn’t simply order there and then. They need to ensure they have all the information to hand and evaluate every aspect.

Traditionally B2B sales were processed over the phone, by physically knocking on doors or via fax, and orders were only processed within normal office hours. Now there is a higher demand for eCommerce websites for B2B sales, being driven by businesses that work 24 hours a day. For example, industrial-sized bakeries will be baking bread throughout the night, if they need to place an order for ingredients or parts for a broken machine, the may not be able to wait until the following day to place an order. Every minute counts in a time pressured environment.

B2B eCommerce

B2B eCommerce means the process that businesses buy from other business via an online method, such as an eCommerce website.

B2B eCommerce websites are slightly different from DTC

One of the most essential aspects of trade websites is having customer account logins. That means customers must log in prior to purchase, but also you can assign certain price lists to specific customers. These customer accounts can also be assigned to “pay on account”, which allows the business to agree on payment terms and pay in an agreed time frame.


B2B websites are less likely to have Click & Collect option and instead focus more on the type of shipping. For example, if you are a landscaping business ordering a few tonnes of bark you’ll likely need a lorry to deliver it. Therefore the weight and distance from the depot will be a factor. The website needs to calculate this to ensure the correct shipping is charged.

When ordering online, most business will do this via a desktop computer, however, this doesn’t mean you should neglect how your website is viewed on a mobile device. A high percentage of purchase level employees will use their mobile devices to research products and if your website isn’t seamless on mobile, you’ll be falling at the first hurdle of the sales funnel.

B2B purchasers not only want a smooth online experience, but they want to self-educate. Meaning that they want all the information in one place, so they can make an informed decision. With the use of live chat and chatbots, these give you the best chance of answering questions in “real time”. You can also use a blend of customer services and sales personnel to help nudge your customer through the sales process. Due to the longer purchasing time frame, the more information the better your chances of making a sale. Not only are detailed product descriptions key, but also utilising video content can be beneficial.

Just like DTC, B2B doesn’t have to be your sole route to market. Some businesses will use a blended sales strategy and utilise both strategies. An enterprise level eCommerce platform should easily be able to deliver both styles of website, pulling from one CMS. A great example of this would be Pint365 by Masons which offers an omnichannel eCommerce strategy.

How to choose an eCommerce agency to support your B2B strategy

An eCommerce agency is only as good as its client’s websites. We’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with a number of B2B clients. Lanka Kade are a perfect example of a B2B website working efficiently to grow their business.

We have a great relationship with the Lanka Kade team. Listening to their requirements, we were able to develop the perfect solution using our bespoke, enterprise level eCommerce platform. Within the space of a year, sales revenue increased by over 13%. For a small, close-knit team, time is extremely precious, so with the launch of the new website the team have been able to free up more time to spend on other aspects of the business.

They have also been nominated as a finalist for eCommerce Business of the Year, by the East Midlands Chamber of Commerce.

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If you are considering adopting a B2B sales strategy and are looking for an enterprise level eCommerce platform to support you, get in touch today. 
We’d be more than happy to help.

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