Why invest in B2B eCommerce?

Research from Gartner and others shows that 2020 was a watershed year, wth nearly half of all B2B buyers preferring self-service eCommerce purchasing. The acceleration towards digital channels has only increased since then, as digital-savvy millennials replace retiring baby boomers in key decision-making positions and the switch to digital-first buying has become the norm. Business to business eCommerce has come of age. 

As well as striving to build the best B2B websites, businesses are increasingly exploring how they can meet customers in multiple channels and marketplaces. Underpinning all of this is the expectation that the business to business eCommerce experience will match B2C; you might be selling to companies, but it's people who buy. That means you're dealing with people who are shopping regularly on leading consumer eCommerce websites like John Lewis, Asos and Amazon. 

Business to Business eCommerce has to be as slick and friction-free as possible.

INTUS by Iconography

We find that businesses wanting to sell to other businesses via eCommerce need to be approached with a different mindset than conventional B2C eCommerce projects. It's never a 'one size fits all', INTUS Trade offers a service that's built to fit your needs

We start with an award winning eCommerce platform, and then our Digital Artisans will tailor it just for you. 

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49% of all B2B spending is online, but 51% of buyers say that B2B sellers don't understand the pain points in their eCommerce experience

- Wunderman Thompson

The lasting impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Although the switch to self serve B2B eCommerce started well before the pandemic, its effects are still being felt. Users developed long lasting habits that have been honed in their private lives:

  • brand research
  • product research
  • competitor comparison
  • price checks
  • out of hours self service

This is the shopper a business to business website must cater for; a savvy digital native.


Top 10 B2B eCommerce features

Here's a list of ten must-have features you’ll find on the best B2B websites in 2021. 

10 - User Roles and Permissions

User Roles and Permissions: B2B platforms often involve multiple stakeholders within an organisation. User roles and permissions can allow you to control who can access specific features, make purchases, or view pricing. Set up branches to limit ordering to specific delivery addresses, or allow head office accounts full access to all locations. 

9 - Custom Pricing

Reflect your price agreements with automated pricing linked to customer accounts.  Custom pricing allows youto display unique product prices based on customer contracts, bulk buy volume discounts, or other factors. Create a single trade price list, set up individual discounts, or multiple price lsits for groups of similar customers, all set up so that your customers get accurate pricing when the log into their account. 

8 - Automated Ordering

B2B customers frequently order in large quantities. Bulk ordering features, like bulk upload of orders via CSV files or quick reorder options, streamline this process, but full automation is the best solution. APIs can allow your customers to automatically create Purchase Orders as soon as they make a sale.

7 - Retrieve a Quote

Buyers are often given quotes, either over the phone, or in person, while quote generation features enable customers to submit requests for quotes, which can be reviewed, negotiated, and converted into orders. The addition of a simple 'retrieve a quote' feature completes this powerful sales tool.

6 - Repeat Ordering

Many business to business customers place the same orders again and again; you need a simple solution to encourage and speed these transactions; a large, simple, 'repeat order' button for one click ordering.

5 - Payment and Billing Options

Payment and Billing Options: B2B eCommerce platforms should support multiple payment methods, including credit accounts, net terms, and bank transfers. Ideally, these would synch up with credit limits and outstanding balances in ERP or accounting software via an Integration.

4 - Personalisation

Personalised experiences, such as product recommendations based on past purchases or personalised pricing, enhance customer engagement and increase sales. As online transactions increase, your website should learn your customers, allowing you to segment by average order value, frequency of orders, or what they're buying; then simply provide tailored marketing to each customer group either on the website, or externally, e.g. by email.

3 - Integration

A properly made integration can make the efficiency and pain. Orders should be created in ERP software for production and fulfilment, while being exported into your accounts package to update a customer's outstanding balance. Going the other way, get those balances onto the website along with customer specific pricing, stock and availability. 

2 - Field Sales Portal

So many ERP solutions have hard to use, clunky interfaces for order creation; these are ill-suited to life on the road. Many orders created by sales agents are quickly jotted down on pen and paper, which leads to double entry, delays and increased errors. With an intuitive cloud based portal, salespeople can create orders that are injected immediately into your order fulfilment workflows. 

1 - Outstanding eCommerce

With everything else you need your website to do, this is the one that is really easy to overlook. It should be functional, automated and powerful, but also optimised for search engines, built for conversion, with an outstanding user experience. 

A B2B boost

The best B2B eCommerce systems will deliver cost savings by automating ordering processes, reducing errors in ordering and facilitating clients in self-service for re-orders, returns and information on various things like delivery dates, spend to date etc. 

Revenue gains will come from allowing customers 24/7 availability, encouraging big order values, automating the personalisation of marketing communications and significantly freeing up your staff time to focus on nurturing high-margin customers.  

The boost given to B2B eCommerce over the last few years means investing in more features and striving for the best B2B websites is both a short term imperative and a long term future-proofing strategy. 

Nearly two-thirds (65%) of B2B companies across industry sectors now offer eCommerce capabilities...[and] B2B sellers are now more likely to offer eCommerce channels than in-person selling

- McKinsey

Why Choose Iconography

Business to Business

Selling online can seem simple, and selling to business online might look straightforward. With our experience, we know how to avoid the pitfalls and grasp the opportunities.

Direct to Consumer

Whether you're an old hand, or new to the game, IXO Commerce is the right fit for you, with tools designed for experts, but useable by beginners.

Operational Efficiencies

It shouldn’t be about how hard your staff can work. IXO Commerce streamlines and automates workflows to allow people to work smarter, not harder.

Customer Self Service

Guide customers through buying journeys for the most complex of products with a suite of tools proven to ease the purchase process and optimise conversion rates.

Expertly Crafted Integrations

Integrations have to be done right, and too often they're not. At Iconography, we have a proven track record of the most complex integrations including LN, SAP and Microsoft Dynamics.

Bespoke Function

We take the time to really understand the pain points in your business and have the technical capability to implement truly effective solutions, built for real users.

We don't just build an eCommerce website for our B2B customers; we work with you to understand your needs and produce a fully rounded solution. 

Our innovative B2B clients challenge and trust us to deliver online solutions tailored to fit their existing business processes, providing a solid foundation and bridge to the future.

A team of seasoned eCommerce and omnichannel specialists, a dedicated group of digital artisans. We've been building profitable, high performing eCommerce and omnichannel businesses for our clients since 1997.

If you’re interested in exploring how our B2B solution can take you to the next level, contact us here.


Book a Demo

We understand how to structure eCommerce for trade customers. INTUS Trade provides the specific stock, lead time and product information they need and the pricing, promotion, ordering and delivery options necessary to ensure all our trade sites are a useful resource which supports customers and adds real value.

Custom B2B eCommerce

We understand how to structure eCommerce for trade customers. INTUS Trade provides the specific stock, lead time and product information they need and the pricing, promotion, ordering and delivery options necessary to ensure all our trade sites are a useful resource which supports customers and adds real value.

Would you like to know more?

Posted by Georgia Caird
5th September 2023