Why invest in B2B eCommerce?

Research from Gartner and others shows that 2020 was a watershed year, with nearly half of all B2B buyers preferring self-service eCommerce purchasing.

The adoption of digital channels will continue to increase  as digital-savvy millennials replace retiring baby boomers in key decision-making positions.

B2B eCommerce, as part of the broader sales, marketing and communications mix has now come of age. 

Businesses are increasingly exploring how they can meet customer need in multiple channels and marketplaces. Underpinning all of this is an expectation that the B2B eCommerce experience will match the convenience and personalised approach of B2C. After all you might be selling to companies, but it's people who decide where to buy.

That means you're dealing with people who are shopping regularly on leading consumer eCommerce websites like John Lewis, Asos and Amazon. 

B2B eCommerce sites need to provide quality product content, user convenience and be as frictionless 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 role of self-serve B2B eCommerce started well before the pandemic, the importance of an effective B2B site is now widely accepted - with customers and prospects using sites in numerous ways:

  • Brand research
  • Product research
  • Competitor comparison
  • Price checks
  • Order history
  • Out of hours self service and realtime information from services such as live chat



Top 10 B2B eCommerce features

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

10 - User Roles and Permissions in B2B purchasing

User Roles and Permissions: B2B purchases can be more involved that B2C purchases. Different trade accounts may see different price lists or buy on different terms.

In some cases purchasing decisions may involve multiple stakeholders within a customer organisation. Defining user roles and permissions can allow you to accomodate such workflows - for example, creating orders, making and approving purchases which may involve different people in different locations.

In some wholesale operations there may be a need to set up branches to limit ordering to specific delivery addresses, or allow head office accounts full access to order on behalf of multiple locations. 

9 - Custom Pricing

Reflect your price agreements with automated pricing linked to customer accounts.  Custom pricing allows you to 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 re-order options, streamline this process, but full automation is the best solution. APIs enbable web orders to be sent to an ERP system - no delay, no manual re-keying of order information - see 3 below.

7 - Quotes

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 online 'accept quote' feature enables a quote to be reviewed and accepted by a customer and then progressed by the customer account team.

6 - Repeat Ordering

Many B2B 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 about 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 - ERP Integration

A properly developed integration can make for increased operational efficiency. Web orders should flow automatically to ERP software for processing, fulfilment and accounting. Going the other way, get those balances onto the website along with customer specific pricing, stock and availability to add value and convenience for you customer. 

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.

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Posted by Georgia Caird
5th September 2023