B2B Ecommerce: Types, Misconceptions, Examples

Updated Aug 3, 2022.
B2B Ecommerce Types, Misconceptions, Examples

Mention ecommerce, and the first thing that comes to mind is B2C ecommerce – an online store selling fashion items directly to consumers, a website selling online courses to individuals, consumers buying directly from Amazon, and so on.

While not as visible as B2C ecommerce, B2B ecommerce is equally prevalent and thriving. Projections show that by 2027, the global B2B ecommerce market will be valued at $20.9 trillion

B2B Ecommerce Market Value
Source: Finances Online

Much of this shift of B2B commerce into the digital space has been fueled by the Covid 19 pandemic, which called for limited physical interaction. Reports show that 61% of the B2B market has already gone digital. 

Average Number of B2B Searches
Source: Finances Online

Seeing the potential that B2B ecommerce holds, let’s take a look at what exactly B2B ecommerce is, the different types of B2B ecommerce, misconceptions about B2B ecommerce, as well as some examples of B2B ecommerce ventures.

What Is B2B Ecommerce?

B2B ecommerce describes online transactions between two businesses. In other words, one business sells its goods or services to another business, rather than directly to consumers, through an online portal.

For instance, a company that sells ERP software sells mostly to businesses, rather than consumers, making it a B2B company. Since the transactions occur digitally over the internet, such transactions are categorized as B2B ecommerce.

B2B ecommerce spans a wide range of sectors and business models, from physical products like consumer goods, equipment, and machinery, and digital products like payroll software and credit card processors, to accounting and legal services.

By taking advantage of online and digital platforms, B2B ecommerce allows business customers to enjoy the same kind of convenience that B2C customers enjoy – the ability to check inventory and order from anywhere, at any time.

The key difference between B2B ecommerce and traditional B2B commerce is that the salesperson is replaced with an online storefront or a digital order form.

Differences Between B2C And B2B Ecommerce Strategy

B2C and B2B ecommerce are similar in that they both involve selling goods and services over the internet. Their only difference is their target – individual consumers for B2C ecommerce versus businesses and professional users for B2B ecommerce.

While it might seem minor, this key difference has a huge influence on the strategies that work for B2C versus B2B ecommerce. The strategies used to attract and convert B2C customers cannot work on B2B customers.

Below, let’s look at some of the key differences between B2C and B2B ecommerce strategy.

1. Tailored To Multiple Decision Makers

The B2C marketing strategy is easy because decisions are typically made by one person. A consumer is shopping for a jacket online, they find one that they like and go ahead with the purchase.

For more complex or expensive purchases, they might do a bit more research, or consult a friend, but ultimately, the decision is theirs alone to make. If you can convince them, you have the sale.

For B2B customers, purchase decisions are usually made by teams of decision makers. Let’s assume, for instance, that you have a company that sells workstation computers, and you have a B2B customer looking for a computer with certain specifications.

Even after finding the specific computer they are looking for, the purchase decision is not straightforward. A finance officer could reject the computer because they feel it is too expensive. Similarly, a procurement officer might ask them to source the computer from a different company that offers better payment terms.

This means that to be successful, a B2B ecommerce strategy needs to be tailored to the needs and desires of all the people involved in making the purchase decision.

2. Custom Pricing

The pricing strategy for B2C ecommerce is pretty straight forward. Everyone gets the same product at the same price, unless they have a coupon code.

B2B customers, on the other hand, have very different needs, even when purchasing the same product

For instance, if you sell consultancy services, the needs of a large company operating across multiple states will be entirely different from the needs of a small business operation. You cannot charge both clients similar rates.

This calls for B2B ecommerce businesses to offer customized products with customized pricing. Each customer pays a different price depending on what they need.

3. Complex Payment Options

In addition to having different wants and needs, B2B customers also have different payment terms and preferences.

Some B2B customers will be looking to pay via check, others will be more comfortable with wire transfers, some will be looking for credit terms, and so on. 

Therefore, as a B2B ecommerce business, you have to be willing to accommodate different clients with complex payment preferences. This is something that is not usually a problem for B2C ecommerce companies.

4. Stronger Focus On Information

A lot of B2C purchases are made based on emotion. I like this shirt, so I’ll buy it. I’ve always wanted to buy a camera, and this looks like a good deal, so I’ll buy it while the offer is still on. My nephew will love this toy, so let me buy it before I forget. This is how a lot of B2C purchases are made.

This means that a good B2C ecommerce strategy needs to focus on appealing to customers’ emotions to encourage spur of the moment purchases, through use of appealing, high quality images, and highly persuasive copy.

B2B purchases, on the other hand, are rarely ever made spontaneously. They are almost always planned, and are made based on logical analysis. Why do we need this product? How will it help the business bottom line? Do we have the budget for this?

For B2B customers, such purchases are investments, so they need to make total sense. As a result, a good B2B ecommerce strategy needs to put greater focus on providing all the facts that customers need to make an informed decision.

5. Stronger Focus On Relationships

B2C purchases are usually one-time transactions. Someone needs a vacuum machine, so they buy one. Case closed. They’ll probably never need one again any time soon.

Even for products that people purchase often, such as fashion items, consumers seldom stick to one seller. They simply search for what they are looking for at the time, and buy from whoever has it at the lowest price.

For B2B customers, however, most purchases are not one-time transactions. For instance, if a business is looking for someone to provide marketing materials for them, they know that this is something they’ll need several times a year.

Rather than looking for a new provider every single time, they are better off finding a good provider who is capable of meeting their specific needs, then going to them every single time they need marketing material.

Therefore, as a B2B ecommerce company, you should put more focus on developing formal relationships with your customers. You need to make it clear that they can rely on you whenever they need you.

Types Of B2B Ecommerce

B2B ecommerce can be categorized down into 4 different types, based on their business model. Let’s check them out.

1. B2B2C Ecommerce

B2B2C Ecommerce Business Model
Source: Gary Fox

This refers to an online business model where business A offers its products to another business B, which then combines business A’s product with its own product, either as an added service, or as a new, unique product or service, without trying to white label the product or hide company A’s involvement.

B2B2C ecommerce can also be used to refer to businesses that offer their products to businesses that combine them with their own products before selling them to consumers, while at the same time selling directly to consumers as well.

A good example of B2B2C ecommerce is UberEats. UberEats offers its delivery service to restaurants, who then offer the service to consumers.

2. Wholesale B2B Ecommerce

Wholesale B2B Ecommerce Model
Source: LABS

Under the wholesale B2B ecommerce model, business A sells its products to business B in bulk, at wholesale prices. Business B then sells the products directly to consumers at retail prices, earning a profit from the difference in prices.

In this kind of business model, business B does not add any value to business A’s products or services. They just act as a link between product A and the market.A good example of wholesale B2B ecommerce is dropshipping, where the dropshipper buys products directly from the wholesaler and has them delivered to the consumer.

3. Manufacturers

In this type of B2B ecommerce model, a company manufactures goods in large scale, and then sells these products to wholesalers or other manufacturers.

For example, Intel manufactures computer processors, and then sells these processors to other computer manufacturers.

4. Distributors

Under this business model, the manufacturer gets into a partnership with a distributor, who then helps the manufacturer’s products get to consumers, often with the help of a wholesaler.

Under this model, manufacturers have exclusive deals with distributors, which means that wholesalers and consumers cannot purchase the products anywhere else, other than from the distributor.

Common B2B Ecommerce Misconceptions

Even though various reports and statistics show that B2B ecommerce is growing, a lot of companies are still reluctant about taking their B2B operations online. This can be attributed to the several myths and misconceptions that people hold about B2B ecommerce.

Below, let’s look at some of the common misconceptions about B2B ecommerce, and why they shouldn’t hold you back from getting into B2B ecommerce.

1. Building A B2B Site Is Difficult

One of the things that holds B2B companies from engaging in ecommerce is the erroneous belief that building an ecommerce site that is optimized for B2B customers is a complex process that will take months, while gobbling up thousands of dollars.

Fortunately, this is just not true. With the rise of ecommerce platforms, you can build an ecommerce platform on your own, even if you can’t tell the difference between HTML and CSS. And the best part – you can do it within a few days, at minimal costs.

2. B2B Customers Prefer Ordering Offline

It has always been assumed that ordering and buying stuff online is the preserve of individual consumers, that business customers prefer making orders the traditional way.

Here’s the thing however. Millennials, who have grown up with the convenience of online shopping, are already getting into decision making positions in business, and they want the same convenience when it comes to B2B orders.

Already, B2B buyers are doing 70% of their research online before getting in touch with a sales person. If you want these customers to buy from you, you have to start influencing their purchase decisions right from the start, which means going online.

Once they are done with their research, many use the same medium they have been using for research to complete the purchase – the internet. It is estimated that by 2023, 17% of all B2B sales in the US will occur online. 

E-commerce share of total B2B sales
Source: Statista

Therefore, by not only offering them a way to gather information that is crucial to the purchase decision, but also allowing them to complete the purchase online, you are actually making things easier for them, and thus increasing your chances of converting them into customers.

3. Some Products Cannot Be Sold Online

Another common misconception about B2B ecommerce is that some products might not lend themselves well to ecommerce. For instance, a B2B customer might want to know how the product will fit within their space, or feel its texture.

Fortunately, there are several innovative workarounds for this. Rather than using pictures, you can use video to give customers all-round views of a product.

It is also possible to utilize new technologies like augmented and virtual reality to help customers visualize how a product will fit within a space, or how it will look once installed on their premises.

In the event that customers want to see and feel the quality of a product before making a purchase, you can include options allowing them to order a small sample before committing to the much larger purchase.

4. Custom Ordering Is Impossible Online

One of the key differences between B2C customers and B2B customers is that B2B customers usually have very different requirements, which calls for custom orders. A lot of B2B businesses assume that processing such orders online is difficult, or outright impossible.

Fortunately, there are numerous plugins that allow customers to make custom orders. All a client needs to do is to select the features and requirements they want with their order, and these plugins will generate a custom quote that is unique to that customer, based on what they ordered.

With these plugins implemented on your ecommerce site, your customers can define the kind of product they want based on material, size, color, quantity, and so on, all at their own convenience.

What’s more, many of these tools will even remember a customer’s order, which means that they don’t have to go through the process of building their order from scratch when they need to order again.

5. Customers Need To Talk To A Salesperson Before Making A Purchase

It is true that many B2B customers will need some assistance before they make a purchase – most of them will have questions that they will want answered before they make the purchase decision. The misconception is that customers have to pick up the phone to find someone to answer these questions.

What matters to B2B customers is not who is answering the questions, but that the questions are being answered properly. This is something that can be done directly on your ecommerce website.

There are several solutions that you can use for this – live chat, email, chatbots, a detailed FAQ page, and so on. All you need to do is identify the most common questions your customers ask before making a purchase, as well as the most common objections, and then find the most suitable way to address these on your website.

6. Custom Payment Options Are Impossible With Ecommerce

B2B customers usually demand custom payment options that work specifically for them. A lot of B2B companies assume that it is impossible to offer such custom payment options on an ecommerce site. This is simply not true.

From processing credit cards to acknowledging wire transfers and managing credit terms, many ecommerce platforms today allow you to offer an assortment of payment options that meet your B2B customers’ terms.

Advantages Of Using A B2B Ecommerce Platform

If you are considering taking your B2B operations online, one of your best options is to use a B2B ecommerce platform. These platforms allow you to build your B2B ecommerce website quickly, and at minimal cost.

These are, however, not the only benefits of using a B2B ecommerce platform. Below, let’s check out the advantages of using a B2B ecommerce platform.

1. Scalability And Growth

Good B2B ecommerce platforms come with a ton of features, such as search engine optimization and responsive-design, which allow you to create a strong online presence and easily attract potential clients to your website.

As your B2B ecommerce operation grows, you might want to expand it into multiple stores with different business models, such as B2B2C, wholesaling, and so on. Using a B2B ecommerce platform makes it easy to add new stores on your already existing ecommerce site that cater to different markets, without having to build new stores from scratch.

2. Customer-Centricity

One of the keys to a successful B2B ecommerce operation is customer-centricity. You need to make the user experience as simple and pleasant as possible for your customers.

Most B2B ecommerce platforms offer your powerful personalization capabilities that allow you to offer a personalized, customer-centric experience.

From changing which products are displayed, to customizing the storefront appearance for different clients, B2B ecommerce platforms make it surprisingly simple to give your customers the kind of amazing experience that will keep them coming back to your site.

3. Digital Agility

One of the benefits of taking your B2B operations online is that it allows you to easily tap into new markets, something that is very difficult for brick and mortar B2B companies. Using a B2B ecommerce platform makes this digital agility even easier.

B2B ecommerce platforms come with features that allow you to easily translate your ecommerce site into different languages and accept local payment methods, allowing you to enter new markets and reach new customers at minimal cost and effort.

4. Omni-Channel Experience

The tech savvy customers of today are not bound to a single device. They start the buying process on one device and complete it on another, and they expect the experience to be seamless, despite the switch between multiple devices. 

To capture such customers, you have to offer an omni-channel marketing experience.

Fortunately, most B2B ecommerce platforms are compatible with a wide range of third party tools and apps. You can integrate your B2B ecommerce site with social media, mobile apps, and other tools to offer a seamless cross-platform experience to your customers, leading to more sales and satisfied customers.

5. Better Analytics

Most B2B ecommerce platforms come with in-built analytics features that allow you to not only collect tons of data about your site visitors and customers, but also turn this data into useful insights that you can use to offer a better experience to site users and make better business decisions.

With these analytics features, you’ll have a good idea of who your customers are, what they are looking for, what pushes them away from your site, what you can do to improve conversions, and lots of other information about what is working and not working for your B2B ecommerce operation.

Top B2B Ecommerce Platforms

Some of the top B2B ecommerce platforms that you can use to build your ecommerce site include…

  • Shopify Plus: This product from Shopify allows you to manage your B2C and B2C sales within a single platform. Shopify Plus is compatible with popular CRM and ERP software, has tons of personalization and optimization features, and is compatible with 100+ payment providers.
  • BigCommerce: This B2B product allows integration with various CRM, ERP, and OMS platforms, allows you to offer custom shipping rates, and supports one-click quote generation and reordering.
  • WooCommerce B2B: This is a B2B ecommerce plugin, rather than a fully-fledged platform. WooCommerce B2B gives you access to unlimited customization options for your B2B ecommerce site.
  • CS-Cart: CS-Cart makes it incredibly easy to build your B2B ecommerce site, with a drag and drop building environment, fully customizable source code, pre-built design templates, and 500+ other B2B features.
  • OpenCart: OpenCart gives B2B merchants access to over 13,000 themes and modules that they can use to expand and customize the functionality of the B2B ecommerce store, as well as other features like product management, a collection of SEO tools, and so on.

B2B Ecommerce Marketing Best Practices For Beginners

If you are just getting into B2B ecommerce, here are some marketing best practices that will help your B2B ecommerce site attract customers quickly and give you an edge over the competition.

1. Focus On Educating Your Customers

B2B purchase decision making is a very information oriented process. Before making the decision to purchase a product or service, B2B buyers want to know everything there is to know about the product or service. They’ll want answers to questions like

  • How does this product work?
  • Will it help solve our problem?
  • Is it a worthy investment? How will purchasing the product affect our bottom line?
  • How does this product compare to other similar products?
  • How does the price of this product compare to that of similar products?

Most B2B customers won’t call your company to help you answer these questions. Instead, they’ll try to find these answers by researching on the internet. If they can’t find the information, they’ll just move to your competitors.

This means that, if you want to not only attract, but convert B2B customers, you have to provide them with all the information they need to help them make the decision. The best way to do this is through content marketing.

Create content like blog posts, videos, infographics, ebooks, and case studies explaining everything about your products, as well as your industry. The aim of this content should not be to convince customers to purchase your products, but rather to inform and educate them.

Doing this will not only help your customers make an informed decision, it will also position your company as an expert in your industry and build your credibility, thus increasing your chances of making sales.

2. Give The Same Buyer Experience Expected Of B2C Websites

When shopping online, B2C customers usually have a lot of options, and because of this, they have come to expect a very high quality of user experience.

If a site takes forever to load, they’ll leave and find the product from another seller. If they think your shipping terms are too restrictive, they’ll just find someone else with more flexible terms.

As more and more millennials, who are used to B2C online shopping, start shopping for B2B products online, they’ll expect the same kind of buyer experience and convenience they are used to in the B2C space.

Therefore, you have to make the B2B shopping experience on your site as smooth and convenient as you can. Some of the things you can do to make the shopping experience pleasant include:

  • Optimize your B2B ecommerce site for fast load times
  • Use high quality images and videos to showcase your products
  • Optimize your site for mobile devices
  • Give real-time updates about availability of products
  • Provide reviews and ratings from previous buyers
  • Provide online catalogs that your customers can easily browse through
  • Provide multiple customer support options, such as live chat, email, and phone support
  • Offer flexible shipping options

The easier it is for customers to interact with and buy from your B2B ecommerce site, the more you’ll be able to attract customers and get them to purchase from you.

3. Add Search Functionality To Your B2B Site

If you only sell a handful of products or services, you can just list them all on your website, allowing customers to easily find what they are looking for.

However, if you sell hundreds or thousands of products, no customer is going to spend half an hour scrolling through product catalogues. They’ll just abandon your website and look for the product elsewhere.

To prevent this, you need to add search functionality to your site. This way, instead of scrolling endlessly through products, customers can simply search for what they want, thus saving them time, and making the whole process much easier.

To make the process even more streamlined, make sure your search bar is highly visible, use predictive search to save time for your customers, allow users to find products using synonyms or substitute terms, and implement filtered navigation. Simply adding functionality can increase your site conversions by up to 50%.

4. Use Social Media To Give Your B2B Ecommerce Company A Human Touch

Every entrepreneur in the B2C space knows the importance of social media in marketing. When it comes to B2B, most companies do not bother themselves with social media. Social media is seen as a purely D2C channel. However, this is not entirely true.

While social media might not be very effective at driving direct B2B sales, it can still be very useful for humanizing your brand and building human relationships with your customers. Why is this important?

While the people interacting with your brand on social media will not directly make a purchase from social media, they are the same people who will decide whether their companies should purchase your products or not.

When they see your content on social media, they are already building a connection with your brand, and taking note of your expertise in your industry. Therefore, when it’s time to make a B2B purchase decision, you’ll have some advantage over competitors who are totally unknown to the team making the purchase decision.

5. Align Your B2B Ecommerce Site To Your Customers’ Needs

In business, every customer is different. In the B2C space, the differences are not very significant. In the B2B space, however, these differences are very significant, and will determine whether a customer will do business with you or not.

Therefore, if you want your B2B ecommerce business to be successful, you have to align your site to your customers’ needs – even when these needs vary from one customer to the next.

One effective way of doing this is through customer segmentation. By categorizing your customers into different groups based on shared needs, you can have catalogs, pricing, and even reward programs that are specific to each customer segment.

Another way to align your B2B ecommerce site to your customers’ needs is to create multiple workflows that support different customers’ way of doing business.

For instance, if one customer makes payments on ordering, while another client requires that you provide terms, ensure that your B2B site supports both options. The point here is to make the purchase process as frictionless as possible for all customers.

B2B Ecommerce Examples

To make it easier to understand B2B ecommerce, as well as to give you some inspiration as you set out to set up your own online store, here are some examples of successful B2B ecommerce businesses.

1. Alibaba

Alibaba is one of the biggest examples of B2B ecommerce in the world

With over 18 million users from across 240 countries, Chinese ecommerce juggernaut Alibaba is one of the biggest examples of B2B ecommerce in the world.

While Alibaba does not sell its own products, it is still considered to be a B2B ecommerce business because it connects manufacturers to wholesalers and retailers.

What makes Alibaba so successful is its focus on the customer. The website is amazingly simple to use, for both buyers and sellers, and what’s more, Alibaba has kept its platform free to join for all. The company earns its revenue through ads and commissions.

2. Amazon Business

Amazon Business is the world’s most popular B2C ecommerce site

While Amazon is the world’s most popular B2C ecommerce site, many do not know about its B2B platform – Amazon Business.

Amazon Business looks just like the regular Amazon marketplace. The difference is that it is tailored for businesses. Only businesses are allowed to create accounts on Amazon Business.

Businesses that are registered on Amazon Business get access to special, business only pricing, ability to set spending limits, multi-user accounts, pallet deliveries, monitor buying, and so on.

While Amazon Business is free, there is also a paid Business Prime membership, just like there is Amazon Prime for regular Amazon users. Business Prime accounts have additional benefits that are not available to free Business accounts.

Some of the things that have made Amazon Business successful include its ease of use, addition of value for Business Prime members by giving them access to exclusive features, and continuous innovation aimed at improving the customer experience for its B2B customers.

3. Boards & More

Boards & More is a B2B ecommerce store that uses the wholesale business model

Boards & More is a B2B ecommerce store that uses the wholesale business model to sell kitesurfing and paddleboarding equipment to retailers.

There are several things that contribute to the success of Boards & More in the B2B ecommerce space. First, their website is beautifully designed, with great images to showcase their products.

Boards & More understands that B2B purchase decisions are driven by facts and logical analysis – which is why they also provide detailed information about each product, including technical data as well as the compatibility of products with other products, making it easier for customers to make purchase decisions.

4. AIIA

AIIA is an ecommerce website that sells branded promotional items to businesses

AIIA is an ecommerce website that sells branded promotional items to businesses. AIIA’s strategy is to show businesses that promotional items need not be cheap and of low quality.

What we love about AIIA’s B2B online store is how neatly they provide information to prospective customers.

On their homepage, customers can easily scroll through images of various products. Hovering over a product gives an overview of the product.

Clicking on the product takes you to another page where you get more detailed information about the product, including a demo video of how the product works, the available customization and branding options available, as well as more photos of the product.

All this makes it easier for businesses to choose which promotional item suits their needs. The product page also has a simple form that allows customers to get a quotation within 24 hours.

5. Grainger

Grainger is a leading industrial supplies provider B2B ecommerce website

When building a B2B ecommerce website, you want to make it as easy as possible for customers to order your products. This is something Grainger – a leading industrial supplies provider – understands well.

When you open their site, you can immediately see all their product categories presented using simple images and labels. Selecting a product category takes you to another page with images of all the subcategories within that category.

By categorizing their products this way, Grainger makes it easy for their customers to find what they are looking for, without having to scroll through hundreds of products.

When you click on a product you’re interested in, you get information about its availability, price, expected arrival time, and an add to cart button.

One of the most remarkable things about Grainger’s website is that it has a guest checkout option, allowing customers to complete the purchase without logging in. 

This is not very common in the B2B ecommerce space, yet Grainger understands that not all B2B customers want to spend minutes filling in information into forms before they can complete their purchase.

Grainger takes things a notch higher with their well-thought out app that allows customers to easily re-order a product by scanning a barcode, making the reordering process easy, convenient, and highly accurate.

Through the app, customers can also chat with Grainger agents and upload images of products they are looking for.

Just as the B2B ecommerce industry is growing, it is also evolving, and anyone going into this industry needs to adjust their strategy and approach in line with the changes happening in the industry. 

Below, let’s check out some of the B2B ecommerce trends you need to watch out for over the next 5 to 10 years.

1. Changing Buyer Demographics

Until the last decade, most of the decision makers in B2B purchase decisions were Gen Xers and baby boomers, who were comfortable with traditional ways of doing business.

Today, however, millennials form a large part of the workforce, and many of them are already involved in B2B purchase decisions.

Having grown with technology, they are highly tech savvy. They are used to the convenience of online shopping, and they expect the same convenience when it comes to B2B purchases.

This means that, for anyone engaging in B2B ecommerce, you need more than a website. You need to make sure that your website is well-designed, intuitive, fast and personalized to the needs of your millennial B2B customers. Your B2B site needs to offer the same level of user experience offered by B2C sites.

2. Fully Personalized Shopping Experiences

Speaking of personalization, the millennial customers making B2B decisions today want experiences that are fully personalized. They want your website to remember who they are and what they ordered last time, and give them personalized recommendations and suggestions.

To offer such fully personalized shopping experiences, you need to integrate your B2B ecommerce site with your ERP platform

This way, the website can bring together data from disparate sources – including customer, inventory, sales, purchasing, and marketing data – and use this data to serve custom content that is unique to each site user, based on their history and interactions with your business.

3. The Use Of Augmented And Virtual Reality In B2B Ecommerce

Virtual and augmented reality are not entirely new in the ecommerce industry. B2C ecommerce companies have been using them for several years now to help their customers get more accurate information about products.

For instance, companies like Ikea have been using augmented reality to help customers shopping online to determine how different furniture will look and fit within their houses.

While these technologies have not been very prevalent in B2B ecommerce, they are starting to make their foray into this branch of ecommerce as more and more B2B customers shift to online shopping. 

These technologies present a huge opportunity for B2B ecommerce businesses to offer an immersive experience to their customers.

For instance, through the Hololens Project, Microsoft is trying to build a hyper-realistic AR headset that will make it easier for customers to get a hands-on feel for products remotely.

4. Conversational Commerce

Today, 1 in every 4 Americans owns a smart speaker, and many are using the digital voice assistants that come with these devices for shopping. It is estimated that by 2022, voice commerce will account for over $40 billion in sales in the US. 

Conversational Commerce Sales
Source: WordStream

While the bulk of voice commerce has been happening in B2C ecommerce, voice commerce has huge potential for B2B commerce.

B2B orders are usually long and complicated. Voice commerce simplifies the ordering process and allows customers to make their orders in a hands-free manner – the same way they would when ordering from a real salesperson. 

In addition, voice ordering is highly suitable for repeat orders, which make up a huge chunk of B2B orders.

While this technology is still in its early stages, it can help you deliver a great user experience to your customers, so it is worth keeping an eye on.

B2B Ecommerce Statistics

If you are thinking of starting a B2B ecommerce website, here are some B2B ecommerce statistics to give you some insights into the state of the industry and help you determine what you need to launch and grow your online store.

  • According to a report by Forester, 73% of millennials are involved in the decision making for B2B purchases. This points to the importance of having a B2B ecommerce site, since millennials are tech savvy and have a preference for making purchases online.
  • The average B2B customer makes 12 online searches before making the purchase decision. This means that, if you are not providing relevant information to potential B2B buyers on your website, you are losing out on lots of potential clients.
  • When evaluating solution providers, B2B customers consider the following factors to be the most important: functionality and features (73%), price (72%), reviews from previous customers (59%), ease of use and deployment time (56%), and whether the solution solves their pain point (47%). 
  • 80% of B2B customers will not do business with you if your website provides a poor customer experience. Customer experience is influenced by everything your customers’ experiences while purchasing from you, from what they see when they first open your B2B ecommerce site, to the communication from your company even after the purchase.
  • Giving your B2B customers a personalized experience on your website can boost your sales by up to 19%.
  • According to Accenture, cold outreach efforts are ignored by up to 90% of B2B decision makers. If you want your B2B ecommerce to be successful, therefore, you have to focus on inbound marketing.
  • It is crucial that you offer multiple payment options on your B2B ecommerce site. According to BigCommerce, 94% of B2B customers use credit cards, 51% use checks, and 50% use purchase orders. Mobile wallets, which are rapidly gaining popularity, are used by 26% of B2B buyers.
  • BigCommerce also reports that it is expected that by 2022, 25% of B2B ecommerce enterprises will have adopted augmented reality technology, while 70% will be experimenting with the technology. This shows that you need to consider AR technology if you don’t want to be left behind by the competition.
  • Speedy shipping is very important to B2B buyers. The Future of Customer Experience and Engagement reports that 78% of B2B customers expect expedited fulfillment, including next-day delivery. 83% of B2C buyers expect similar shipping options.
  • Projections show that by the end of 2021, smartphones will account for 72.9% of all B2B ecommerce sales. This means that you need to make sure that your B2B ecommerce site is well optimized for mobile devices.

Martin Luenendonk

Editor at FounderJar

Martin loves entrepreneurship and has helped dozens of entrepreneurs by validating the business idea, finding scalable customer acquisition channels, and building a data-driven organization. During his time working in investment banking, tech startups, and industry-leading companies he gained extensive knowledge in using different software tools to optimize business processes.

This insights and his love for researching SaaS products enables him to provide in-depth, fact-based software reviews to enable software buyers make better decisions.