Originally published September 10, 2020, updated November 23, 2021
eCommerce has transformed the world of B2B transactions. With increasingly more B2B brands investing in new online sales channels, the eCommerce share of total B2B sales is growing: in fact, it’s predicted to reach 17% by 2023.
But what’s driving this growth? The complex and evolving B2B buying cycle necessitates the move to digital. There are many other business benefits motivating companies to consider investing in online commerce.
Today, we’re taking a data-driven, detailed look into the many advantages of the B2B eCommerce model to help you understand whether B2B eCommerce might be a viable sales channel for your business.
If you would like to skip all of the reading, download the full B2B eCommerce benefits infographic here.
Understanding the Benefits: Leading B2B eCommerce Stats and Facts
Business leaders are embracing digital commerce
Businesses of all types are steadily expanding their online reach lured by the many advantages of B2B eCommerce. Many are making a move online to capture additional sales while others invest in eCommerce to offset losses at their physical locations. In fact, according to Marketlive, 85% of all B2B organizations recognize that their eCommerce strategy is a vital, yet underutilized revenue opportunity.
Customers are looking for you online already
“In the digital age, your most effective sales representative may not be a person but your eCommerce site accessed form the purchaer’s desktop computer or mobile device”
Yoav Kutner, Co-Founder and CEO of Oro Inc.
10 Main Benefits of B2B eCommerce
1. Scalability and growth
A well-performing web store strengthens your online presence, drawing more potential clients on your turf. Thus, an effective eCommerce platform will be easily discoverable, SEO-optimized, and mobile-friendly. The key B2B eCommerce benefits is its flexibility, which allows businesses to open multiple stores and expand into B2C, B2B2C, and D2C selling modes. For example, in medical supplies eCommerce, B2B2C is used to maintain regulatory oversight and healthcare organizations must ensure their marketing information is consistent and compliant.
It is clear that consumers now prefer do-it-yourself options for researching products prior to buying. Well-designed eCommerce solutions provide them with access to self-service portals with relevant resources, such as product descriptions, reviews, shipping, and handling information, as well as their account, order history, and delivery tracking information.
By leveraging B2B eCommerce platforms‘ personalization capabilities, you can even customize the way your storefront looks or which products it displays first based on buyer preferences. Most importantly, your sales team gets access to a wealth of data on each customer and their transactions, helping them to offer personalized, customer-centric updates and support.
3. Customer reach
Your customers are already online searching for the best prices, comparing products, and spending money with companies that meet their requirements. You, too, can take advantage of new sales channels: go where your buyers are researching their purchases and leverage the power of digital marketing. An SEO-friendly, responsive site that is accessible on any device will rank higher on Google, increasing your brand awareness and engagement and boosting online sales.
Whether you open a web store or build a B2B marketplace, getting catalogs online allows you to not only reach new markets but centralize data, too. For example, even your physical teams will appreciate a well-organized website. They will have a single source of truth since catalog items, orders, pricing, and history will be easily accessible – whether they’re working remotely or out in the field..
4. Digital agility
B2B businesses must have the ability to launch a web store quickly, shift to new markets, or scale their eCommerce business to meet growing demand. Today’s technology makes it easy for brands to build long-term relationships or build a following of their own.
Among the key benefits of B2B eCommerce for business is that it allows B2B retailers to grow beyond their local area and reach new customers. Unlike their brick-and-mortar counterparts, retailers, suppliers, and manufacturers owning a B2B eCommerce platform can build a web store in local languages, currencies and accept local payment methods – even if it means operating within different tax codes and legal regulations.
5. Increased productivity
Some potential benefits of B2B eCommerce are centered around productivity. It allows businesses to focus on building relationships with customers instead of merely taking orders and entering data into an ERP. A self-service portal can take orders 24/7 and supply customers with personalized pricing, order status, and more.
Automated order workflows reduce the possibility of errors and misunderstandings while increasing the efficiency of sales processes. This empowers your staff to address and manage things a machine cannot do – advising, consulting, and supporting leads and clients.
6. Omnichannel experience
One of the main pros of a B2B eCommerce coupled with omnichannel retail is that the online sales experience transcends selling barriers posed by physical stores. Business-to-business customers don’t have to visit a showroom only to find out they can’t find what they need and leave empty-handed. Today’s customer journeys are rarely linear, as they move between devices and platforms. For example, customers can start on your LinkedIn’s mobile site and transfer to your website on a desktop. Brands rely on eCommerce in order to offer platform-specific offers and conversion-driving experiences on their stores.
7. Flexible payment options
A typical large-scale B2B business can process a variety of terms, payment, and invoice options. Thus, not offering the right payment method can result in unneeded friction for the customer resulting in lost sales. One of the key benefits of B2B platforms is the ability to offer built-in payment methods and integrate with payment processors, invoicing systems, accounting software, support physical checks – thereby streamlining the checkout process for customers.
8. Accurate analytics
With customer expectations growing, quick thinking is everything, and businesses cannot afford to make mistakes. Making the wrong decisions about orders, fulfillment, or even stock counts will push customers to shop elsewhere. With the right data at their fingertips, back-office staff can get accurate stock counts and use that to offer more efficient service to customers.
Integrating eCommerce platform data into other enterprise software (ERP, PIM eComemrce, Procurement, CRM, etc.) provides you with a holistic view of all business processes. This allows for greater instant insight into the effectiveness of business processes. The benefits of such insights are countless; for example, you can use them to provide recommendations on optimizing price management to increase online sales or reduce costs.
9. Improved sales process
Perhaps one of the substantial benefits of B2B eCommerce, it that your online sales platform will quickly become your best salesperson because it can supply customers with the right information and make it easy for them to complete their order. When customers can self-serve, order, and reorder according to their negotiated terms, previous quotes, or personalized prices, you increase sales and average order values.
Your B2B eCommerce back-office must provide reps with full visibility into customer info, their order history, personalized pricing, and instant insight into stock availability. Finally, it must also be mobile-friendly and accessible to reps working remotely or on the road.
10. Stronger brand
With your very own online presence backed by an eCommerce platform, you have full control over growing and promoting your brand. While joining third-party marketplaces may be an attractive low-cost option of getting your brand online, you give up your margins and lose data about your customers. Be strategic and leverage B2B marketplaces as an additional sales channel, not a substitute for your own branded eCommerce site.
Hope These Benefits Got You Thinking About B2B eCommerce!
Although most B2B business owners are well aware of the necessity of digital transformation, the amount of merchants reaping the opportunities in the B2B eCommerce space is still limited. We hope that this infographic does its part to increase B2B eCommerce awareness and help you identify the many potential benefits of B2B eCommerce and advantages of B2B eCommerce architecture and solutions for your business.
Infographics are useful, easy to read, and share. They are memorable and can quickly get across complicated information. That’s why in this day and age, Venngage’s post on how to make an infographic is particularly useful and can help you make the most effective ones around. Besides, it’s something that will always bring you more traffic, brand awareness, and help you stand out.
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Questions and Answers
What are the main advantages of B2B eCommerce?
Ten main business benefits of B2B eCommerce include:
- Increased sales: reach new customers who head online to compare products and find the best price.
- Scalability: build in sustainability and grow with confidence no matter how big your product catalogs and order sizes get.
- Customer-centricity: customize your web store to provide a personalized customer experience.
- Increased productivity: automate order management workflows with workflow automation and AI powered eCommerce to empower your staff to take on more value-added activities.
- Omnichannel experience: seamlessly connect multiple customer touchpoints across online and offline channels.
- Flexible payment options: offer a variety of built-in payment methods and integrate with payment processors, invoicing systems, accounting software, and more.
- Accurate analytics: measure key business KPIs, including sales effectiveness, inventory turns, marketing campaigns, and customer engagement.
- Improved sales process: give your customers the opportunity to self-serve, order, and reorder according to their needs.
- Digital agility: build an online store in local languages, currencies and accept local payment methods.
- Stronger brand: differentiate and stay relevant for customers who increasingly embrace eCommerce.
What are the benefits of B2B eCommerce over the traditional business?
By enabling the customer to make a particular purchase in just a few clicks, a B2B eCommerce website can augment your business in many ways, including these B2B eCommerce benefits over traditional commerce:
- It’s open 24/7: no limitations of regular business hours.
- Location independent: you can reach customers worldwide.
- Scalability: expanding or downsizing is easier with B2B eCommerce than a brick-and-mortar location.
- Customized user experience: gather customer data to deliver a personalized experience.
- Greater brand visibility: while offline companies rely on branding, word-of-mouth, and building relationships to increase sales, online B2B companies can benefit from increased brand awareness through search engines.
That said, having a web store doesn’t mean giving up your physical business presence. Many B2B companies successfully operate both.
What are the disadvantages of B2B eCommerce?
Increasingly more companies implement B2B eCommerce websites, driven by multiple benefits of B2B eCommerce for business. However, there are also several risks and challenges of online commerce to be aware of:
- The limited market can make it difficult for niche B2B companies to establish an online reputation and client base.
- A longer buying process can lead to more time between sales.
- Marketing a B2B company online is more complicated than a B2C business.