B2B Online Shop - Why these traders should also enter the e-commerce business

B2B Online Shop - Why these traders should also enter the e-commerce business
Sun, 04/08/2019

Online shops in the B2C sector are already booming and achieving considerable turnover. In the B2B sector, however, things look different. Although 59 percent of B2B traders already have an online shop, the share of purchases made here is low.

26 percent achieve less than 5 percent turnover via online shops and marketplaces. 16 percent, on the other hand, do not yet have an online presence. The main reasons why B2B traders do not yet sell their goods online are primarily low customer demand and too much complexity.

Something has to change in B2B online trade


It is not only B2C customers who now appreciate fast shopping via an online shop; B2B customers also want to use this option. While 93 percent would like to make their B2B purchases online, 74 percent of customers already research their purchases there. 30 percent of business customers make half of their purchases via online shops.So there is still room for improvement in B2B online trade.

Image An online shop is also popular with customers in the B2B sector. (Source: OroCommerce)

To Do's for a B2B online shop

Of course, a good online shop is not something you just pull out of your sleeve. In order to make the business via the online shop work, traders have to keep a few things in mind.

No detours for the customer

B2B customers usually do not shop for private pleasure, but place orders for work-related reasons. For this reason, there is often a certain time pressure behind the purchase. To ensure that their customers get to the product they are looking for as quickly as possible, traders should use B2B shop software that offers a quick order function and watch lists. Customers can then find the products more quickly via an article number or a QR code. In addition, frequently recurring purchases should be displayed on the start page. This way, the customer can put the required items directly into the shopping cart without having to search for them first.

Individuality in prices

In the B2B sector, unlike in the B2C sector, it is common for different customers to be offered different prices and discounts. Reasons can be, for example, that they are regular customers who receive cheaper prices because they order regularly, or that the customer receives volume discounts for the purpose of large orders. Here it is important to keep clear price structures. To make this possible, shop software should be used that allows prices to be set individually. Customers should then be able to call up these individual prices in real time.

Detailed information about each product

There is often a lot of responsibility behind a B2B order. The customer places the order on behalf of his company. It is therefore particularly important for them to order the right products. For this reason, detailed product information is a must. This also includes information on the accessories included as well as delivery time and costs. The shop operator should make the prices transparent. The customer must be able to understand whether the negotiated discount was given here, from when there is a quantity discount and whether the price is adjusted to the market.

Personalisation in addressing and products

With a B2B online shop, companies should be taken directly to a page tailored to them after logging in. There, the shop provides them with customer-specific offers, prices and catalogues. In addition, the customer should be able to call up information such as stock levels and order availability. The retailer should also be able to offer the customer the possibility of carrying out appointment and collective orders. Such a customer environment is indispensable for a functioning B2B online shop. In addition, it is particularly important for business customers to inform the customer about the status of the order with the help of personalised shipping messages. The customer should know at any time in which processing process his order is.

###Experience shipping messages in action!

Different approval processes

Especially in the B2B sector, it is important that different people can participate in the ordering process. For example, a production employee may place the required items in the shopping cart, the production manager then checks it and the supervisor finally approves it. Shop operators must therefore choose software that offers the control of different approval processes and enables several different logins.

Advantages of a B2B online shop

A B2B shop sounds like quite a lot of work at first. However, there are some good reasons why traders should think about it:

  • Through an online shop, the B2B trader can appear internationally. They only have to make country-specific changes such as language, currency, units of measurement, shipping costs and delivery time as well as legal texts.
  • An Internet presence can present the company better. If traders offer their products in a professional manner and optimise the website for search engines, customers come into contact with the brand more often and can gain a comprehensive impression.
  • Where customers used to have to compare information on products from a wide variety of documents, today the online shop offers everything at a glance. Material, number of pieces, dimensions, model design and functionality: Customers can call up everything with one click. In addition, the online shop makes it possible to attach various pictures that provide detailed information about the product.
  • Data can be analysed more easily. For example, it is possible for retailers to determine which products are selling particularly well, which discount and marketing campaigns are having an effect and how the ordering behaviour of customers is developing.
  • The average B2B customer is getting younger and younger. Already three quarters of Millennials (22 to 37 years old) are involved in B2B purchasing decisions at their company. This generation is familiar with the internet and often prefers this option, which in turn leads to increased online purchases and changed purchasing expectations.
  • The fact that the introduction of an e-commerce solution is usually promising also speaks in favour of a web shop. Sana found in the context of a studythat 90 percent of the companies surveyed that decided to set up an online shop were also able to achieve the goals associated with it.

The main reasons for B2B customers to order online are above all the practical and fast process as well as the visible availability of the goods.

Image There are various reasons why customers prefer to shop online. (Source: ibi)

Disadvantages of a B2B online shop

It becomes clear: even for a B2B trader, an online shop can be quite worthwhile. After all the advantages, it must of course be mentioned that there are also arguments against an online shop in the B2B sector:

  • Running such a shop takes a lot of time. It must be carefully considered how the shop should be set up, how the design should be created and, above all, which shop software is the right one for the company's requirements.
  • The staff must first be trained for the new sales channel. For most employees, working with an online shop is new territory. Therefore, they first have to be trained in the functions and possibilities of this sales channel.
  • The company must first integrate the new technologies into the fixed structures. Because many companies already have fixed structures that they now have to break up again.
  • For a successful B2B online shop, traders must first develop an e-commerce strategy. Anyone who starts an online shop without planning will hardly be successful. Goals must be set and strategies developed.


An online shop is no longer just a matter of B2C business, B2B can also benefit from the introduction of an online shop. Especially in this day and age, it is important to keep up with techniques and developments as well as embrace change. A B2B shop offers many other advantages besides increasing awareness and a clearer presentation of the offer. Existing B2B shops currently achieve far too little turnover with their internet presence. This can often be due to an ill-considered and unplanned implementation. Traders have to adapt the shop's functions to B2B business in order to make it easier for customers to shop there. This is how a B2B online shop can also become successful.

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