How To Make A Success of a B2B e-commerce Website

Author - armstrong-admin

According to this recent report 17% of all b2b sales will take place via b2b ecommerce websites by 2023. While this doesn’t signal the demise of salespeople out on the road and glossy catalogues just yet, it does emphasise the need to consider how b2b ecommerce might unleash as yet untapped audiences. So how do you go about creating a b2b ecommerce website and what are the key areas of focus to make it a success?

What is a b2b e-commerce website?

Firstly, it is important to understand what a b2b ecommerce website is. This is where things can get a bit more complicated.

In its most basic form, a b2b ecommerce website is unlikely to differ too much from a business to consumer website. It will simply feature products available to for sale where business purchasers can select what they want to buy from the online catalogue, pay for it and order it to be delivered to their premises.

What are the key differences between a b2b e-commerce and b2c e-commerce websites?

This really depends on the products being sold via the website. Some website will sell both to businesses and private consumers. Some DIY retailers do this on a huge scale such as Screwfix.

Often b2b websites will feature the option to purchase in bulk unlike b2c where buyers are unlikely to buy more than a handful of items on each visit.

Some b2b website include the option to enquire for further details if an order is of a considerable size and an online transaction may not be appropriate. Some b2b website may not include any prices or options to buy but still include the option to select a particular component part.

A b2b ecommerce website might also feature a diverse and extensive range of components that are often difficult to display individually. In these cases the options may become far more complex than those on a b2c website where there will usually be just a few options related to size and colour.  

What lessons can a b2b e-commerce website owner learn from b2c?

The growth of b2b ecommerce websites has accelerated in the past decade as business owners have woken up to the reality they may get left behind as so-called ‘millennials’ begin to take over the key decision-making jobs in b2b businesses. This generation and the others following tend to be far more web savvy and well acquainted with what a well-built ecommerce website looks like.

At the very least a well-built ecommerce website should be responsive i.e. easy to view on all screen sizes including mobile phones. It should also be easy to navigate and perhaps most importantly of all easy to find on Google search results.

An investment in well-built website, good quality product photography, SEO and, depending on the level of competition, online advertising, will be the minimum requirements to ensure the website is seen by prospective customers.    


In the past it may have been enough for a b2b business just to have a basic web presence. As we have explained this is no longer the case in many industries where new opportunities have opened up to exploit growing online audiences.

B2b audiences are going to be just as unforgiving of a b2b website that doesn’t conform to the accepted norms of online commerce as they would be of a b2c ecommerce website offering a poor user experience. The evidence shows b2b websites must be at least as user friendly and work equally hard to gain and maintain its audience.