What is B2B eCommerce

April 3, 2024
What is B2B eCommerce

B2B eCommerce, which stands for business-to-business eCommerce, is a type of online commerce where businesses conduct transactions and exchange goods and services with each other. This type of eCommerce is distinct from B2C (business-to-consumer) or D2C (direct-to-consumer) eCommerce, as it primarily caters to businesses as its customers rather than individual consumers. B2B eCommerce covers a wide array of activities, from large-scale procurement and supply chain management to intricate product customization. Typical examples of B2B transactions include a small office buying furniture or office products from a retailer, or a manufacturer purchasing raw materials from another business to create a finished product.

B2B eCommerce has the potential to greatly enhance business efficiency and reduce costs through the implementation of automated and streamlined processes. It offers numerous benefits, such as real-time order processing, efficient inventory management and tracking, and enhanced customer service. The advent of new digital technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), cloud computing, blockchain, and big data, has notably improved the scalability of B2B eCommerce platforms, particularly for large-scale US companies. These advancements have simplified operations, such as payment processing, logistics management, and analytics, through automation, leading to improved efficiency and a superior customer experience.

Key B2B eCommerce Statistics

As per DigitalCommerce360, despite facing challenges such as inflation, supply chain disruptions, and labor shortages, US manufacturers and distributors achieved remarkable growth, increasing total B2B sales to $14.86 trillion in 2022, a 14.5% increase from $12.98 trillion the previous year.

Source: DigitalCommerce360 and 2Checkout

The need for a digital presence in B2B eCommerce has been increasing rapidly, especially with millennials entering the market.

B2B eCommerce is growing at a faster pace than B2B commerce in general and has surpassed $1 trillion. The market size was $1.7 trillion in 2021. According to Statista, by 2027, US B2B eCommerce will reach $3 trillion and account for 24% of total US B2B sales.

b2b ecommerce chart

Source: Statista

Difference between B2B and B2C

b2b vs b2c graphic

B2B (Business to Business) refers to when a business sells products or services to another business. B2C (Business to Customer) refers to when a business sells products or services directly to customers. There are some important differences between the two:

B2B and B2C businesses have different order requirements. In B2B eCommerce, businesses place large, bulk orders, have more complex logistics, and require longer relationships. B2B pricing is customized and not publicly visible, unlike B2C.

Shipping is focused on delivering to businesses, warehouses, or work sites through freight services, while B2C focuses on delivering small packages directly to consumers.

B2B eCommerce platforms offer customizable product catalogs and automate order processing and inventory management.

In contrast, B2C eCommerce is more straightforward and accessible, with a focus on smaller, one-time purchases, standard pricing, and simplified logistics.

Product, Price Visibility, and Access

In B2C eCommerce, the model is centered around open access. Any visitor can freely explore the product range, view prices, and place orders based on their individual needs and preferences. This transparency caters to individuals’ desires to compare, choose, and purchase products at their convenience.

Conversely, B2B eCommerce adopts a more tailored approach. Product visibility, pricing information, and access to services are exclusive to approved businesses. This is not just to maintain exclusivity but also to cater to specific business needs.

B2B platforms offer specialized product catalogs that cater to industry-specific needs. Businesses gain access to these catalogs upon approval, allowing them to view a range of products designed to meet their operational requirements.

Pricing is also uniquely structured. Approved businesses can view pricing tiers that reflect the quantities they typically order. This is different from B2C, where prices are fixed and visible to everyone. B2B pricing often considers the volume of purchases, allowing businesses to budget and plan more effectively.

Access to specialized services is another feature of B2B eCommerce. These could include bulk order discounts, customized shipping and delivery options, and dedicated customer service. These services are tailored to assist businesses in managing their operations more efficiently.

In summary, B2B eCommerce is a specialized platform that offers exclusive product visibility, unique pricing structures, and access to tailored services. This approach ensures that businesses have the necessary resources and information to make informed purchasing decisions.

Order Volume:

In B2B eCommerce, businesses typically place large, bulk orders to meet the demands of their operations. Consequently, this results in a much higher volume of products per transaction than in B2C.

This higher transaction volume requires more sophisticated logistics. An advanced order management system is necessary to handle these large-scale operations. The volume of orders significantly impacts the way businesses operate in the B2B sector.

Additionally, this bulk ordering influences other aspects of business operations. Payment terms, for instance, are often affected. Given the size and frequency of orders, businesses may negotiate different payment terms to suit their financial cycles.

Delivery logistics is another aspect that’s influenced by the nature of B2B transactions. Delivering large quantities of products often involves complex logistics planning. This can include coordinating with freight services, managing warehouse storage, and ensuring timely delivery to the customer.

On the contrary, B2C eCommerce operates differently. It is characterized by individual consumers making relatively small purchases for personal use. Hence, the volume per transaction is significantly lower. The logistics, payment terms, and delivery processes in B2C are consequently simpler and more straightforward.

Account Approval:

b2b ecommerce account approval

In B2C, any user can freely browse and purchase products. The sales process is designed to be user-friendly and easily accessible to the general public.

In contrast, B2B eCommerce sites typically require a pre-approval process. This process is a crucial part of B2B eCommerce, as we covered in a previous section. Businesses interested in making purchases must first register on the platform.

The registration process requires businesses to provide relevant details, such as their business license or tax ID. This information is necessary to verify the legitimacy and legal standing of the business.

Once the business has registered and provided the necessary details, the next step is vetting. The B2B eCommerce platform reviews the provided information, ensuring everything is in order and accurate.

After the vetting process, the business account is either approved or rejected. If approved, the business can then place orders on the platform. This approval process is a significant part of B2B eCommerce, as it helps ensure a level of trust and transparency between the buyer and the seller.

Pricing Structure:

B2C eCommerce operates with a standard pricing model. The prices are publicly visible, allowing any visitor to view them. This transparency facilitates easy comparison and choice, enabling customers to make quick purchase decisions.

In contrast, B2B eCommerce adopts a different approach. The pricing structures here are often complex and customized. Factors such as order volume, long-term contracts, and the business relationship play a significant role in determining the final price.

Furthermore, prices may not be immediately visible. They may require a login or further negotiation before they are finalized. This approach aligns with the tailored nature of B2B transactions, which often involve larger volumes and more complex requirements than B2C transactions.

Product Catalog:

Product catalogs for B2B are complex and customizable, taking into account variables such as bulk purchases, negotiated pricing, and custom orders. They often include tiered pricing and volume discounts, and may be personalized for each business customer or customer segment.

In contrast, B2C (Business-to-Consumer) product catalogs are straightforward and user-friendly. They typically feature fixed pricing, high-quality images, customer reviews, and detailed product descriptions. The buying process is simpler, and the catalogs are standardized for all customers.

Advancements in technology significantly influence both B2B and B2C catalogs. eCommerce and digital catalogs have led to features such as dynamic pricing, real-time inventory updates, and personalized recommendations. These digital tools help businesses better cater to their customers, enhancing the overall user experience and efficiency of the buying process, regardless of whether they are other businesses or individual consumers.

Payment Methods:

B2B transactions often involve complex payment arrangements, reflecting the scale and nature of these business-to-business interactions. For instance, businesses may negotiate extended payment terms, such as net-30 or net-60, which give the buyer 30 or 60 days to pay the invoice after receiving the goods. This facilitates smoother online transactions.

Along with extended payment terms, B2B transactions might also incorporate purchase orders or leasing options. These methods offer businesses added flexibility, enabling them to manage their cash flow more effectively and synchronize payment schedules with their revenue cycles.

In contrast, B2C eCommerce primarily relies on immediate, direct payment methods for online transactions. Consumers typically use flexible payment options such as credit or debit cards, PayPal, or other digital wallets to make online purchases. This prompt payment model corresponds with the smaller scale and simplicity of individual consumer transactions online.

Customer Relationship:

B2B eCommerce relationships typically have a long-term and contractual nature. Unlike individual consumers, businesses tend to make repeated purchases over time, either based on contract terms or consistent needs for specific products or services. Therefore, the focus in B2B transactions extends beyond a single transaction to maintaining a lasting relationship.

Upkeep of these relationships is facilitated through excellent customer service and personal interactions, which play a crucial role in ensuring B2B customer satisfaction. Delivery of consistent value is also paramount. Businesses seek stable and reliable partners who can consistently meet their needs.

In contrast, B2C relationships tend to be more transactional. Individual consumers are often driven by factors such as price, convenience, and the emotional appeal of products. While customer loyalty is important in B2C as well, the relationship dynamics in B2C tend to be less complex and more focused on the individual transaction.

Shipping & Delivery:

B2B eCommerce involves bulk shipping to businesses or job sites, which is a fundamental aspect of B2B operations. Businesses often require large quantities of the same product or several different products delivered to their premises or even directly to a job site, which necessitates the handling of larger shipments and the coordination of complex logistics.

These complex logistics include aspects such as warehousing and inventory management, the use of freight services, and significant negotiations on shipping costs. Warehousing and inventory management are critical to ensuring that the right quantities of products are available and can be delivered on time. Freight services are needed to handle the bulk and weight of B2B shipments. Negotiations on shipping costs are common, as these costs can significantly impact the total cost of a B2B transaction.

In contrast, B2C eCommerce focuses on delivering smaller packages directly to consumers, which are typically managed through postal services or parcel delivery companies. In this context, the emphasis is on speed, convenience, and tracking. B2C consumers expect fast delivery, convenient options like door-to-door delivery, and the ability to track their orders in real-time. While the timelines in B2B may be more flexible due to the scale of orders, it still requires a meticulous approach to shipping and delivery to ensure customer satisfaction.

Benefits of B2B eCommerce

Benefits of B2B eCommerce

B2B (Business-to-Business) eCommerce refers to transactions conducted between businesses through an online medium. The shift from traditional business methods to online eCommerce platforms offers a host of benefits. Here are some of the most significant ones:

Increased Reach:

B2B eCommerce allows businesses to reach customers anywhere in the world, providing a significant advantage over traditional methods that may be limited by geographic location. Increased reach means access to more potential customers, which can lead to increased sales and profits.

24/7 Availability:

24/7 Availability b2b ecommerce

eCommerce platforms operate round-the-clock, which means businesses can make sales at any time, increasing opportunities for revenue. Customers appreciate the convenience of being able to shop whenever they need to, without being constrained by the availability of a sales representative during standard business hours.

Reduced Costs:

Running a B2B eCommerce platform can be cheaper than maintaining a physical storefront. This is because it reduces the need for expenses such as rent, utilities, and additional personnel. Additionally, process automation in an eCommerce store can lower transaction costs, contributing to overall cost reduction.

Improved Customer Experience:

B2B eCommerce platforms often include features that improve the shopping experience for customers. These might include personalized recommendations, easy search functionality, detailed product information, and streamlined checkout processes. Happy customers are more likely to make repeat purchases and become long-term clients.

Increased Sales

B2B eCommerce platforms can increase sales by utilizing advanced analytics and personalization features. They provide tailored product recommendations based on a customer’s purchasing history or browsing behavior, prompting larger orders or additional purchases.

Efficient Order Processing and Inventory Management

B2B eCommerce platforms automate many aspects of order processing and inventory management. This includes automated sales processes, automatic updates of inventory levels as sales are made, generating invoices, and tracking deliveries. This automation leads to fewer errors and saves time and resources.

Data Collection and Analysis

eCommerce platforms collect a vast amount of data about customers’ buying habits, preferences, and behaviors. This data can be analyzed to gain insights into market trends, customer needs, and business performance. In turn, this can guide more effective decision-making and strategy development.


With B2B eCommerce, businesses can more easily scale up or down in response to market demand or business needs. Because many aspects of eCommerce are automated, it’s easier to handle an increase in sales volume without a corresponding increase in workload.

By leveraging these benefits, B2B eCommerce businesses can improve their efficiency, reduce costs, increase sales, and offer a better customer experience. As a result, they’re better equipped to compete in an increasingly digital marketplace.

What Are the Ways to Identify If You Require B2B eCommerce Software?

how to to Identify If You Require B2B eCommerce Software?

The rise of eCommerce has transformed the business landscape, including B2B transactions. B2B eCommerce software is a crucial tool for any company seeking to modernize its operations and compete effectively in today’s digital-first market. This software streamlines business processes, scales operations, and provides a superior customer experience. But how do you know when it’s time to invest in B2B eCommerce software? Here are 10 reasons to consider:

Is Your Business in Need of Greater Efficiency?

If your business struggles to manage hundreds or thousands of orders, invoices, and shipping details each week, it’s time to consider B2B eCommerce software. By automating these processes, the software can reduce error rates by up to 50% and increase operational efficiency by as much as 20%.

Are Your Customers Asking for a Digital Experience?

If your customers demand a more convenient, faster, and transparent shopping experience, B2B eCommerce software can help meet these expectations. Many B2B operators are losing their business to wholesale online marketplaces. Selling online on these marketplaces means losing 15% on commissions and facing stiff competition. Building your own wholesale eCommerce experience helps you provide real-time inventory updates, customer-specific pricing, quick reordering, and self-service capabilities for all your buyers.

How Fast Do You Want to Scale Your Operations?

As businesses expand, the challenges of managing a rising number of orders, customers, and inventory inevitably escalate. In such instances, B2B eCommerce software becomes a necessity rather than a luxury. Its scalability is a key asset, efficiently accommodating increasing order volumes that may multiply from hundreds to thousands, or even tens of thousands, in a short span of time.

B2B eCommerce software is equipped with advanced tools that can manage the expanding and diversified needs of customers. Relying only on the sales team may not be fair. Moreover, the software helps in streamlining and automating processes, reducing the chances of errors that can increase exponentially with business expansion. Using this software effectively can turn potential growing pains into opportunities for greater efficiency and profitability.

Are You Seeking Better Data Analysis?

Data-driven insights are vital for business strategy and decision-making. B2B eCommerce software offers analytics and reporting features that provide valuable insights into sales trends, customer behavior, and operational performance.

Do You Want to Expand Your Market Reach?

If you want to expand your market reach beyond geographical limitations, B2B eCommerce software is essential. It enables you to sell your products or services to customers worldwide, 24/7, without any physical restrictions.

Do You Want to Reduce Operational Costs?

By automating various business processes, B2B eCommerce software helps reduce labor and operational costs. It eliminates the need for manual processes like order entry, invoicing, and inventory management, freeing up resources for more strategic tasks.

Would You Like to Enhance Your Brand Presence?

Investing in B2B eCommerce software is a step in the right direction if you want to improve your online business presence and reputation. It provides a professional, user-friendly platform that enhances your brand image and helps you stand out in the competitive market.

Are You Looking to Improve Customer Relationship Management?

Improve Customer Relationship Management

Building and maintaining strong relationships with clients is crucial in B2B businesses. B2B eCommerce software offers a platform for personalized communication, customer-specific pricing, and other features that can help foster these relationships.

Do You Need Streamlined Integration?

If your business uses various software for different operations, integrating them can be challenging. B2B eCommerce software often includes integration capabilities, allowing you to seamlessly connect with your CRM, ERP, or other business systems.

Are You Seeking a Competitive Advantage?

Investing in B2B eCommerce software is a wise move if you’re looking to gain a competitive edge. It provides a modern, efficient, and customer-friendly platform that can set you apart from competitors who still rely on traditional business methods.

What Businesses Can B2B eCommerce Help?

B2B eCommerce can help businesses in the growth stage of their B2B journey. Companies that are scaling their B2B business from a few customers to hundreds of customers needing complex pricing and custom product catalogs.

Types of Businesses B2B eCommerce Can Help:

  1. Manufacturers: Manufacturers can leverage B2B eCommerce to directly sell their products to retailers or other businesses, reducing reliance on intermediaries and boosting profits.
  2. Brands: Brands that have made a strong presence in the B2C space and are willing to carry their products in brick and mortar stores can leverage their eCommerce expertise to start a Wholesale eCommerce business.
  3. Wholesalers: Wholesalers can benefit from B2B eCommerce by efficiently managing bulk orders, maintaining real-time inventory, and building strong relationships with retailers.
  4. Distributors: B2B eCommerce allows distributors to automate the ordering process, manage business customers’ relationships more effectively, and gain insights into buying patterns.
  5. Importers and Exporters: Businesses engaged in international trade can greatly benefit from B2B eCommerce. It simplifies cross-border transactions, helps manage customs and tariffs, and opens up global markets, making it easier to connect with foreign suppliers and buyers.

Structuring Your B2B Commerce Teams for Effective eCommerce Implementation

When deciding to implement eCommerce in your organization, having the right people in the right roles will set you up for success.

  1. Aligning Teams: Begin eCommerce implementation by aligning your sales, marketing, IT, and customer service teams to the goals of your digital initiative. Promote interdepartmental collaboration and customer-focused strategies.
  2. Reviewing Structure: Evaluate your current organizational structure to identify potential obstacles to eCommerce implementation. Understand which roles and processes need to evolve for a smooth transition, including redefining reporting lines and communication channels.
  3. Reassigning Roles: Post-review, realign roles and resources to support your eCommerce objectives. This could involve retraining staff for new tasks, redistributing resources for online channels, or reshaping job roles for digital operations.
  4. Hiring External Talent: If the transition requires skills your team lacks, consider hiring outside talent. This could be necessary for areas like digital marketing, data analytics, web development, or customer experience management.

Reducing Back-Office Costs and Sunsetting Legacy Systems

B2B commerce businesses often operate with multiple legacy systems that may no longer be efficient or productive in their workflows. As the business landscape shifts towards eCommerce, it’s important to reduce technical bloat and sunset these legacy systems. The following section delves into these topics in more detail.

Importance of Reducing Technical Bloat

Technical bloat refers to the unnecessary complexity and inefficiency that can accumulate within a business’s technical architecture over time. It may arise from outdated hardware, redundant software applications, or underutilized technology assets.

In the context of a B2B commerce business aiming to implement eCommerce, reducing technical bloat is crucial. It not only ensures the efficient use of resources but also minimizes potential challenges and errors that may occur during the digital transition.

A bloated system can cause delays, inaccuracies, and increased operational costs. It can lead to poor system performance, which can impact customer service and lead to lost sales. Reducing technical bloat can streamline processes, improve system performance, and lead to significant cost savings.

The Role of Commerce Platforms in Reducing Costs

eCommerce platforms play a significant role in reducing back-office costs, facilitating the transition to eCommerce, and sunsetting legacy systems. They offer several benefits:

  1. Integration: Commerce platforms can integrate with existing business systems, making it easier to consolidate and manage all business processes in one place. This centralization reduces the need for separate, potentially redundant systems and can significantly decrease operational costs.
  2. Automation: Many commerce platforms feature automation capabilities that can streamline repetitive back-office tasks such as inventory management, order processing, and customer service. Automation minimizes manual labor costs and decreases the likelihood of human error.
  3. Scalability: eCommerce platforms are typically scalable, allowing businesses to adjust their operations according to their needs. This flexibility can result in substantial cost savings, as businesses only need to pay for what they use and can scale up or down as required.
  4. Up-to-date technology: Commerce platforms usually stay updated with the latest technology trends and standards, eliminating the need for businesses to constantly upgrade their systems and software. This feature reduces maintenance costs and ensures businesses remain competitive in the digital age.

Ensuring eCommerce Complements All Other Sales Channels

A successful B2B eCommerce strategy involves integrating eCommerce such that it supplements, not competes with, other sales channels, creating an omni-channel customer experience.

Overcoming Internal Channel Conflict

Internal channel conflict arises when there’s a perception that eCommerce could overshadow traditional sales methods. To combat this, businesses need to foster a collaborative, not competitive, environment between the various channels. This includes aligning incentives and rewards across all channels and continually reinforcing the value of each channel to the company’s overall sales strategy. Thus, overcoming channel conflict is essential to ensure that eCommerce effectively complements all other sales channels.

Creating Value with the Human Side of the Transaction

While technology plays a pivotal role in eCommerce, the human element is irreplaceable. Despite the automation, personal relationships still matter, and businesses need to ensure their eCommerce platforms enhance, rather than replace, these relationships. This could involve making sure customers can easily connect with a human representative and providing tools on the digital platform that empower the sales team to offer personalized service.

By carefully managing channel conflict and emphasizing the human aspect of transactions, B2B businesses can ensure that eCommerce is a valuable addition to their overall sales strategy, complementing and enhancing their existing channels rather than overshadowing them.

Creating Value with the Business Side of the Transaction

A successful eCommerce implementation not only considers the human side but also pays significant attention to the business aspect of the transaction. This can be achieved by customizing the eCommerce channel to reflect customers’ existing business tools and practices and using customer segmentation to offer personalized product catalogs and price lists.

Customizing the eCommerce Channel to Meet Customers’ Needs

Each customer has unique business processes, purchase behaviors, and decision-making procedures. Therefore, it is crucial for an eCommerce platform to offer a level of customization that aligns with these specific practices. Features such as custom order approvals, flexible payment terms, and personalized shopping experiences can help mimic the way customers do business offline. By integrating these into the eCommerce channel, businesses can provide a seamless, intuitive, and familiar buying experience, creating significant value for their customers.

Customer Segmentation for Personalized Product Catalogs and Price Lists

Customer segmentation is another effective strategy for creating value in B2B transactions. It involves categorizing existing and new customers, based on shared characteristics, such as industry, business size, purchasing habits, or location. This information can then be used to create and present customer-specific product catalogs and price lists.

With segmented, personalized catalogs and price lists, businesses can tailor their offerings to meet individual customer needs more effectively. This level of personalization enhances the user experience, increasing customer satisfaction, and consequently, sales. Furthermore, it allows businesses to strategize their pricing more effectively, considering factors like purchase volume and customer loyalty.

How to Start a Successful B2B eCommerce Project?

Starting a successful B2B eCommerce project requires careful planning, strategic decision-making, and a thorough understanding of the B2B landscape. With the rapid growth of digital technologies and changing customer expectations, businesses are increasingly turning to eCommerce to streamline their operations and expand their market reach. In this article, we will provide a step-by-step guide on how to start a successful B2B eCommerce project, incorporating insights and best practices from industry experts.

Step-by-Step Guide to Starting a Successful B2B eCommerce Project

  1. Define Your Business Goals and Objectives: Before diving into the world of B2B eCommerce, it’s crucial to clearly define your business goals and objectives. Are you looking to increase sales, improve operational efficiency, expand into new markets, or enhance customer experience? Identifying your goals will help shape your eCommerce strategy and guide decision-making throughout the project.
  2. Conduct Market Research: Thorough market research is essential to understand your target audience, their needs, and the competitive landscape. Identify your ideal customer profile, analyze their buying process, and study your competitors’ eCommerce offerings. This research will provide valuable insights for designing a customer-centric B2B eCommerce platform.
  3. Select the Right eCommerce Platform: Choosing the right eCommerce platform is a critical decision that will impact the success of your project. Consider factors such as scalability, customization options, integration capabilities, security features, and user-friendliness. Popular B2B eCommerce platforms include Magento, Shopify Plus, and BigCommerce.
  4. Build a Robust Product Catalog: B2B buyers require comprehensive product information, including detailed specifications, pricing, availability, and bulk ordering options. Invest time and effort in building a robust product catalog that showcases your offerings effectively. Implement features like faceted search, filtering options, and personalized pricing for different customer segments.
  5. Implement Secure and Efficient Order Management: Efficient order management is crucial in B2B eCommerce. Implement features like customer-specific pricing, multiple payment options, credit limits, and automated order processing. Integration with your existing ERP or CRM systems will streamline operations and ensure accurate inventory management.
  6. Create a Seamless User Experience: A seamless user experience is key to driving customer satisfaction and loyalty. Design an intuitive and user-friendly interface that simplifies the buying process. Implement features like quick reordering, saved shopping carts, order tracking, and personalized dashboards for each customer.
  7. Integrate with Back-End Systems: Integration with back-end systems such as inventory management, accounting, and customer relationship management (CRM) is crucial for a smooth B2B eCommerce operation. Ensure that your eCommerce platform seamlessly integrates with these systems to automate processes, eliminate data discrepancies, and provide a unified view of customer information.
  8. Implement Personalization and Customization: B2B buyers expect a personalized customer experience similar to B2C eCommerce. Leverage customer data to provide personalized product recommendations, targeted promotions, and tailored pricing based on customer segments or individual buying patterns. Customization options for products or services can also enhance the customer experience.
  9. Optimize for Mobile and SEO: Mobile optimization is essential in today’s digital landscape. Ensure that your B2B eCommerce platform is fully responsive and provides a seamless experience across devices. Additionally, invest in search engine optimization (SEO) to improve your eCommerce website visibility in search engine results and drive organic traffic to your platform.
  10. Implement Analytics and Reporting: Track and analyze key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the success of your B2B eCommerce project. Implement web analytics tools to gain insights into customer behavior, conversion rates, and overall platform performance. Use these insights to make data-driven decisions and continuously optimize your eCommerce strategy.

Different types of eCommerce

B2B eCommerce is when businesses buy and sell goods and services to other businesses. There are different types of B2B eCommerce, like B2B2C, Wholesale, Manufacturers, and Distributors.


B2B2C is when a company sells products to customers but also works with another business that helps them do it. For example, an online store might work with a delivery service or payment processor to help get their products to their customers.


Wholesale is when a business buys large amounts of products from one seller at once in order to resell them at a lower price than they bought them for through multiple channels. This type of business does not usually sell directly to the customer but instead sells the items they bought in bulk on to other retailers who then sell them on at higher prices than what they paid for it.


Manufacturers create products themselves and then sell those products directly or through distributors or resellers such as wholesalers or retailers who then take the product out into the market place and make money off its sale.


Distributors buy goods from manufacturers in bulk quantities and then break down those orders into smaller amounts before selling them on either directly to businesses or indirectly through wholesalers or retailers. This type of B2B eCommerce allows businesses to buy products at lower prices thanks to the discounts offered by manufacturers, while still retaining the ability to resell those products at a profit.

Additionally, it provides advantages such as improved customer service and streamlined product delivery. With all these benefits, B2B eCommerce has become increasingly popular among US companies looking for cost-saving solutions.

Stages of a B2B Business

In the context of B2B eCommerce business lifecycle, there are several stages that a company typically progresses through, from inception to maturity. Here’s a detailed explanation of the four stages:


This is the initial stage of any business, where the main focus is on turning the idea into a viable product or service and finding product-market fit. In the case of a B2B eCommerce business, it typically involves selecting the niche or market segment to serve, building the eCommerce website or platform, sourcing products or suppliers, and initiating marketing efforts. In this stage, businesses are not usually profitable because they’re investing heavily in infrastructure, customer acquisition, and market research. It’s also a stage of learning and experimentation as the business tries to understand what works and what doesn’t in its chosen target market.

Stages of a B2B Business


Once a B2B eCommerce business has established a market presence and started to generate consistent revenue, it enters the growth phase. In this stage, businesses focus on increasing sales, optimizing operations, and improving profitability. Growth can come from adding new products or services, expanding into new market segments, or attracting more business customers from the existing market segments. The growth phase can be exciting, but it can also be risky as businesses need to manage their growth to ensure they don’t overextend their resources.


The expansion phase is where a B2B eCommerce business starts scaling up its operations. This could involve entering new markets, often in different geographic regions, or expanding the product or service offerings to cater to a broader range of customers. Businesses in this phase may also look for ways to diversify their revenue streams, for instance by adding subscription services or value-added services. This stage requires significant investment, so businesses need to have robust financial management and strategic planning to ensure they can sustain the costs of expansion while maintaining profitability.


In the maturity stage, a B2B eCommerce business has reached a point where it’s a well-established player in its market, with stable revenues and a strong customer base. The rate of growth is slower compared to previous stages, but the business is typically profitable and cash flow positive. The challenge in the maturity stage is to maintain market position and profitability in the face of increased competition and market saturation. This might involve innovating new products or services, finding ways to increase operational efficiency, or exploring new business models.

Throughout these stages, a B2B eCommerce business will need to constantly evolve its strategies and operations to adapt to changing market conditions and customer needs. The key to success is to remain customer-focused and continuously seek ways to add value and differentiate from competitors.

B2B eCommerce Marketing 101

In the world of business-to-business (B2B) eCommerce, marketing is a key factor in driving growth and success. Here are some tips to help you get started:

  • Educating customers better than your competitors is one of the most important things you can do. This means providing them with valuable data about the markets that helps them make informed decisions about your products or services. If the information you provide helps them with optimising their inventory and serving their buyers better, they will be more compelled to be loyal to you.
  • Migrating customers from offline to online channels or digital channels like your online store can significantly enhance a B2B business’s marketing strategy. Online channels enable businesses to collect and analyze customer data, leading to targeted and personalized marketing campaigns. They offer cost-efficiency, scalability, and a global reach that offline methods can’t match. They provide opportunities for rapid communication, real-time customer engagement, and integrated, multi-channel marketing campaigns. This migration can ultimately improve customer experience, engagement, and sales.
  • Using technology to solve ongoing customer challenges is another key strategy. Whether it’s implementing a chatbot to answer customer questions or providing an online portal for tracking orders, technology can help you improve the customer experience and build loyalty.
  • Rolling out programs that spur loyalty, higher order values, and increased purchasing frequency is a great way to keep customers engaged and coming back for more. Consider implementing a rewards program or offering special promotions to incentivize repeat business.

With Foundation, you can achieve all of this and more. Get in touch with our team today to try out our product.

What Are Some Examples of B2B eCommerce Projects?

Here are a few examples of B2B eCommerce websites:

All Creatures Solutions

acs screenshot

We, at Foundation, helped All Creatures Solutions to set up their online wholesale storefront.

All Creatures Solutions is a pet supplies wholesaler that specializes in providing top-quality products to retailers across the Pacific Northwest and northern Midwest regions. With a unique model that streamlines the purchasing process, retailers can easily buy from multiple vendors with a single checkout. This not only saves time and effort, but also allows them to access a wider range of products from different vendors efficiently.

Moreover, All Creatures Solutions has a user-friendly platform where retailers can view the order terms of each vendor. This includes important information such as the respective minimum order quantity (MoQ), minimum order value (MoV), and shipping terms. With this information readily available, retailers can make informed purchasing decisions that align with their specific business needs.

In addition, All Creatures Solutions prides itself on providing exceptional customer service to all its clients. Their team of experienced professionals is always ready to assist with any inquiries or concerns that may arise. This level of support ensures that retailers can focus on their business operations with confidence, knowing that they have a reliable partner in All Creatures Solutions.

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April 3, 2024

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