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Complete guide: create an optimized B2B e-commerce (2024)

This article is aimed at all B2B companies who want to get started in e-commerce or improve their current store

According to FEVAD (e-commerce and distance selling federation), B2B e-commerce is one of the major priorities of companies whose activity is based on the purchase or sale of goods and/or services to other companies. The latter understand that it is a channel for acquiring new customers and an important growth driver, which will undoubtedly make a difference compared to their competitors.

Adapting to the new purchasing behaviors of B2B players

Although B2B e-commerce is experiencing spectacular growth, many companies are still reluctant to prioritize its development. They prefer to rely on proven traditional methods, but then fall behind sometimes critically in the face of competitors banking on all the innovations made possible by this sales channel.

The main belief that is holding back the implementation of e-commerce is the following: “personal interactions are essential to establishing strong relationships with customers and understanding their specific needs”. Obviously, personal interactions are important in many cases, and it's not a matter of getting rid of them (at least not completely). On the other hand, digital makes it possible to adapt to the new purchasing methods of B2B players, a large part of whom are part of the Millenial generation (and those that follow). This is a request from them. Also, and perhaps above all, B2B e-commerce makes it possible to understand the specific needs of each customer in a much more relevant way – thanks to data.

If you are a B2B player looking to launch your platform or improve your e-commerce strategy, this article is for you.

The specificities of B2B e-commerce

This section explores the particularities of B2B commerce (and e-commerce), covering topics such as the personalization of offers, longer sales cycles, and the need for robust logistics. We'll also see how customer service, marketing strategies, and regulatory compliance play critical roles in the success of B2B businesses.

The target audience in B2B e-commerce

In B2B e-commerce, businesses sell to other businesses. Their target customers are therefore made up of businesses themselves, rather than individuals. B2B companies acquire products or services for their internal operations, for resale, or for use in their production process.

Here are some examples of B2B players:

  • The manufacturers ;
  • Wholesalers;
  • The distributors ;
  • Resellers;
  • Retailers;
  • Organizations (an association, a university, etc.).

The more complex decision-making process of B2B players

The corporate purchasing process often involves multiple decision-makers and additional validation steps, such as purchasing committees or departments. Sales cycles are therefore often longer.

Larger Orders and Customization

B2B orders are generally larger in volume and value. Additionally, there may be specific customization needs to meet the requirements of business customers.

Long-term relationships in B2B

B2B commerce emphasizes long-lasting relationships. B2B customers are looking for stable partnerships and reliable suppliers with whom they can work long term.

Personalized pricing and negotiation

Unlike B2C, where prices are typically fixed, B2B transactions often involve negotiations and custom pricing based on purchase volume or other factors.

B2B customer service

Buyers demand quality customer service. Suppliers must be able to solve complex problems and offer solutions quickly and efficiently.

Logistics and supply chain

B2B e-commerce requires robust and flexible logistics to manage large orders, regular deliveries, and sometimes specific storage conditions.

Regulation and compliance in B2B

B2B transactions may involve compliance with specific regulations, such as security standards, legal requirements or certifications.

Differentiated marketing approach

B2B marketing relies more on informative content, relationship building and networking, with channels like trade shows, webinars and content marketing.

2) What is the benefit of focusing on B2B e-commerce?

B2B e-commerce is no longer an optional channel, but has become an essential catalyst for growth and transformation for many businesses. The following paragraphs explain why focusing on B2B e-commerce can offer significant advantages.

Cost reduction thanks to B2B e-commerce

Setting up a B2B e-commerce platform can reduce costs related to staff, infrastructure and general expenses. Automating sales processes and operations reduces the need for abundant staff and huge offices.

Automation and efficiency of a B2B e-commerce platform

B2B e-commerce platforms offer a high capacity for automation, which improves the efficiency of operations. This concerns order management, invoicing, inventory tracking, and many other processes. As a result, employees see their productivity increase because they spend less time on manual and repetitive tasks.

Removing middlemen

With B2B e-commerce, businesses can reduce their dependence on intermediaries, such as wholesalers. This opens up vast opportunities for growth by allowing companies to better control their supply chain and sell directly to customers they could not reach before.

B2B e-commerce: 24/7

Being present 24/7 provides constant sales opportunities, unlike traditional sales channels which are limited by opening hours. It also means that businesses can expand their customer base without having to invest heavily in additional human resources or physical infrastructure.

Catalog and quick access to products

One of the major advantages of B2B e-commerce is the ease of finding catalog products, since customers can do so online, using advanced search tools, and applying filters to quickly identify the product(s). that they need. This reduces the time spent on this goal and facilitates the purchasing process. Customers can also access detailed product descriptions, customer reviews, and recommendations to make informed purchasing decisions.

Personalized experience thanks to B2B e-commerce

Contrary to what some might think, B2B e-commerce is not just about putting a catalog online. Modern platforms make it possible to personalize the sales, communication, and marketing experience for each customer. Businesses can offer targeted promotions, personalized product recommendations, and tailored offers based on customer purchasing behaviors and preferences. This also helps build customer loyalty.

Connections and integrations to a B2B e-commerce store

B2B e-commerce platforms can connect directly to systems like ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) and CRM (Customer Relationship Management). This makes order management, invoicing and customer tracking easier.

Change in purchasing habits due to B2B e-commerce

B2B buyers now want a more direct and easier purchasing experience, without necessarily needing to go through a sales representative. They want access to the products they need anytime, from anywhere, with flexible payment and delivery options. B2B e-commerce platforms meet these new expectations.

Improving data management through B2B e-commerce

B2B e-commerce allows for better management of customer data. Businesses can collect, analyze, and use this data to improve their sales and marketing strategies. This paves the way for more informed decision-making and more targeted marketing campaigns.

Simplified billing with various options

B2B e-commerce makes it easier for customers to bill by giving them a wide range of options. Customers can choose from several payment methods, such as credit cards, bank transfers, or electronic payment systems. E-commerce platforms also make it possible to automate invoices, offer flexible payment plans, and manage discounts or credits. This speeds up the billing process and reduces errors, contributing to a better customer experience.

Optimization of the conversion rate thanks to personalized highlights

B2B e-commerce platforms allow businesses to optimize their conversion rate through targeted promotions. They can analyze customer purchasing behavior and automatically offer products, special offers, discounts, or additional quantities at a more attractive price.

B2B e-commerce customer loyalty

Customer retention is an essential part of B2B commerce success. E-commerce platforms allow businesses to create loyalty programs and communicate proactively with customers. This could include follow-up emails, emails with personalized recommendations, or rewards for loyal customers. A high level of personalization and interaction helps create lasting relationships with customers.

Digitalization of administrative processes

The digitalization of administrative processes is another key advantage of B2B e-commerce. Businesses can automate tasks like invoicing, compliance monitoring, quote requests, and ordering. This speeds up processes and reduces the risk of human errors. Additionally, digital documents can be stored securely and shared easily, improving collaboration between different business stakeholders.

In short, B2B e-commerce is transforming the way businesses operate, providing them with tools to reduce costs, increase efficiency, reach new markets, and improve the customer experience.

B2B e-commerce features

In this section, we will show you the features that allow B2B e-commerce sites to function optimally, and which offer a fluid and personalized user experience. This can serve as a basis for creating specifications and a brief in the case of creating or redesigning your B2B e-commerce store.

User Authentication

To create a solid B2B system, it is essential to include key features related to authentication and user management. This involves creating secure accounts, protected logins, and mechanisms for managing roles and permissions. Automated processes can also be put in place to verify new registrants, ensuring that only authenticated users have access to the system.

Complete online product catalogs

A comprehensive product catalog is crucial for a B2B site, with intelligent search and advanced filter features, the ability to personalize products, and responsive navigation with featured products. These features make it easy for customers to find what they are looking for and discover new offers.

Order management via the B2B e-commerce platform

Order management in B2B must be fluid and efficient. This includes tracking, the ability to view purchase history, and features to cancel or modify orders. An added benefit for B2B customers is the ability to repurchase a previous order with just one click, making recurring purchases easier.

Personalized prices

Pricing in B2B is often customized to meet specific customer needs. This may include tailored pricing, negotiations, and discounts for volume or loyal customers. This flexibility in pricing encourages long-term relationships and strong partnerships.

Payment features for your B2B e-commerce store

Payment functionalities for B2B customers must be varied and adapted to the needs of businesses: credit cards, transfers, specific payment conditions, etc. Automated invoicing is an asset to guarantee fast and efficient transactions.

ERP/CRM integration specifically for B2B e-commerce

Integration with ERP/CRM systems allows the B2B site to be connected to the company's internal systems. This ensures real-time synchronization of customer and product data, as well as efficient inventory management. This integration guarantees better coordination and precise monitoring of operations.

Shipping and logistics management

Managing shipping and logistics is another crucial aspect of B2B. Customers should have access to flexible delivery options, shipment tracking tools, and procedures for handling returns and exchanges. These features contribute to a smooth and reliable customer experience.

Dashboards and reports

Dashboards and reports provide detailed sales analytics and track business performance. Customized reports can be generated to assist in decision making and adjustment of business strategies.

Communication and customer support specific to B2B e-commerce

Effective customer support is imperative in B2B e-commerce. This may include support ticket systems, live chats, and helplines. It is also important to allow a salesperson or advisor to quickly take over if necessary to resolve complex problems.

Loyalty programs and promotions

Loyalty programs and promotions can boost sales and strengthen customer relationships. Here are some examples: special offers, loyalty points or even personalized promotional campaigns.

Document management via your B2B e-commerce platform

Document management is another key aspect. This includes quote generation, electronic invoices, and technical product documentation. These features simplify operations and facilitate interactions between customers and the company.

Security and compliance of your online store

Enhanced security protocols, compliance with legal standards, and data backups and restores ensure sensitive information is protected.

Optimized user experience

To provide an optimized user experience, the site design must be responsive and adapted to mobiles and tablets. Intuitive navigation and user interface customization options contribute to a pleasant and engaging experience.

Marketing and personalization tools

Marketing and personalization tools allow B2B businesses to recommend products, run email marketing campaigns, and integrate social media. This promotes customer engagement and sales growth.

Facilitating product comparison

Comparison features and side-by-side visualization of product features make it easy to quickly compare different options.


Internationalization is key for B2B companies operating in global markets. Multiple currency management, preferred language selection, and compliance with local regulations help meet the needs of international customers.


As we have seen in this article, B2B e-commerce is profoundly transforming the way businesses interact with their customers, manage their operations and drive growth. By investing in this channel, companies can not only remain competitive, but also position themselves as leaders in their industry. This is an opportunity to build strong relationships, streamline operations and embrace the technological innovations that are shaping the future of business-to-business commerce.

In this article, we have taken care to clearly distinguish B2B e-commerce from B2C e-commerce. However, B2C best practices are valid in the vast majority of cases, particularly with regard to user experience and strategies for optimizing conversions. You will find an article on optimizing the conversion rate of your e-commerce which will surely be very useful to complete your strategy.

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