B2B (business-to-business) describes companies that sell products or services to other businesses. However, classifying businesses as B2B isn’t always black-and-white. Many companies sell to consumers (B2C) and businesses (B2B). In this way, you don’t need to sell exclusively to one or another. Instead, B2B is simply one type of transaction that occurs between businesses.

We can further classify B2B into two types of transactions: traditional sales and eCommerce.

B2C vs. B2B eCommerce: Key Differences

As you can imagine, B2B eCommerce tends to be more complicated than B2C. Rather than selling a small number of products to individual consumers for a fixed price, B2B companies sell a large number of products to businesses at variable prices. This is why B2B represents a much larger gross total revenue – and requires much more powerful and nuanced eCommerce systems – than B2C.

Many factors contribute to success in B2B eCommerce. For starters, by updating your site with the latest technology, you can streamline the shopping experience, automate essential processes, increase security, and integrate your existing ERP and CRM software systems. And, as you’ll see in this article, custom B2B eCommerce solutions and functionality can meet specific business needs to improve practically every aspect of the sales process.

Examples of B2B eCommerce

Next we’ll review examples of how B2B eCommerce isn’t just a different type of transaction – but a new sales platform that can streamline the sales process and get your products in front of new and expanded audiences.

How Does B2B eCommerce Meet Complex Business Needs?

Even though B2B eCommerce has a lot more moving pieces than B2C, buyers still expect a shopping experience similar to the ease and accessibility of a B2C marketplace. Creating a streamlined B2B shopping experience requires meeting complex business needs – such as negotiated pricing, bulk purchases, product variations, product customization, and more.

The goal of a modern eCommerce solution is to overcome those challenges as gracefully as possible, automating the sections of the buying process and saving time for buyers and employees. This can be achieved with a custom B2B eCommerce solution, including the following capabilities:

Providing all of this functionality manually via a support or sales team would require a lot of time and resources. Luckily, the latest B2B eCommerce systems can handle all of this and more. Following is an overview of how a custom B2B eCommerce system can meet complex business requirements.

What’s an Example of B2B eCommerce in a Real-World Application?

AccuStandard, Inc., is a leading manufacturer of chemical reference standards. Our team helped them transition to a B2B eCommerce website to overcome market challenges and create a streamlined shopping experience for their buyers. This transition involved upgrading their Magento 1 Open Source site to a Magento 2 Commerce site – complete with ERP integration and a robust customer portal.

Beyond streamlining the shopping experience for their buyers, their B2B eCommerce website had to accommodate AccuStandard’s unique pricing requirements, allow purchase restrictions based on geography and customer type, and provide a custom interface. Here’s an overview of the most pressing business challenges and requirements that their eCommerce system needed to accommodate:

We developed a Magento 2 Commerce site tailored to AccuStandard’s business needs and optimized for a unique workflow. The website meets pressing challenges by implementing AWS Global hosting, a clustered database, IP-based location filtering, FileMaker integration, and more.

Here’s an overview of the digital storefront they now use:

AccuStandard’s eCommerce site also includes features for continued growth, such as giving site administrators the ability to update the site without programmers, leveraging Magento Commerce features to make it easier to build orders or locate items, and much more. The company’s investment in this B2B eCommerce solution automates previously manual parts of the sales process, gives buyers a more streamlined shopping experience, converts more leads, and helps their team operate more efficiently moving forward. Since the Magento 1 site launched in 2016 and the Magento 2 site re-launched in 2020, Harris Web Works and AccuStandard have enjoyed a this successful collaboration, which you can read more about here.

Additional Resources

Integrating Magento with an ERP System
B2B eCommerce
B2B eCommerce Overview
Magento Certified Partner Agency
Hosting a Magento Website on the Amazon Cloud