It’s clear that B2B brands who expect to compete in the coming years will need an ecommerce solution that meets the demands of their customers. After all, in 2019 the global B2B ecommerce market surpassed $12 trillion, making it more than six times the size of B2C.
With so much opportunity and so much at stake, why are so many B2B companies still reluctant to take the leap into ecommerce?
For one thing, it isn’t easy. As a B2B brand, you face many challenges:
Managing large catalogs with thousands of products.
Providing price quotes for bulk orders.
Managing complex transactions.
Offering payment options.
Integrating internal systems.
Fulfilling large orders quickly and reliably.
Providing excellent customer service.
And that’s the short list.
Fortunately, the right ecommerce solution can solve all of these challenges and enable you to:
Quickly get your B2B company online,
Meet the expectations of today’s modern B2B buyers, and
Grow your business.
Many B2B brands like yours have seen tremendous ecommerce success and have become industry leaders. In fact, some B2B brands are also seeing success by adding a B2C component to their business.
Let’s explore 10 businesses who are getting B2B ecommerce right.
ResMed is a global connected health company with more than 9 million cloud-connected devices that monitor remote patients daily. Before moving toward an ecommerce sales strategy, all of their B2B orders were placed via email or phone and then logged on spreadsheets. That created a lot of operational challenges.
When ResMed moved onto BigCommerce’s ecommerce platform, they were able to access the rich features and functionality their unique B2B business needed — without sacrificing the long amounts of time often needed to develop for such complexities. But the ultimate differentiator for ResMed is that they’re now able to provide login-only access for distributors, create customer groups and customer price lists, create promotions, easily manage inventory, and offer store credit.
Rajiv Shanmungananthan, Customer Facing Applications Lead at ResMed Asia, said, “The ultimate B2B feature differentiators that were the deciding factors included BigCommerce’s ability to setup login-only access for distributors, create customer groups and custom price lists, create promotions with coupons and cart-level discounts, easy inventory management, and ability to provide a store credit to customers.”
Berlin Packaging is a global supplier of containers and packaging. As they were developing their ecommerce site, providing a first-class customer experience was clearly important.
In addition to showcasing products using high-resolution images and specific product details, the site’s navigation makes it easy for B2B buyers to sort through the company’s large product catalog using faceted search. Customers can narrow their search using a broad range of parameters, including material type, color, shape, capacity, function, and more.
Berlin Packaging integrated their ERP with their ecommerce platform to leverage data across systems. In addition to making the company more efficient by automatically syncing inventory, customers, and orders, the integration also improves customer service. When customers contact Berlin Packaging for assistance, they just provide their PO and the company locates their records right away to show everything from past orders to balances to credit limits.
Berlin Packaging delivers the B2C-like shopping experience B2B buyers expect with features like live chat, customer reviews, and related products. But they also provide features unique to the B2B shopping experience, including an application to apply for credit and the option to request a quote.
Clarion Safety Systems is a designer and manufacturer of product safety labels and signage. When the company switched ecommerce platforms, it improved its category structure so customers could navigate to products more easily. This was especially important because Clarion Safety Systems has 9,000 SKUs and 75% of its revenue comes through internal site search. This increased functionality and simplified product navigation improves customers’ shopping experience from search to checkout.
The company provides B2B buyers with a wealth of information to improve their shopping and brand experience, including an extensive safety video library, safety articles, data sheets, and FAQs. Customers can use Clarion Safety Systems’ custom quote request tool to obtain pricing for safety label customizations. They can also get instant assistance through live chat, request credit, submit a purchase order, and request a quote for wholesale orders.
Good Start Packaging sells sustainable packaging and compostable products to businesses. The company reimagined its website to give B2B buyers a B2C-like shopping experience, which included a sleek design, live chat, high-quality product images, product videos, and intuitive navigation. Good Start Packaging implemented faceted search, adding easy-to-use filters that improve search relevance by enabling customers to drill down by brand, material, product dimensions, and hot or cold food.
The lower-left hand corner of the site features a button that links to Google Customer Reviews to boost social proof. B2B buyers can view over 100 customer reviews that give Good Start Packaging a 4.8 out of 5 overall star rating, demonstrating the brand’s credibility and product quality.
Atlanta Light Bulbs has been selling online since 1999, but recently overhauled its ecommerce operation to increase revenues while offering customers more features and streamlining their shopping experience. Customers use the site’s faceted search functionality to quickly filter product searches by brand, price, length, base type, bulb shape, wattage, voltage, and more, and can read nearly 300 Google Customer Reviews with the click of a button.
But Atlanta Light Bulbs is taking the customer experience even further by offering customers a mobile app—a great differentiator that makes ordering even faster and easier for B2B buyers on the go. The company uses another app to enable customers to request custom quotes in seconds. Through another app, Atlanta Light Bulbs even enables customers to name their own price for a product and then receive a message that lets them know whether the company has accepted their offer. If so, the customer can check out. If not, Atlanta Light Bulbs counters with a different deal.
The company also segments customers into groups and provides discounts based upon how much a group estimates it will spend. Customers are then placed into one of Atlanta Light Bulbs’ rewards programs that gives them store credits every time they buy something—a system that helps drive loyalty and revenue. The ecommerce platform is integrated with Atlanta Light Bulbs’ ERP to provide real-time syncs through APIs.
Casey’s Distributing is one of North America’s largest sports novelties distributors. The company works with several thousand resellers and provides distributing for over 50 manufacturers and more than 50,000 SKUs. Customers benefit from a clean, easy-to-navigate product catalog that displays inventory availability and drop ship availability. Casey’s even built an app so that online retailers can add NFL, NBA, NCAA, NHL, and MLS merchandise to their sites to sell.
One of the things Casey’s has done extremely well from a business model perspective is to automate inventory management. Prior to switching ecommerce platforms, the company processed orders manually. The orders that came into the previous platform were retrieved one at a time and someone had to key each one into accounting software. Now, using a SaaS-based ecommerce platform and inventory management software, Casey’s has streamlined the entire inventory management process, reduced labor costs, and improved productivity by about 8x.
EcoEnclose offers businesses eco-friendly packaging to meet almost any need, with the goal of matching customers with the right packaging based on their business’ sustainability values. EcoEnclose does a great job of providing all the necessary B2B functions some business buyers may need or prefer, while not forgetting to serve those buyers who would rather mimic their everyday B2C experience.
With so many customers in B2C ecommerce, EcoEnclose worked to provide a B2C-like experience that includes easy-to-use navigation, intuitive product segmentation, high quality images per product and detailed product specs. Purchasing options are also varied: customers may buy in bulk without signing in, or they can create an account, which leads to faster checkout and allows multiple saved shipping addresses, access to order history, new order tracking, and wishlist functionality. They also offer a High Volume Quote option.
To help customers identify what packaging products will be right for them, EcoEnclose includes in-depth information on each product. For each product, they include a full spec sheet describing features, technical specs, and available sizes. They also keep close to their brand by indicating if products in the packaging are recycled, recyclable, and biodegradable, and why they’re a great sustainable choice.
EnSafeCo’s industrial products provide businesses with environmental protection, personal safety, and government compliance. The website’s colorful, contemporary design showcases the brand’s commitment to environmentally-geared products. Customers can quickly access main product categories via visual icons on the homepage, search by keyword or SKU, and view engaging category banners that provide context and information about the need for each main type of product.
B2B buyer-friendly product pages include multiple product images, product videos, detailed product descriptions with specifications, PDFs of paper catalog pages, customer reviews, and related products. The site’s responsive design allows shoppers to easily purchase from any device, whether on the road or in the office.
Bulk Bookstore is similar to what Amazon was over 20 years ago—exclusively an online bookstore—but the company only sells books in bulk. Bulk Bookstore provides an Amazon-like experience for B2B buyers as well, featuring a dynamic search bar, faceted search for quick filtering, detailed product descriptions, customer reviews, live chat, and free shipping.
As a B2B brand, Bulk Bookstore also offers many additional benefits unique to the B2B world. The company’s QuickQuote feature allows businesses to request a quote for large orders, and it offers a price-match guarantee for all orders over 25 units to build trust and encourage repeat purchases.
Bulk Bookstore also offers dynamic pricing, enabling shoppers to instantly see their discounts and total order cost change based on the quantity of books selected. The company accepts many different forms of payment as well, including credit cards, school p-cards, checks, wire transfers, and purchase orders upon credit approval.
As their name suggests, Folding Chairs and Tables sells chairs, tables, and related products to businesses. Customers are greeted with large, beautiful banner images on main category pages that set the stage for the extensive product options. Individual product pages display multiple high-resolution views of the product along with detailed product information. Customers can use faceted search to filter by product type, brand, material, color, size, price, and more, as well as compare multiple products side by side. Google Customer Reviews appear on every page in case a customer needs that extra push to complete their purchase.
B2B buyers can request a quote through the site and get financing by completing a credit application. Customers can also receive free shipping on orders over $2,000, incentivizing B2B buyers to make even larger bulk purchases. In addition, Folding Chairs and Tables recently expanded its business into multi-channel sales on Amazon, providing a consistent experience by listing products with all of the exact specifications that are included on the company’s site. Just adding this one profitable channel resulted in Folding Chairs and Tables increasing sales by 3x.
Following the lead of B2B brands like these to provide shopping experiences that appeal to today’s B2B buyers can increase revenue, improve customer loyalty, and take your business to a whole new level.
If you’re ready to get started, learn more about launching a B2B ecommerce site by visiting with the experts at BigCommerce. We’d love to showcase your business in our next round-up of exceptional B2B websites.
Tracey is the Director of Marketing at MarketerHire, the marketplace for fast-growth B2B and DTC brands looking for high-quality, pre-vetted freelance marketing talent. She is also the founder of Doris Sleep and was previously the Head of Marketing at Eterneva, both fast-growth DTC brands marketplaces like MarketerHire aim to help. Before that, she was the Global Editor-in-Chief at BigCommerce, where she launched the company’s first online conference (pre-pandemic, nonetheless!), wrote books on How to Sell on Amazon, and worked closely with both ecommerce entrepreneurs and executives at Fortune 1,000 companies to help them scale strategically and profitably. She is a fifth generation Texan, the granddaughter of a depression-era baby turned WWII fighter jet pilot turned self-made millionaire, and wifed up to the truest of heroes, a pediatric trauma nurse, who keeps any of Tracey’s own complaints about business, marketing, or just a seemingly lousy day in perspective.