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3 Steps to Kickstart Your B2B Ecommerce Strategy

By Aaron Gingras

Last week’s Cyber Monday generated $6.59 billion in digital sales, setting a new record for the online shopping event and confirming the importance of ecommerce in today’s consumer landscape. While online retail giants such as Amazon have largely contributed to the success of the digital sales marketplace, B2B ecommerce is leading the way in market size and sales. According to Statista, by the end of 2017, global B2B ecommerce sales will reach $7.7 trillion, while B2C ecommerce sales will only reach $2.3 trillion. That’s a 234.78% percent difference in market size.

If you haven’t already considered or executed a B2B ecommerce strategy for your business, now is the time. So, how can you start building a successful B2B ecommerce strategy for your organization? Here are 3 simple steps to get you started.

1. Determine if You Have an Ecommerce Product

Just because B2B ecommerce is growing, doesn’t mean that it’s right for your business. Before you begin developing your strategy, start by determining if you have a product or products that can easily be researched, described and purchased in an ecommerce environment:

  • Are people actively searching for your product(s) online?
  • Can you effectively describe the need and use-case of your product(s) through online content so that your buyers feel informed enough to make a purchase decision?
  • Would an online store improve your customer’s overall experience with your brand, or do they need the additional guidance of a sales person?

By answering the above questions and identifying the need and the impact an ecommerce platform would have on your customer experience, you can ensure you set yourself up for success.

2. Approach Your B2B Ecommerce Strategy Like a B2C Company

The B2B and B2C marketplaces are often considered fundamentally different. However, when it comes to ecommerce, the two have more similarities than you might think. Whether your target persona is a CMO or a stay-at-home mom, at the end of the day, you’re talking to a person. And one thing the B2C industry has mastered is creating a seamless online buying experience for their customers. To create a similar experience for your B2B customers:

  • Include high resolution images of your products in your ecommerce platform
  • Build a strong internal site search functionality so that your customers can easily find the products their looking for
  • Ensure your ecommerce platform is mobile optimized
  • Provide an option for customers to leave comments, ratings and feedback
  • Personalize offerings based on the customer’s prior purchases
  • Include online support features such as live chat and FAQs

Some of the bullets mentioned above may not be a fit for your specific product or offering, but using a B2C ecommerce model to shape the foundation of your B2B ecommerce strategy will help ensure your shoppers have a positive customer experience.

3. Determine How You’re Going to Build Your B2B Ecommerce Store

Once you’ve outlined all of the features that you want to include in your ecommerce platform, the next step is to start defining how you’re going to build your ecommerce platform. There are many different ways to approach this step. Ecommerce software solutions such as Shopify and BigCommerce allow you to easily build your online store using their templated interface and without needing custom development work.

While these are great solutions to stand up your online ecommerce store quickly, they might not be a fit for your organization’s unique needs and objectives. Several digital agencies, such as Overground, specialize in building customized B2B ecommerce solutions for enterprises that integrate into their current website platform. Check out the recent ecommerce solution that we built for our client RELiON Batteries.

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