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What is the Current State of B2B E-Commerce?

The number of online orders within B2B has grown by 50% in the past year and 70% of all B2B purchases are expected to be made online by mid-2025.

B2B e-commerce is booming. And as much as we don’t like to be reminded about the pandemic, it has seriously impacted the way consumers and companies do business. These developments are moving fast, but only organizations that are able to adapt will be able to reap the full benefits.

Technology is no silver bullet

Logically, more and more companies are investing in e-commerce to create a better user experience with high-quality content and differentiating functionalities. To realize e-commerce growth, it is essential to have a modern e-commerce platform where you can easily add functionality and improve the experience continuously. However, all this should be done without the website losing speed and development time and the IT department working overtime.

Technology is no silver bullet, but the strategy and approach behind them are. Your organization needs to learn how to create those digital experiences that your customers crave. That calls for bringing all your data together, creating a 360-customer view and continuously aiming to improve the customer experience day by day. So, you can make the search easier, give more payment options, show availability from your retail stores and be able to deliver your products in various, flexible ways. Delivering the optimal omnichannel experience rallies the whole organization, and often leads to a digital transformation.

B2B E-Commerce in 5 key figures

McKinsey researched B2B sales and found the following key figures:

  1. 10 channels. B2B buyers used ten or more channels in 2021 to interact with their suppliers. In 2016 they used five channels, in 2019 they used seven and a half channels.
  2. Omnichannel works. 94% of B2B decision makers find the omnichannel sales model to be the same or better compared to the model before the pandemic. 
  3. E-commerce is preferred by suppliers. B2B companies are more likely to offer e-commerce channels than in-person channels. 
  4. High expectations. Eight in ten B2B buyers will look for another supplier if performance guarantee, online availability or always-on customer service are missing.
  5. In-person contact still matters. 59% of B2B buyers will only buy from a supplier if they met in person before.

Source: B2B Pulse by McKinsey

Download the Infographic: B2B E-Commerce in numbers today


Overcoming the 4 Key Challenges to your B2B E-Commerce Success

Identify and address the bottlenecks preventing your organization from reaping the maximal benefits of B2B e-commerce.

Put the customer first

While many B2B companies have made progress in developing their digital channels, most struggle with weaving these together and evolving from multichannel into omnichannel. If your B2B company can’t make this pivot or even worse, still relies on print catalogs, then your customers can easily find your competition online with up-to-date pricing, availability and ease of doing business.

The key is to put the customer needs first, and the online revenue will follow. This means B2B companies should follow in the footsteps of their B2C counterparts since B2B buyers are conditioned by their consumer experiences and empowered by digital technologies. B2B buyers today have learned to expect an optimal experience in every step of their purchasing journey. Fast, personalized, consistent across all touchpoints and adding value with every interaction.

Grow your B2B E-Commerce

Nowadays, it is not only a matter of keeping up with the digital world but also glimpsing the new opportunities that e-commerce can offer you. Almost anything is possible in today's B2B e-commerce landscape. And your customers are ready for it. Now, more than ever, it pays off to embrace digital. Start with identifying and addressing the bottlenecks that are key to preventing your organization from reaping the maximal benefits of B2B e-commerce.

This is the first blog of our article series on B2B e-commerce. Click here for the next article.

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