B2B ecommerce retailing

B2B eCommerce: Beyond pure online retailing

In recent years, the trend when talking about B2B eCommerce has been mainly to highlight the generic benefits, therefore the advantages of having a digital sales channel can be summarised in three main benefits:

  • Improved customer self-management and cost savings
  • Opening of new markets, whether national or international, without dependence on a sales representative
  • Improved customer experience and knowledge


What is the current state of the digital market?

Looking back, those who started 5 to 10 years ago are in an advantageous position, as implementing an online channel/digital strategy is not just about launching an online shop and starting to sell, implementing a digital strategy involves transforming the culture and way of working of the entire organisation, and that is what is needed:

  • A team 100% dedicated to developing/managing that change
  • A sufficiently adequate budget to maintain cruising speed

With these elements, the process to be able to start obtaining results takes around 2/3 years.

If we add these 2 to 3 years to the years of advantage of those who have already been operating this channel for 5 to 10 years, what is the outlook for start-ups?


The challenge in B2B eCommerce 

The great challenge lies in how competitive the online sales channel is going to be, which already exceeds the percentage of sales represented by eCommerce in B2C (12.6% of sales in 2020), and that, as has happened in B2C, it is very likely that large players who have known how to play their cards right on time and have innovated in digital channels, will eventually reach a position that is difficult to beat.

However, one good thing about the internet is its responsiveness, so if you have a competitive product and “ambition”, the chances of getting a good position are great.

Therefore, when starting to think about the new digital channels, we cannot just start thinking about selling on the internet and move on with the strategy as the stages are completed. Howver, it is necessary to make a thorough plan ahead.


A Long Term Strategy 

A 5 or 10-year strategy, with an analysis of competitors (national and international) including pure players, if any, as benchmarks, and therefore making a serious commitment to a channel that, just as it gives us very tangible advantages, has also brought very fierce international competition that will require our company to take a much broader approach than we have applied so far.

Apart from the development of the direct online sales channel itself, another factor that we must include in our strategy is marketplaces, a critical channel that is estimated to account for 30% of all B2B online sales by 2024.

We have some exciting years ahead of us, in which the resources allocated to eCommerce will be very strong, and will define the market positioning of companies, which will be largely influenced by their positioning in digital channels.