7 B2B Examples in E-Commerce That You Can Learn From
E-commerce is not only for selling products to individual consumers. Many businesses also use e-commerce platforms to sell their goods and services to other businesses. This is called business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce, and it is a huge and growing market.
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According to Statista, B2B e-commerce sales worldwide reached $12.2 trillion in 2019, up from $5.8 trillion in 2013. B2B e-commerce is expected to grow even more in the coming years, as more businesses adopt digital solutions to streamline their operations and reach new customers.
But how do you succeed in B2B e-commerce? What are the best practices and strategies to attract and retain business customers online? To answer these questions, let’s look at some of the most successful B2B examples in e-commerce and see what we can learn from them.
1. Alibaba: The Largest B2B Marketplace in the World
Alibaba is the undisputed leader of B2B e-commerce, with over 20 million buyers and 10 million suppliers from 190 countries and regions. Alibaba offers a wide range of products, from raw materials and machinery to consumer goods and electronics, at wholesale prices.
One of the key features of Alibaba is its trade assurance program, which protects buyers from fraud and quality issues. Buyers can also use Alibaba’s secure payment service, which holds the funds until the order is confirmed and delivered.
Another feature that makes Alibaba stand out is its sourcing solutions, which help buyers find the best suppliers for their needs. Buyers can post requests for quotations (RFQs), compare offers from different suppliers, and negotiate terms online.
Alibaba also provides various tools and resources for suppliers to grow their businesses, such as marketing campaigns, analytics, logistics, and financing.
2. Amazon Business: The B2B Version of Amazon
Amazon Business is a B2B marketplace that leverages the power and popularity of Amazon. Amazon Business offers millions of products across various categories, such as office supplies, industrial equipment, health care, education, and more.
Amazon Business also provides exclusive benefits for business customers, such as:
- Business pricing and discounts
- Bulk ordering and quantity discounts
- Free shipping on eligible orders
- Tax-exempt purchasing
- Business invoicing and credit options
- Multi-user accounts and approval workflows
- Business analytics and reports
Amazon Business also integrates with third-party procurement systems, such as SAP Ariba, Coupa, Oracle, and more, to simplify the purchasing process.
3. Shopify Plus: The E-Commerce Platform for High-Growth Brands
Shopify Plus is the enterprise version of Shopify, one of the most popular e-commerce platforms in the world. Shopify Plus is designed for high-growth brands that need a scalable, reliable, and customizable solution to sell online.
Shopify Plus offers many features and benefits for B2B sellers, such as:
- Unlimited bandwidth and transactions
- Dedicated support and account management
- Custom storefronts and checkout
- Advanced security and compliance
- Global expansion and multi-currency support
- Wholesale channel and pricing
- Automation and integration tools
Shopify Plus also has a large ecosystem of partners and apps that can help B2B sellers optimize their online presence and performance.
4. Grainger: The Leading Supplier of Industrial Supplies
Grainger is one of the largest distributors of industrial supplies in the world, with over 1.5 million products across categories such as safety, cleaning, tools, plumbing, electrical, and more.
Grainger has a strong online presence, with over 70% of its sales coming from its e-commerce channels. Grainger’s website offers many features and benefits for B2B buyers, such as:
- Easy search and navigation
- Product reviews and ratings
- Product comparison and recommendations
- Live chat and customer service
- Order tracking and history
- Inventory management and replenishment
- Custom catalogs and lists
- Flexible payment options
Grainger also has a mobile app that allows buyers to access their account, browse products, scan barcodes, place orders, and more from their smartphones.
5. HubSpot: The All-in-One Software for Marketing, Sales, and Service
HubSpot is a software company that provides a suite of tools for marketing, sales, and service. HubSpot helps businesses attract, engage, and delight their customers online.
HubSpot’s software includes:
- HubSpot CRM: A free tool that helps businesses manage their contacts, deals, tasks, emails, calls, meetings, and more.
- HubSpot Marketing Hub: A tool that helps businesses create and optimize their websites, blogs, landing pages, forms, emails, social media, ads, and more.
- HubSpot Sales Hub: A tool that helps businesses automate their sales processes, track their pipeline, send personalized messages, book meetings, create quotes, and more.
- HubSpot Service Hub: A tool that helps businesses provide customer support, manage tickets, create knowledge bases, collect feedback, and more.
HubSpot also has a marketplace of integrations and apps that can enhance its functionality and connect with other platforms.
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6. Cisco: The Leader in Networking and IT Solutions
Cisco is a global leader in networking and IT solutions, with products and services for cloud, data center, security, collaboration, Internet of Things (IoT), and more.
Cisco has a robust e-commerce platform that allows its customers to buy its products and services online. Cisco’s e-commerce platform offers many features and benefits for B2B buyers, such as:
- Product catalog and configuration
- Pricing and availability
- Order management and tracking
- Invoice and payment
- Service contract and renewal
- Technical support and troubleshooting
- Learning and certification
Cisco also has a partner network that can help buyers find the best solutions for their needs and provide local support and service.
7. Uline: The Leading Distributor of Shipping Supplies
Uline is a family-owned business that specializes in shipping supplies, such as boxes, tape, bubble wrap, labels, envelopes, and more. Uline has over 38,000 products in stock and ships from 12 locations across North America.
Uline’s website is a one-stop shop for B2B buyers who need shipping supplies. Uline’s website offers many features and benefits for B2B buyers, such as:
- Fast and easy ordering
- Same day shipping
- Free catalog and samples
- Volume discounts and coupons
- Custom printing and branding
- Online account management
- Returns and exchanges
Uline also has a customer service team that can assist buyers with any questions or issues they may have.
These are some of the best B2B examples in e-commerce that you can learn from. These examples show how B2B sellers can use e-commerce platforms to showcase their products and services, provide value and convenience to their customers, and grow their businesses online.
If you want to succeed in B2B e-commerce, you need to have a clear understanding of your target market, your value proposition, your competitive advantage, and your goals. You also need to have a reliable and user-friendly e-commerce platform that can handle your needs and expectations.
B2B Ecommerce: A Growing Industry with Many Opportunities
B2B ecommerce is the process of selling products or services between two businesses online. It is different from B2C ecommerce, where businesses sell directly to consumers. B2B ecommerce is a huge and growing industry, with some estimates valuing it at over $12 trillion globally . B2B ecommerce can help businesses reduce costs, improve efficiency, reach new markets, and build better relationships with their partners.
Some examples of B2B ecommerce are:
- Picky Bars, a company that sells energy bars, oatmeal, and granola to retailers in various countries through a B2B storefront .
- SwagUp, a company that sells branded products like t-shirts, mugs, and stickers to other businesses for their employees, customers, and events .
- Slack, a communication software that is used by many firms and companies to collaborate and communicate with their teams .
B2B ecommerce requires a different approach than B2C ecommerce, as the buyers and sellers have different needs, expectations, and behaviors. Some of the challenges and opportunities for B2B ecommerce are:
- Providing a seamless and user-friendly buying experience that can handle complex orders, pricing, discounts, shipping, and payment options.
- Offering personalized and relevant content, recommendations, and support to the buyers based on their industry, role, location, and preferences.
- Leveraging data and analytics to optimize the sales funnel, increase conversions, retention, and loyalty, and measure the return on investment (ROI) of the ecommerce activities.
- Integrating the ecommerce platform with other systems like ERP, CRM, inventory management, accounting, and marketing tools to ensure data accuracy and consistency across the business.
- Adapting to the changing trends and demands of the B2B market, such as omnichannel selling, mobile commerce, social commerce, artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR), and voice commerce.
B2B ecommerce is not a one-size-fits-all solution. It requires a deep understanding of the target market, the value proposition, the competitive landscape, and the best practices. By learning from successful B2B ecommerce examples and following the latest trends and innovations, businesses can create a B2B ecommerce strategy that can help them grow and thrive in the digital economy.
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