How You Can Sell to Other Businesses Online: B2B E-Commerce Examples
B2B stands for business to business. B2B, in e-commerce, is a model that focuses on offering and providing products or services from one business to another. Many e-commerce businesses, in the niche of B2B, are service providers, providing services online from and between businesses. But it doesn’t just stop there. Other successful examples of B2B include software companies, document hosting companies, and product companies such as furniture and supply companies, amongst many more.
To help you decide if B2B is right for your e-commerce business, and to give you more of an idea of what it’s about, we’ll outline some of the benefits of using B2B and then delve into some B2B e-commerce examples.
Why sell to other businesses online through B2B?
- B2B e-commerce can help make your e-commerce business more streamlined, efficient and transparent. It can help to streamline your interactions with customers by making the ordering process reliable and efficient. This is especially important in the modern e-commerce climate, where consumers are used to high-quality customer care, and quick rewards.
- B2B can also increase your reach as a business. Having your e-commerce business on B2B portals can increase the reach of your products, meaning they can be viewed and accessed by more customers, and your brand will spread: thus increasing trust in your brand identity.
- B2B can also bring you better management of both your suppliers and customers. Consumers have a custom-made portal, showing their browsing history, all personal details, shipping, and the tracking data as well as a wish or shopping list. This increases transparency for your clients and makes conversions more likely.
- And higher conversions means you guessed it, more sales. This is not only because consumers are more likely to purchase products if the process is transparent. One of the main benefits of B2B is also that you can implement the up-sell and cross-sell program of recommendation on B2B. This option allows you to provide suggestions to consumers in-site, suggesting related products, or perhaps other products with more relevant features, ultimately leading to higher profit margins.
- B2B e-commerce can also help with your analytics. It’s the perfect platform to launch your analytics campaign, on: sales effectiveness, inventory turns, client sales effectiveness, client engagement, marketing campaigns, and product mix. This is a great benefit for people who are just starting out their e-commerce business.
B2B e-commerce examples:
Let’s start with one of the most successful examples of B2B e-commerce. As we mentioned previously, B2B doesn’t just involve the provision of products form businesses to businesses. It can also include software companies, and document hosting companies, amongst many more examples.
Boeing has one of the most successful and comprehensive examples of B2B. In 2000, Boeing successfully created and implemented a secure business-to-business portal named MyBoeingFleet.com. According to the Boeing website, it offers airline maintenance, repair, and overhaul shops; and aviation regulators worldwide access to online resources, such as engineering drawings, maintenance documents, information on spare parts, and flight operations data.
One of the benefits for My Boeing Fleet for operators is that their technical publication departments can move from paper-based documents to this online, digital environment, where Boeing has made it easy for them to simplify storage, maintenance, and their distribution processes. Another benefit for users of the platform is that they know they are always getting up to date information, as My Boeing Fleet is updated regularly. Lastly, operators can use My Boeing Fleet to quickly and easily find the documents they need or find or locate resources that they weren’t previously aware of.
The success of My Boeing Fleet has been huge. In 2004, they set an aviation industry record when they exceeded 10 million hits from more than 17,000 users worldwide. In their first three years, portal usage tripled annually. This just proves how useful successful B2B can be, and how much value it can add for e-commerce sites and other members of the industry.
Wayfair is an example of a successful e-commerce business, that has over 8 million products from 10,000 various suppliers. They launched a B2B portal called Wayfair Supply Premier Program. The Wayfair Supply Premier Program offers some exclusive benefits and discounts for e-commerce businesses, to incentivize them to use the portal.
When announcing the initiative, Melissa Yanagi, the director of marketing for Wayfair Supply, stated the following: “Beyond our core customer base of consumers looking to furnish and decorate their homes, Wayfair also addresses the specific furnishings needs of businesses and institutions via our WayfairSupply.com destination”.
The Wayfair Supply Premier Program was designed to serve businesses of multiple sizes, from all sorts of sectors, including hospitality, property management, healthcare, and education. These businesses are incentivized by some of the exclusive offers and discounts are given to members of the portal. Members are offered exclusive pricing (volume discounts as well as 3% back on each purchase), as well as a personal account manager, and fast and free shipping.
Wayfair, therefore, can be seen as a great example of the principles of a B2B e-commerce site. Their incentives for membership are strong enough that they can tempt businesses from multiple sectors to use and buy on their platforms. This then opens up the marketplace to a more diverse consumer base, and with the incentives for members, and the fact they’re more likely to be exposed to services and products they were previously unaware about, selling on a B2B site like Wayfair is bound to increase your conversion rate.
One of the benefits of having, or using, a B2B portal is that it can make you stand out from your competitors. This is the main benefit of BulkBookStore. Although Amazon is the main portal where consumers go to purchase books, it’s really not so easy to bulk buy books there. And this is where BulkBookStore comes in to plug the gap in the market. This is especially useful for businesses or organizations looking to purchase 300, or 2000 books!
BulkBookStore is a preference for consumers, due to their streamlined consumer experience. This is made through a faster search engine than Amazon, and a QuickQuote option. There are also consumer-centered shopping sections, which can make the shopping experience even more convenient and streamlined for consumers.
Another benefit of B2B is that the consumer experience can be modeled off, and fined tuned to, consumer feedback. This is exemplified with BulkBookStore: they added to their store a selection of high-quality customized journals, based on customer requests for use at business meetings and corporate events.
If you’re a B2B business owner, and you’re looking for a B2B e-commerce portal, then Kin Axes might be a great option for you. Many B2B business owners find one of the most challenging areas of their business to be managing inventory and organizing supply chains. As your business grows and expands, sometimes these parts of your business can feel a little overwhelming.
As we have previously noted, B2B portals aren’t just for businesses to use to sell and exchange products between each other. They also provide services, such as software, online from and between businesses. KinAxes is a B2B site that can transform the way that B2B business owners run their supply chains through cloud-based supply chain planning solutions.
KinAxis unique solutions can be a lifeline for businesses with poorly managed supply chains. Their cloud-based solutions allow customers to cut costs, reduce risk and make business decisions much faster.
Kickstarter is a crowd-funded operation that helps artists make their dreams a reality. They offer resources and support to creators such as artists, entrepreneurs, filmmakers, and designers. Tens of thousands of creative projects have found their feet with Kickstarter so far, especially if they have a well-managed social media campaign too.
We’ve chosen to use Kickstarter as an example because they have a uniquely intimate and community-oriented approach towards B2B. They have an astonishing reach, and an excellent marketing campaign, that allows the creativeness stories to speak for themselves. With these stories, they reach out to encourage people and businesses to fund, donate and start a project. They also offer and share resources and support amongst the projects, artists, and businesses.
Kickstarter is a personable, community-oriented B2B platform, that - if used with an effective and personable social media campaign, can be hugely successful in launching startups and creative projects. It also helps to start and grow brand identity, and trust in brand identity, as it builds a sense of community, and allows consumers to feel that they really have a stake in the business.
So there we have it: 5 very different B2B e-commerce examples. Some B2B e-commerce examples are huge, like Boeing, linking businesses and aviation regulators worldwide with over 17,000 users. And some B2B e-commerce examples are smaller, providing for just the bulk-selling of one product, for example, like books with BulkBookStore.
Whatever sector, or product area, your e-commerce site fits in, B2B could be just the way for you to expand your business. It’s a fantastic way to share information, software, and support between businesses. And it’s a great way to reach more consumers and increase your conversion rate.