Why does every B2B-company need a digital sales channel?


eCommerce took off in early 2000. Amazon, Alibaba, and eBay made buying online a smooth experience and made consumers familiar with buying goods online. These eCommerce giants trailblazed the way for the next generation of digital commerce. Companies such as WooCommerce and Shopify made it possible for B2C companies to sell online. The eCommerce market grew and took over traditional stores by storm. 

B2B Commerce has been a late bloomer, as it usually is with most cases of new technology adaptation. This is because… 

a) individuals adopt new technologies faster than hierarchies do: consumers adopt new models and behavior patterns faster than companies do.

b) B2C eCommerce technology is pretty straightforward, while B2B Commerce requires more advanced use cases. It doesn’t take that much to sell simple products such as clothing (only few variables such as color/size). However, B2B commerce is different: customer-specific prices & offering, approval workflows, more complex channels, payment models, etc

c) Consumerization of B2B took its time, but the pandemic changed it for good. Companies are waking up to the “new normal”, where you must provide your customers a self-serve channel. It’s not nice-to-have, but must-to-have.

The B2B eCommerce market is forecasted to grow to 25 trillion dollars by 2028 (other sources citing 18,7% CAGR). This means that a large part of the world’s B2B sales will become digital.

Shift happens

By now, it’s clear that B2B commerce / digital sales will be the next big thing.

This is largely due to two factors: 

1) B2B Buyers expect self-service and will do buying online, regardless you like it or not. A recent Gartner study surveyed the preferences of B2B-Buyers. Almost one-third of Baby boomers (29%) and more than half of Millenials (54%) prefer a sales rep-free buying experience. Frost & Sullivan found out in their survey that 81% of enterprise customers demand self-service.

Gartner study also states B2B companies predict “that 59% of their annual B2B purchases will be through websites and other online channels by the end of 2023”.

2) B2B Commerce technology has taken significant leaps over the last few years. Now, the new tools that have entered the market are much more suitable for the needs of a B2B company than ever before. What’s more important, there are finally tools out there that are specifically made for small and medium-sized businesses.

The Headless Commerce movement enables companies to create the kind of buying experience they want to deliver to their customers. No longer are companies limited by poor-fitting, consumer-side technology that lacks the support for the desired sales model.

While enterprise-grade (and cost…) platforms have been able to support some of these use cases, the problem has been the accessibility. For SMB it has been nearly impossible to start selling online, without betting too heavily on a single project.

A digital sales channel is the differentiating factor

As B2B-companies in highly competed industries seek to discover differentiating strategies, they most often come across digital commerce. One could say Digital Commerce is an even bigger game-changer for B2B-companies than it was for B2C. 

Business buyers are already used to buying everything online (after all, that’s what consumerization of B2B means), so the companies that can provide buyers with the ease of eCommerce and self-service will have the upper hand.

Operational effectiveness

A too little-discussed fact is that whenever you’re opening a digital sales channel, you are essentially making your company’s most important process (sales) more scalable. That, by itself, means that you’re able to compete better.

When you transform your existing, laborious, and error-prone order-taking (whether it is by phone or email) to a modern digital sales channel, you not only reduce the number of human workforce required in the process but also enable better scaling of the same process.

This serves as a better growth lever for your growth strategy than solely relying on humans to do the job. Besides, order-taking is far from what human sales reps should be doing. It’s a time to admit that technology does this better, while humans should be used where their unique strengths are better: sell to new companies, persuade people, face their objections that include fear, uncertainty, or doubt. When you let your salespeople truly focus on what they do best, you’ll grow better. 

A Better buying experience

Repeat purchases, upsell/cross-sell and renewals are simple buying tasks, that often just take up time without giving too much value to the buyer. Thus making this all a better experience for your customer might just be the thing that tips the scale in your favor.

A better buying experience is not just about being able to go up until transaction in the website (not saying that isn’t a good), but creating a better buying experience is all about providing your customers the information they need to do a better buying decision.


Selling online doesn’t have to be hard. Join the waiting list for HeadQ—the easy-to-use platform tailored to how you sell—and start reducing complexity in your B2B buying process.