5 B2B Ecommerce Challenges and How To Solve Them

28 August 2023

Ecommerce has revolutionized the way B2B companies operate. You can now expand your reach, streamline sales processes, and manage inventory more efficiently.

No wonder 35% of companies rated B2B ecommerce as the most effective sales channel, and 65% of B2B companies offered ecommerce capabilities in 2022.

However, even with all of its benefits, B2B ecommerce has its fair share of challenges. Let’s cover five common B2B ecommerce challenges and how to solve them.

Here’s what you’ll learn:

B2B Challenges

  1. Complex Sales Cycle With Many Decision-Makers
  2. Data Security and Privacy Threats
  3. Complex System Integrations
  4. Trust and Credibility Building
  5. Inefficient Inventory and Logistics Management Systems
  6. Final Thoughts: 5 B2B Ecommerce Challenges and How You Can Solve Them

B2B Challenges

B2B clients have more complex needs than their B2C counterparts. And this poses five major challenges for B2B ecommerce sales teams.

1. Complex Sales Cycle With Many Decision-Makers

The B2B buying process is typically complex due to the involvement of many decision-makers and the need for in-depth product research.

Unlike the quick purchases B2C ecommerce customers make, B2B transactions often involve significant investments and careful evaluation, which can be time-consuming. In fact, a 2023 Databox report highlights that over 30% of B2B companies take between one and three months to close a deal.

According to a 2023 TrustRadius report, 27% of B2B buyers said that more decision-makers were involved in their purchasing process due to the current economic climate. And 14% of these purchases involved more C-level decision-makers, especially in enterprise-level organizations.

B2B customers spend time researching available options before purchasing a product or service. This long buying process poses a challenge for B2B ecommerce stores that want to make quick sales.

Solution: Provide Value and Personalized Customer Support During the Sales Process

B2B customers often rely on product demos as an information source when making purchase decisions. A study by Bain and Google shows that about 72% of B2B buyers choose ecommerce businesses that outperform their competitors in demos and trials.

Make it a goal to provide personalized customer experiences and comprehensive product presentations to decision-makers throughout the sales process. This way, you can offer value to B2B customers, boost sales, and build long-term relationships.

At k-ecommerce, we offer a rich product catalog that enables you to feature multiple product images. You can also add dynamic content like spec sheets and videos to your product pages. This enables you to showcase your products in style.

2. Data Security and Privacy Threats

Cybersecurity attacks are another major challenge B2B ecommerce companies face.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) received 2,385 ransomware complaints in 2022, with over $34.3 million in losses. Of these, 870 complaints were from companies in the critical infrastructure sectors, like government facilities and financial services.

The FBI report also shows that personal data breaches increased by 13.6% in 2022.

B2B transactions often involve large sums of money and sensitive information. This makes B2B companies prime targets of cyberattacks. So it’s crucial to implement solid measures to safeguard customer data, payment details, and proprietary business information from cyberattacks.

That said, implementing robust security measures can be challenging. You need to monitor and update your systems constantly to mitigate security risks.

Solution: Use Ecommerce Platforms That Provide a Secure Payment Gateway

Partner with reputable ecommerce platforms offering secure payment gateways that encrypt sensitive data during online transactions. This reduces the risk of data breaches and cyberattacks.

Ecommerce solutions protect customer data by implementing security measures such as:

  • Firewalls and intrusion detection systems to block unauthorized access to the platform’s network or servers.
  • Secure sockets layer (SSL) encryption to secure data transmission between your clients and your website.
  • Two-factor authentication (2FA) to add an extra layer of security beyond passwords to further protect your systems and customer data.

At k-ecommerce, we offer iron-clad security through our in-house security experts and PCI-certified private cloud infrastructure, ensuring you get the highest possible level of data protection.

3. Complex System Integrations

B2B companies often have complex processes and software for customer relationship management (CRM), inventory management, and order processing. As a result, integrating these systems with new ecommerce platforms can be challenging. It requires careful planning and technical expertise to ensure smooth operations.

Moreover, customization and scalability are crucial for B2B ecommerce businesses. Since each customer has unique preferences, you need a flexible ecommerce platform capable of accommodating these diverse needs.

In addition, the platform should be scalable enough to handle increased demands as your business grows and attracts more clients.

Unfortunately, most ecommerce platforms can’t effectively address the needs of a rapidly growing B2B business. They’re more suited to retail companies with B2C customers.

Solution: Choose the Right B2B Ecommerce Platform That Offers Customization and Scalability Functionalities

Invest in an ecommerce solution that offers specialized B2B functionalities such as:

  • Bulk order management and customer-specific pricing to enhance your company’s efficiency, customer relationships, and overall profitability.
  • Seamless integration with your existing ERP, CRM software, and order management system to ensure a smooth workflow.
  • Robust order tracking and reporting features to monitor large-scale transactions.

An ecommerce solution like k-ecommerce provides B2B-specific features such as ERP integration and embedded payment gateways to meet your company’s unique needs. We also scale with your business as it grows, accommodating increased demands without compromising performance.

Take Sauces Piquantes as an example. In 2015, the company launched its ecommerce store and shifted its focus from B2C to B2B sales. However, the brand encountered new business challenges that its existing solutions couldn’t address.

Sauces Piquantes shifted to k-ecommerce due to its native integration with Acomba, an invoicing and inventory software. As a result, the brand could seamlessly connect invoicing and inventory with its ecommerce platform without third-party plugins.

Our ecommerce solution provided the brand with:

  • Real-time updates on orders, prices, and invoices.
  • Bi-directional data integration.
  • Quick time to market for their B2B online store.

4. Trust and Credibility Building

Unlike B2C clients, B2B customers are more skeptical and cautious when making decisions since their purchases usually involve more significant investments. The McKinsey & Company Multiplier Effect report previously referenced found that about 70% of B2B decision-makers are prepared to spend up to $500,000 on one ecommerce transaction.

B2B customers tend to patronize reputable companies that can be relied on to handle such large orders and deliver high-quality products and services.

According to a 2023 Gartner survey, 36% of B2B buyers dropped or decided against a software vendor that provided confusing information, and 32% left vendors due to negative user reviews.

Solution: Leverage Customer Reviews and Provide Detailed Product Information

Strengthen your credibility by including positive reviews for your products. Strengthening your presence on review websites also helps to enhance credibility, making it easier for potential customers to trust you. A 2023 G2 Report found that 84% of buyers use online review websites to make purchase decisions.

In addition, provide reliable product information to show your customers how your offerings can improve their businesses. Enhance your product descriptions with high-quality images, video demos, and regular updates.

Besides providing detailed product information, here are other ways to build trust and attract positive reviews:

  • Deliver high-quality products and services that meet or exceed customer expectations.
  • Be upfront about your offerings, pricing, and terms. Don’t exaggerate or give false promises.
  • Display customer testimonials and case studies on your website to show credibility.
  • Understand customer needs and offer personalized solutions to build long-term relationships.
  • Provide helpful customer support to address any questions or concerns promptly.

With k-ecommerce, you can offer your B2B clients a more relevant B2C experience that builds customer loyalty and encourages word-of-mouth referrals.

5. Inefficient Inventory and Logistics Management Systems

Maintaining accurate inventory levels is one of the biggest challenges B2B ecommerce companies face.

Ecommerce stores often deal in a wide range of products, so monitoring stock levels in real-time can be challenging. Overstocking ties up capital and leads to unnecessary holding costs, while understocking can result in customer dissatisfaction, delayed orders, and lost sales.

The characteristics of B2B transactions (i.e., bulk orders, different product lines, and multiple delivery locations) make it challenging to maintain accurate inventory levels.

Logistics coordination also poses a unique challenge. With orders coming from various customers and going to different locations, timely and cost-effective delivery can be tricky.

Tracking shipments and handling returns further complicates the delivery process, as it requires more time, resources, and personnel.

Solution: Use an Omnichannel Strategy for Inventory Management

Omnichannel inventory management helps you track inventory accurately across all your sales channels. As a result, you can monitor stock levels efficiently to fulfill orders.

Inventory management functionality is one of the most important aspects of an ERP ecommerce platform. Accurate inventory data is key to efficient operations, and here’s where an ERP ecommerce integration proves useful.

Your ERP system can help you handle essential inventory tasks using data such as:

  • Current inventory availability.
  • Order histories.
  • Client details.
  • Inventory in transit.

ERP ecommerce integration enables you to share your ERP data about stock levels with your ecommerce platform. And likewise, you can automatically transfer data (e.g., new orders and product shipping details) from your ecommerce platform to your ERP system.

Sharing data seamlessly between major business systems helps you better understand what to sell and where.

As a best practice, your company’s inventory data should be easily accessible to all your business associates so they can make intelligent decisions.

Final Thoughts: 5 B2B Ecommerce Challenges and How You Can Solve Them

Navigating the world of B2B ecommerce has its challenges. But you can get ahead with a B2B ecommerce platform that offers advanced customization functionalities tailored to your business needs.

k-ecommerce provides a reliable solution to your B2B ecommerce challenges. We can help you build a platform that attracts the kind of B2B customers you need.

Contact us today to learn how to navigate challenges in B2B ecommerce and grow your business.