11 Best B2B E-Commerce Websites: The Spice and Secrets of Success
Best B2B online retailers have been experiencing a strong growth due to the brisk migration of manufacturers and wholesalers to online platforms. By all recent reports, analysts have forecasted that revenue, generated by global B2B ecommerce websites is expected to reach US$6.7 trillion in sales worldwide by 2020.
And with almost 50% of B2B buyers claiming they prefer work-related purchases on B2C websites, there’s no other option for business to business ecommerce but to adapt as fast as possible. To adapt and to start offering customers a significant online shopping experience.
Almost 9 out of 10 U.S. consumers say they would pay more to ensure a superior customer experience (HelpScout)
Well, doing so, is far from an easy task. Business to Business e-commerce is more complex than a Business to Customer model. Specifically in terms of fluctuating prices and high order volumes. Nevertheless, for those B2B online businesses getting it right, there are rich rewards in store.
Let’s dig a bit deeper and check out the key features a B2B ecommerce website should have to serve visitors and customers well. Our list of the best B2B e-commerce websites will help you see it implemented in practice.
How do we define the best B2B examples in E-Commerce?
When it comes to B2B e-commerce sites, it is all about design, features, and functionality. We recently unveiled 7 Crucial Features of Custom B2B Ecommerce Portal and are now ready to show how some of the B2B online retailers bring these features to life.
First, let’s make a list of typical must have features clear:
- Personalized functionality
- Customizable pricing and contracts / Personalized offers and promotions
- Self-service option for process flexibility
- Bulk, repeat and scheduled ordering for regular customers
- Multiple users option for user groups to give the entire purchases department access to their specific needs
- Interaction: customer engagement via social media or a website forum
- Integrations for seamless user experience
Among the B2B ecommerce best practices you will find:
- call to action buttons catching attention on every page of the site
- interaction buttons that help customers easily contact seller or product supplier
- user-friendly site search with autocomplete features, images, and listings of similar products
- easily reached tools, e.g. comparison features and filters
- simple navigation
- and product visualizations
But let’s take a more complex scenario. When time comes to expansion into a few more eshops and new B2B partnerships, it becomes time-consuming to manage multiple websites and integrate them with your partners. So, to provide personalized buying experience, you need a powerful ecommerce platform. Among the required features could be users and roles management, intelligent product storage, multiple orders and quotations, customized pricing and many more. Luckily, all of these and more you can manage through Gepard B2B platform.
Now let’s come back to examples and go through the list of top B2B eCommerce websites. Hope it will give you ample amounts of design inspiration for your business.
Best B2B eCommerce Websites: When you Can’t Stop Browsing due to great design
While there are loads of B2B eCommerce sites that focus on lead generation, it’s much harder to find striking B2B companies examples that get the right balance of both great functionality and design. But those that get it right are definitely adopting the fundamentals of great design: logical navigation, appealing layout, and user-friendly search.
Danish Water Technology
Danish Water Technology is a water pipeline infrastructure solution for households and facilities. This B2B website has become an indicator of Denmark’s ambition to find and develop better, cheaper and more efficient ways to handle water technologies.
Basically, it’s an interactive map of the city block, that piecemeal explains how water circulation works. The Future Water City (Danish Water Technology) B2B website presents brand-new water technologies via interactive design elements. Needless to mention that browsing and navigation experience on this website is anything but old-fashioned.
In a game-like manner, customers explore websites sections. Each of them is then explained by their own dedicated landing page. An outstanding design that can keep you glued to the website for ages.
ACME is a major tare and packaging provider for shippers and logistics operators. Every color, image, and piece of content on their B2B ecommerce website should evoke an emotional response from shoppers, and it does.
Yellow animations turn into text headlines and then settle beautifully on a dark gray background. New sections are neatly brought up from the bottom to take their respective places.
This B2B website is designed in such a way that users can clearly see it’s aimed at three target audiences: shippers, retailers, and corporate logistics officers. On the second screen, you’ll see several blocks, each representing the particular kind of service. Thus, each user is guided to the section of the site, which they are most interested in.
Quality product photos and unique, stunning layout showcase their products and services effectively. To make a long story short, this is one of the most prominent examples of how to design a good B2B ecommerce website.
Firerock provides classic, timeless building materials for custom homes, and makes great use of photography to showcase its products. This Business to Business e-commerce website is very light and simple. It seamlessly mixes business with pleasure: the newest trends in home architecture, and the educational blog on how to optimize and improve building modern houses.
FireRock’s Pinterest Profile
FireRock’s Pinterest profile showcases their own products and draws attention to interior projects that include pieces designed by their brand. Those include fireplaces, wooden flooring, and paving, porches, patios, bathroom spaces, and sunrooms.
Despite the fact that envelopes might not be the most exciting product in the world, this B2B ecommerce website does a great job of making them pretty cool. The Blake Envelopes B2B website is considered one of the most innovative and accurate B2B ecommerce examples. Blake Envelopes, suggested by the Graham Charlton in his article “Which B2B ecommerce sites are getting it right? Here's 15 of the best...” is indeed an amazing mix of functionality and design aesthetics.
The Blake is a very clean and neatly designed ecommerce website that features great functionality, intuitive design and amazing benefits represented by education and corporate responsibility programs.
Blake Envelopes Search Results
A vast product range, presented in a logical way, featured filtered navigation and a customer-friendly site search. The well thought-out design allows searching the products by color, range, and style, as well as pack sizes, types, opaques, etc. Pretty nice to be offered a dozen options to choose from, right?
Aiia is a B2B wholesale eCommerce website that offers branded promotional gadgets for corporations. The main idea of this eCommerce website, is to illustrate that promotional gadgets can be creative and not cheap-looking.
Considering the fact that each and every customer is looking for an emotionally authentic experience online, Aiia is one of the best B2B examples in Ecommerce to show how this works. The brand has set its mood with a unique style. Brightly colored backgrounds and nicely rendered images, certainly add to that impression.
When you click on the particular product, a full-screen, background promo clip is triggered. This is how you see the gadget in action. This creates that emotional connection between a customer and a company. Providing this experience digitally is a very important part of the success of the online B2B retailer.
Kekselias is a financial services company, which specializes in investment research, interest rates markets and monetary policy analysis.
With a rather simple and minimalistic landing page design, it’s well thought-out in terms of navigation. Images and elements highlight on mouseover. We’ve included in into our list of the best B2B ecomemrce websites because of its user engagement aspect.
The company creates additional value for its website through the Articles section. Its blog-like approach turns this B2B eCommerce website into a source of content and citation. Users can easily find helpful materials on trends in assets and investment.
As you can see, the company describes their B2B ecommerce services in 3 simple screens on their website. The landing is complemented with the left-side menu, which showcases the number of Kekselias’ news and articles. Nonetheless, the side menu is static, though contains underlined links and categories. This shows users the clickability of the headlines.
Best B2B eCommerce Websites: When Functionality Strikes
The main aim of the online B2B commerce website is to make it easy for customers to work with a seller. The easier it is, the more they will love working with it. It’s time to check out some of the innovative best companies in B2B E-commerce in terms of functionality.
While finding the top examples of B2B online retailers, we paid a lot of attention to functional and intuitive aspects of the B2B websites. Making a B2B Ecommerce website intuitive is not an easy task, but a perceptual approach is something you can experience straightaway after entering the site.
Inspired by the fresh article “15 Amazing B2B Examples of Interactive Content” by Dan Trefethen, we can’t but mention this B2B commerce example. Blackbaud is a company supplies services and software designed for nonprofit organizations. It also offers educational opportunities, such as the Blackbaud University training program.
In addition to a bunch of static case studies and infographics, the website contains a nonprofit training page Realize Real Results. It offers great interactive content that includes 2 calculators, a survey, and a quiz.
For its “Realize Real Results” campaign, Blackbaud wanted to show its target audience, non-profit organizations, the benefits similar organizations have seen leveraging Blackbaud University, which offers training programs to customers. Source
Having a vivid collection of customer success stories, Blackbaud website offers its online shoppers to “try on” other companies’ successes. This is how customers can see how they would apply to their own organization. As a result, this program brought in more than 800 qualified leads for sales in the past seven months, which is 141% of quota attainment.
The campaign was considered to be one of three winners of DemandGen’s Killer Content Award for the Interactive Content category.
Chinese-based Alibaba is one of the best B2B examples in e-commerce. To start with, over 18 million buyers and sellers from around 240 countries are using this platform for businesses. The e-commerce company was launched in 1999, and now owns the world's biggest global eCommerce website. It is currently considered as the largest global e-commerce platform for small businesses, all across the world.
Alibaba showcases a huge array of goods in more than 40 industries, ranging from raw materials to finished products. The main concept of Alibaba Group is to connect B2B businesses (sellers and buyers), instead of selling products and services directly.
We can’t help but mention the fact that it’s free to join, as most of the profit is made through commissions and ads. Being a “free of charge” seller, you can’t showcase more than 50 items, meanwhile, Golden membership offers you to have a mini-website where you can display any amount of products/services. The full range of B2B eCommerce best practices are in full play at Alibaba, and its success is amazing.
The main goal of a good online B2B eCommerce website is to make it easy for customers to work with a seller. Ease of ordering is the key at Grainger - a leading provider of industrial supplies.
What features make it easier for business buyers?
- a guest checkout option, no logging in required
- clear product availability
- easy and succinct ordering
- the extended search filtering options
- all pages contain estimated product arrival times on the product page
- a well thought-out mobile app
The mobile application allows users to upload images and have a chat with agents, as well as to scan a barcode to promptly re-order the same product. Which is irreplaceable in terms of order accuracy. It makes the purchasing process easy and convenient, reducing the time for re-orders of the same product.
The components are intuitively tied together; the ease of navigation, a quick access to categories and the product list. The search is clear and really grabs the attention. As one of the best B2B eCommerce retailers, Grainger does have some outstanding advantages over the majority of its competition. In addition, a rich customer interface enhances user experience.
“Facilities management equipment supplier Grainger has invested heavily in their eCommerce platform. Grainger’s website traffic is gigantic, and their online product range has recently crossed the one million items mark.” - Mark Boyd, the B2B online marketing expert
To have some better insight and see how Grainger has implemented the B2B eCommerce best practices, we strongly advise you to check out this research article. It contains analytics on branding and PR, keyword strategy, product range, leverage social and peer behavior, and other useful tips.
Owned by Staples, Quill is the greatest office supplier, whose website was specifically designed for B2B eCommerce. The company’s website is outstanding for its simple, user-friendly interface and a rich selection of educational and office supplies.
One of the main advantages of using this B2B website is in regularly occurring reward offers like customer-benefit coupons, special deals, etc. The benefits also include a balanced marketing package with logo design, search engine optimization, and social coupon services.
70% of web activity is spent on the process of finding information.” Source
“Quill recognizes this statistic for their own site, and it is apparent that they have invested into their entire search and navigation experience. Search and Navigation is tied together, not silos. You can search then navigate, or navigate, then search for the purpose of getting their customers to exactly the right product or content.” - claims the B2B eCommerce report by Justin King. To download click here.
Businesses of all sizes value Quill for the rich selection of its general office and cleaning supplies, electronics, and furniture items. Their B2B website offers a decent customer service, which is available in case of the need for help. Nevertheless, there is a great thing to do before shopping: subscribe and receive e-mails with exclusive deals, offers, and discounts.
What’s good about the Quill is that it is continuously perfecting the business customer's shopping experience. Comprehensive categorization, guided navigations, and filterable search results make the shopping journey much easier and less time-consuming.
MasseyFerguson is one of the best B2B ecommerce website examples that creatively uses navigation. It features an intuitive web design which presents every feature in a clear and neat fashion. There are several homepage menus that draw customers attention towards the offered solutions. You can also see the second navigation bar that showcases the specific items the company has.
Despite the fact that MasseyFerguson B2B ecommerce website features a standard horizontal navigation bar, you can also choose several other options to find the content you are looking for. The well thought-out categories and products presentation and dealer locator provide better user experience. In the meantime, the product pages remain crisp and clear, which saves time dramatically.
Just check out this drop-down menu:
Color and branding play a crucial role in forming a unique identity for the website. This B2B website employs all of the best eCommerce practices we mentioned earlier in the article.
If you want to learn more about the importance of design in B2B eCommerce website building, check out this 30+ Inspirational ECommerce Website Designs article.
Though it’s very complicated to define the best B2B websites in the world, we’d like to drop a takeaway list of the 7 best ecommerce website reviews below.
…as we’ve been inspired by them as well!
- The 2017 Blades Awards
- Look as Good as You Sell: 5 Best eCommerce Website Designs 2017 by Stuart Gonsal
- 12 inspiring ecommerce website designs By Tom May
- The Northern E-Commerce Awards 2016: The Winners by David Prior
- 13 Responsive B2B Website Examples By Paul Marshall
- 30+ Inspirational ECommerce Website Designs By Steven Snell
- 20 of the Very Best E-Commerce Web Sites 2017 By Awwwards Team
- 8 Great B2B ECommerce Sites by Matt Osborn
- 8 Innovative B2B Ecommerce Sites by Lori McDonald