Home Virto Commerce blog Tackling 2024's B2B eCommerce Challenges: Key Expert Insights Uncovered

Tackling 2024's B2B eCommerce Challenges: Key Expert Insights Uncovered

Dec 21, 2023 • 5 min
By now, most businesses have realized the advantages of selling online and have made the switch to digital. The global B2B ecommerce market size is expected to reach $18,771.4 billion by 2027. That's a lot of money! With that much money on the line and an evolving need for implementing the best B2B ecommerce platform, businesses can't afford to make mistakes. Business owners, however, continue to face challenges that teach them tough lessons about agility, resilience, and the pitfalls of digitalization. Let’s see how Virto B2B digital experts offer to overcome these challenges and run a greater business. 

Understanding B2B eCommerce Challenges

Challenges in B2B ecommerce model and typical B2B challenges

Customer-first approach trendiness 

More and more B2B ecommerce companies start caring more about their customers’ real needs and challenges. The trend for a customer-centered approach requires more effort in analyzing your Target Audience and existing customers, bringing them more value and support. 

Businesses tackle this challenge by getting involved in marketing and choosing the platforms that can provide full access to deep analytics. The second option is actually essential since automation is the key today, especially when it comes to working with many customers and loads of orders. 

Another important point is making the customer experience better. A modern-day B2B buyer is a sufficiently tech-savvy person with increasing expectations driven by personal shopping experiences. Thanks to customer-focused digital marketplaces like Amazon and eBay, B2B customers expect the same level of service on every B2B site, including fast-loading pages, an easy checkout process, intuitive navigation, highly personalized messaging, and recommendations. The principal challenge, then, is to deliver those experiences while supporting complex business workflows such as contract pricing or custom catalogs.  Today, businesses have come to the need to provide a B2C experience to their B2B customers. To do this, you have to cater to innovation and more platform flexibility. 

Finding the right market 

Another challenge that businesses face is finding the right market for their products and services. The best way to narrow down your options is by conducting market analysis and competitor research. This will help you identify your target audience and figure out what needs they have that your product can fulfill. 

The solution to this is constant analysis and deep investigations. By automating this part and analyzing their competitors, customer needs, market trends, and so on, businesses can reach higher goals faster than their competitors. 

A strong competitor analysis typically addresses the following issues: 

  • Range of offered products/services 
  • Competitor’s price points 
  • Competitor marketing strategies 
  • Promotions, discounts, benefits, and loyalty programs most often employed by competitors. 

By continuously monitoring your competition, you can quickly adapt to any market changes and stay one step ahead.

Read about Wholesale eCommerce Challenges

Choosing the right technology 

Another critical challenge for businesses is choosing the right technology. With so many options available, it can be hard to know which one is best for your company. You need to consider your budget, your team's skills, and your long-term goals. 

The choice of a B2B ecommerce platform is crucial for several reasons: 

  • You want your software to be able to integrate with both internal and third-party systems to create and maintain a consistent customer experience across the board. 
  • You want your platform to scale as your business grows and adapt to new market realities as they change. 
  • You want your ecommerce solution to be built specifically for the B2B market, though offering a B2C-like experience to your B2B users to make them happier. 

When choosing the right B2B ecommerce platform for your business, consider readiness for innovation and the ability to integrate with other platforms. These features will enable your solution to provide you with the best result in a fast-changing world.

Read about FMCG eCommerce Challenges

Data and security measures 

Data and cybersecurity are two other common challenges of B2B ecommerce businesses face. With so much data being collected and stored online, it's important to guarantee its security.  

To ensure you have the right cybersecurity procedures in place, assign a dedicated team of professionals to develop cybersecurity policies, enforce them in your organization, and train your staff to observe the designated measures.  

Other steps to safeguard your ecommerce company include: 

  • Implementing a safe data storage plan. 
  • Updating your software regularly. 
  • Encrypting your website. 
  • Confirming you have a strong password policy in place.

It's also important to be aware of the latest cybersecurity threats. One way to stay up to date on the latest malware is by subscribing to security newsletters and following cybersecurity experts on social media. 

Finally, put a plan in place in case of a data breach. This includes having a backup of all your data and implementing security measures to prevent future breaches. 

Meeting complex demands of the B2B buying process 

One particularly complex workflow is the B2B buying process. The typical B2B purchasing workflow includes a wide range of people from junior employees conducting preliminary research to financial representatives approving the final deal and many intermediaries in between. All those stakeholders require different kinds of information to do their jobs. This is where robust back-office management comes in and empowers your customers to do their best work.  

A longer buying process, multiple decision-makers, customer-specific terms, bulk orders, and requests for quotations are just a few examples of the inherent complexities of B2B ecommerce. Supporting these multi-tiered workflows becomes easier with the right technology solution, as mentioned previously. 

While pricing is a crucial component of success for any business, it’s also a major challenge. If you don't charge enough for your products, you won't make a profit. On the other hand, if you charge too much, you'll lose customers. So, it’s important to find a balance. When determining product pricing and shipping costs, think about the following factors, which will ultimately affect your final prices and your bottom line: 

  • Product manufacturing costs 
  • Product-specific pricing (such as a request for custom processing) 
  • Inventory storage costs 
  • Number of returns on average 
  • Customer-specific pricing (bulk or regular order discounts) 
  • Loyalty schemes 

Sustaining long-term growth 

Instead of devising an unsustainable competitive strategy based on price, it might be better to think of your business as a strategic partner of other companies you happen to deal with. Rather than putting immediate financial gains at the heart of your operations, change your primary metric of success to how well you are helping your clients achieve their goals and how well you’re growing together. By letting your customers know that “we’re in this together,” you have a better chance of deepening their loyalty and ensuring the relationship will be long-term. 

Learn More About Types of B2B eCommerce Model

Disadvantages of B2B eCommerce

All these B2B challenges are deeply related to the tough sides of B2B ecommerce. Navigating these drawbacks and difficulties and knowing about them in advance can help us to beat the discussed ecommerce business challenges faster. Let’s see what we mean here: 

1. Security сoncerns. 

B2B works with large volumes of sensitive data, such as corporate and personal financial information. The risk of data breaches, hacking, and fraud requires businesses to invest heavily in platforms that can provide greater security. Ensuring with your vendor that the platform is safe is a great step forward. 

2. Need for complex integrations. 

Businesses usually already have their own CRM, ERP, and supply chain management tools before purchasing a bigger selling platform. Achieving seamless integration is essential, so before purchasing the B2B ecommerce platform, you have to ensure it is API-first and ready to connect to all your necessary apps. 

3. Robust customer support needs. 

B2B buyers typically require a high level of customer service. Besides offering great support, the business has to care about overall customer experience and always be the first to find out new B2B ecommerce trends and needs of their customers and platform users. 

4. Complexity of pricing and orders. 

B2B transactions involve complex pricing structures. Managing these complexities online requires B2B ecommerce platforms ready for any changes and capable of creating and supporting any feature B2B buyer needs. 

5. Longer sales cycles. 

B2B sales cycles are generally longer than B2C, with multiple stakeholders involved. This means, modern B2B businesses have to find new ways to personalize the whole process to make all participants happy. 

6. Over-reliance on technology. 

Heavy reliance on ecommerce platforms means any downtime or technical glitches can have significant impacts on sales. The new platforms must be able to maintain high uptime and quickly resolve issues: the further we go, the greater performance we need. 

B2B ecommerce challenges business faces

The downsides of B2B ecommerce to battle

Navigating B2B eCommerce Challenges

Resolving all these challenges and problems might require a big effort. However, when you know exactly where to move, you can save resources and energy to make it all faster. Here, we have prepared some expert B2B ecommerce business tips on how to beat the challenges we have discussed: 

1. Tackling the CX challenge. 

The first tip is always personalization. In the modern world, businesses sometimes forget that behind the B2B customer, there are people, and each stakeholder is interested in working conveniently and quickly. This is why it is essential to provide an as-easy-as-in-B2C experience, offering all the needed B2B ecommerce features. Personalize prices, interface, and everything: the more you do, the higher CX and loyalty you will get. 

Obviously, you will need the right software for this. Choose the B2B ecommerce platforms that can change immediately after the need arises: modular solutions like Virto Commerce will enable you to easily customize every part of your solution once needed. 

2. About the market analysis. 

To focus on your niche and provide an essential market analysis, you have to track new trends and changes constantly. Ensure you have a marketing team that can do it quickly and efficiently and enough software to collect all the data needed automatically. 

3. Choosing the right technology.

Many people in either B2B or B2C and B2B2C models strive to find the solution that will “provide everything and at once” and purchase the old platforms that have a big name and offer many features out-of-the-box. However, the reality is that these old and famous platforms like SAP or oracle are not flexible enough. Once you need any new feature or have to tackle some challenging point, you have to wait for months and pay a lot of money to the vendor to get it, while your competitors just do it every day. 

The solution is choosing a modular, easily integrating, and scalable solution like Virto Commerce. This kind of new solution enables you to modulate your B2B ecommerce platform the way you need in a few days, with low effort and even without asking the vendor (Virto is an open-source solution). And nothing will crash. 

4. Caring about data and security.

The simple and standard advice: implement encryption, ensure your platform provides necessary safety protocols, and your processes comply with the local privacy rules. 

What have we missed? Some platforms provide a very basic level of security, and you have to put a lot of effort into ensuring that all works as needed. However, modern platforms like Virto are simple and transparent: you will spend less money on safety while data will be more secure.  

This also includes role-based capabilities and more. Ensure your new platform can close some specific sensitive data from particular employees based on their roles; this will save you hours and days of setting it all manually in more rigid systems. 

5. Working on B2B market demands.

Just as B2B customers require more B2C-like convenience, they also need robust B2B features. Ensure that your platform offers efficient order management features, a flexible cart, personalized pricing, and more. In case OOTB does not provide the needed (and the possible future) features, ensure that the platform can offer them later by building separate modules for each feature or even separate new subplatforms like procurement marketplace solution

6. Aiming to long-term growth.

To grow in the long term, you have to care a lot about continuous improvement, both in terms of the CX, operations, and features offered. The demands of the market quickly grow, and you have to keep up with them.  

To compete efficiently and timely, you have to have the platform ready to innovate and adapt to changes. These capabilities will enable you to adapt all your features quickly to the needs of the market before your competitors start working on them. This is the way to disrupt the market.

Exploring the Missing Elements

It looks like B2B ecommerce is a perfect place to develop, though it is challenging. Let's see what's missing in B2B ecommerce today and how we can compensate for the missing elements by choosing the right B2B solution. 

1. Personalization and customization of the UI. 

The interface and overall features in many B2B solutions still look challenging. In our strive for a B2C-like experience, we often try to change this, but most of the solutions are still too rigid. This is why open-source solutions like Virto can help here: while your SAP-based competitors are struggling to change the color of a button, you can easily create a whole new module with a B2C-like interface but a B2B essential feature. 

2. API integration. 

Many solutions, like CRMs, ERP systems, and so on, are still not able to integrate as they do not have their own API modules. However, it all depends on the B2B ecommerce platform. While these solutions cannot initiate integration, they still can accept it. So, if your B2B ecommerce platform is API-first, you can integrate any solutions directly into it, integrating them with each other with the help of the platform. 

3. Real-time analytics and reporting.

Unfortunately, most of the data collected is still not available for analysis: it takes hours, days and months to work on the raw data sometimes. This is why it is essential to choose the platforms that produce enough performance to ensure that your analytics work efficiently. 

Read How to Choose eCommerce Platform

The Future: Potential Benefits and Challenges of B2B eCommerce

B2B ecommerce keeps evolving, and soon we will encounter more B2B problems and solutions, while getting greater opportunities. The ones who will accept the benefits and beat the challenges will disrupt the market. So, let’s see what we should get ready for: 

H3: Potential benefits of B2B ecommerce.

First, globalization continues. And as it develops, we should be able to make our businesses cross-cultural, multiregional, and so on. As globalization brings more capabilities to grow, we need to be ready for it and choose the software that makes international sales possible. 

Another good side expected from B2B ecommerce is the ability to grow due to the growing number of customers and orders: more and more people move online, and the market keeps growing. This means we should prepare for quick scaling and operating larger volumes compared to now. 

Challenges of B2B eCommerce on the horizon.

With greater capabilities, here comes greater responsibility. The competition grows, and businesses must prepare to find new ways of overrunning their customers. Everything becomes faster, and the B2B ecommerce platforms should be able to do it fast: create new features, customize, and so on.  

Growing security threats is another future challenge. As everything moves online, businesses should care more about the simplicity and transparency of their processes that will make them easier to track. Of course, if you start thinking about security now and consider role-based access and encryption ideas, you'll be more protected in the future. 


All in all, B2B ecommerce is not easy to do. However, it brings huge benefits; this is why more and more businesses are moving to digital B2B commerce. If you plan everything correctly and timely and choose the right software to use, you can do everything.  

The Virto Commerce team always looks forward and bases all its capabilities on long-term development. This is why the solution is tailored to tackle not only existing challenges but future ones as well. It is the perfect solution for B2B marketplaces, customer platforms, and more. 

In case you want to learn what Virto Commerce can offer to your business, visit our B2B ecommerce blog, see our use cases or reach out to our team to ask Virto Experts about the challenges you have. 

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