Home Virto Commerce blog A Definitive Guide to B2B eCommerce for Manufacturers in 2024

A Definitive Guide to B2B eCommerce for Manufacturers in 2024

Dec 1, 2023 • 7 min

While distributors and dealers are usually well-known to the end customers, and manufacturers stay hidden, they represent the biggest part of the sales market and bear the biggest responsibility for its functioning. This is why their work must be unprecedently good, processes must be transparent, and products must have the highest quality.

In the world of digital technologies, where the volumes constantly grow and businesses have to control more and more processes to succeed, building a manufacturer B2B ecommerce platform is the best way for manufacturers to keep their positions in the market and grow their strength.

The core goal of this blog post is to provide in-depth, data-driven facts and basic precautions for running an advanced business acting as a manufacturer

Changing Dynamics in B2B Manufacturing

The progressive growth of the B2B manufacturing ecommerce was interrupted by the 2020 pandemic: this was when businesses had to change their familiar communication processes with distributors and wholesalers and turn to modern digital technologies. As the global B2B ecommerce market is expected to grow by 2031, more than simple separate programs to manage manufacturers' operations are required.

To navigate the current sales world, manufacturers must embrace all the modern software capabilities in one place. A B2B ecommerce platform for suppliers is the software that can do this. Let's see how the industry changes and the two main reasons why manufacturers must select the wholesome B2B manufacturing platform as soon as possible. 

The growing risk of disruption

First of all, manufacturers have to embrace disruption. Those adopting the latest innovations first always win: this happens as the company adopts trends quickly and has a chance to develop in accordance with the needs of its customers. To build a robust manufacturing digital transformation roadmap, businesses must own a B2B ecommerce platform for suppliers that supports the latest innovations without significant process interruption. 

Satisfying customer expectations

The related challenge modern manufacturers face is the need to keep the pulse of customer expectations and adopt the technologies and functions users need right now, from their own business customers, like distributors, to the end consumer buying their product from a retailer.

Understanding your customers is the key to the perfect customer experience, and the only way to get info about the millions of buyers is analytics. The idea is that your platform must be able to collect, analyze, and deliver data to enable business owners to make data-based decisions.

We listed the needs and challenges of the manufacturers here; now, let's move to the benefits they can get from adopting a modern, innovation-ready B2B platform. 

Benefits of Manufacturers Embracing Ecommerce

Advanced marketing automation systems and platforms for process management promote business efficiency and customer services in general. So, how does an eCommerce platform help B2B manufacturer? 

Customer analytics

Client analytics give many development opportunities, increase product or service potentials to break through market holds over time, and more. The platform with analytics capabilities that can transparently collect data about all processes and customers can help you get more insides and propel initiatives and innovations that will help you outmatch potential competitors and avoid basic trade barriers. 


Online selling offers scalability to maneuver obstacles during demand peaks and provides a rising strategy when demands go down the reel. However, only some platforms can handle the needs of huge enterprises at peak periods. To ensure you've chosen the right platform, check if it is cloud-native (born to develop in the cloud) — this is a good point that will help you find the easily scalable ecommerce solutions for manufacturers ready to grow suddenly and significantly without extra effort. 

Increased efficiency

Most B2B manufacturers need profound strategies to cut down production costs and bring about positive commendable increments in ROI. Manufacturer B2B ecommerce platforms help organize sales management effectively with less stress and provide reduced workforces, thereby offering solutions to the needs mentioned above. Automation, AI, and other sections of such platforms enable customer service fulfillment to get faster, and time procurements on activities will be.

Readiness to integrate with whatever you want

While many beginners start with purchasing one and ready ecommerce platform, most businesses are not ready to refuse their existing software. This is why the platform's capability to integrate via APIs is essential.

Most modern platforms, like Virto B2B ecommerce platform, are integration-ready and use APIs to collect and share data with other sources. A good platform can embrace all of your existing tools without replatforming. You can integrate new solutions as well — all you need is to ensure the solution you choose also supports API connections. 

The Impact of eCommerce on Manufacturers

Overall, 39% of manufacturers report revenue growth as a benefit of ecommerce. This means that the manufacturers' market will continue growing while gaining more and more digital capabilities.

eCommerce for manufacturers reflects a shift from pure transactions to experience-driven commerce that bases its decisions on data and can achieve even better results in B2B sales. eCommerce improves the accuracy of orders, provides 24/7 access to order history and account management, makes digital processes more efficient, and more. This is a reason to get a new B2B ecommerce platform as soon as possible. 

Implementing eCommerce for Manufacturing

Once you realize why your manufacturing business needs a robust B2B ecommerce platform, it’s time to think about how you are going to implement it. So here are the steps to go: 

1. Define your audience and their needs

B2B brands deal with fewer customers than B2C and can offer profoundly precise requirements. The required information on who your ideal customers are, the place where they stay, and how you can best serve them needs to remain in the planning of your e-store.

Start with fundamental internet-based statistical surveying: 

  • Research the intensity of the online competition.
  • Dissect the shopping experience they offer their customers.
  • Decide the needed sales/marketing channels for your image.
  • Dissect the standard deals cycles in your industry.
  • Recognize the critical stages in the client lifecycle.
  • Map the critical stages in the business cycle.
  • Layout the primary trouble spots your target customers encounter at each stage.
  • Conceptualize ways for easing these through advanced methods.

Then, at that point, get to the virtual planning phase and begin planning how clients will navigate through your site. It's great to have a UX/UI creator now. It's best to imagine how a potential buyer will move from the landing page to the shopping page — and figure out what could assist them with advancing quicker.

2. Define your business and compare it to competitors

Set clear objectives of what you want and what is planned for the future. Decompose your needs and goals and consider the current business stage. At this point, it is good to conduct an analysis of the market and have a strategic session with the Tops of your business to discuss why you are different, which strategies you can borrow from your competitors, and which ones will not be useful. 

3. Define resources and choose the platform

Define the company's current capabilities and readiness of the budget: here, keep your eye on the general TCO of the platform instead of just implementation. Choose the platform that will be ready to innovate and support all your future needs, even if the implementation cost seems high, instead of choosing the cheap system that will require constant considerable investments in the future.

In case you are not sure what to choose, it is always a good idea to engage with some third-party agent experiences in this topic. They will question the vendors shortlisted about their platform capabilities and help you to make the right choice. 

Choosing the Right B2B eCommerce Manufacturing Platform

B2B manufacturers always seek new solutions to increase their customer base and sales and wonder how to choose an ecommerce platform. To stay ahead of the curve, B2B ecommerce for manufacturers must provide their manufacturing industry customers with the latest technology and trends.

With various B2B online business manufacturing ecommerce platforms like Virto Commerce, one of the best ecommerce platforms for manufacturers. You can ignite the advancement cycle without any preparation. Also, there are designed center trade highlights, visual design apparatuses, integrations, and plug-ins to develop your internet-based store. Let's compare Virto Commerce with the most popular solutions in the market: Magento, Shopify Plus, and Salesforce Commerce Cloud. 

Virto Commerce

The platform's technological excellence has elevated Virto Commerce to the leading position in ecommerce platforms for manufacturer ecommerce portals and manufacturer B2B online marketplaces in today’s software market. Featuring nearly every hot new trend you read about, Virto Commerce is built on top-notch technology proving that it is the best ecommerce platform for manufacturers.

Infinite adaptability is the future of ecommerce software. Accordingly, the Virto Commerce platform is headless, composable, and built to last a long time from initial implementation in manufacturing companies. All this explicitly leads to the readiness for innovation, which means that the company will be able to adopt any new trend or feature once needed.

Easy real-time integration with ERPs, CRMs, CMSs, PIMs, loyalty systems, and other back-office and third-party applications allows you to create a multifunctional ecommerce software ecosystem to support your online sales. The Virto platform integration capabilities maximize your opportunities as a manufacturer in content marketing, SEO, and promotions for your online store and marketplace.

Virto Commerce is the best when it comes to managing large volumes of SKUs and providing clear product catalogs with unlimited products due to its scalability. The system is ready to grow at any moment due to cloud-native readiness. 

Additionally, Virto Commerce’s professional service team is always online to help you learn more about how to take your B2B ecommerce manufacturing business online, whether for a branded online store, a B2B marketplace build, or both. 

Shopify Plus

A popular ecommerce platform, Shopify Plus offers capabilities mostly for small businesses.

It is mainly tailored to manufacturers looking for an affordable platform to support their business as it grows. As for the enterprise level, the platform cannot handle large quantities of data and wouldn't be a good choice for big companies. 

Salesforce Commerce Cloud

Salesforce offers a headless SaaS commerce solution. While positioning itself as an enterprise-grade platform, the solution lacks scalability and depends highly on the developer. 


Small and medium-sized businesses use Magento. While highly customizable, the solution has limited scalability and is a bit complex for often innovations. 

Integrating eCommerce With Existing Manufacturing Systems

This is a challenging task that usually requires some specific strategic approach. The key is to find a solution that can connect to the software seamlessly. Here are some best practices on how to reach this goal:

  • API integration is a bridge allowing different software systems to communicate and exchange data efficiently. For example, Virto Commerce can connect to manufacturers' ERP, CRM, and inventory management) directly.
  • Adaptability and readiness to innovation. Ensure that the platform to be connected to your manufacturing systems can support any changes and upgrades and seamlessly create a connection.  
  • Choose cloud-native platforms. They offer scalability, flexibility, and will enable your business to scale seamlessly once needed.  

Once you shortlist your future vendors, request if they are ready to confirm that their platform is capable of quick integrations: having all the above capabilities, the platform is undoubtedly ready to go. 

Factors for Creating a Successful eCommerce Store for Manufacturers

Surely, choosing the right platform is not always enough. So, let’s consider the two most important factors affecting success of manufacturers’ ecommerce — user experience and security. 

User experience (UX) importance for manufacturers

The internet talks a lot about B2B ecommerce platform customization. However, simple customization like switching colors and texts offered by most SaaS solutions is insufficient. The platform users want to adopt the platform to all their needs. They need more than intuitive navigation and a well-organized menu.

Your platform must be able to quickly adopt the features that will cover complex user needs without engaging with IT experts. Good examples are the need to build a separate check-out screen, personalized menus and prices, the capability to create customers' own workflows, role-based access, and so on. Today's customers want more, and you must ensure their user experience is always higher than your competitors offer. 

Security and compliance in B2B manufacturing ecommerce platform

First, maintaining the safety of your customer's data is the main thing to consider. It affects CX, loyalty, and more. Another reason to consider the factor of safety is legal requirements. This means that your B2B ecommerce platform for manufacturers must comply with every need of users and every requirement of the law at the same time. 

Case Study: Manufacturers Excelling in eCommerce — A Journey to eCommerce Success

Virto has an excellent example of how a huge manufacturer could enhance its business by adopting the B2B ecommerce platform for its distributors. We talk about Heineken.

The business based its distributor's communication on Virto Commerce: from trading with several simple huge distributors, Heineken moved to new markets where they could collaborate with more small distributors having completely different approaches and visions.

Today, new Heineken markets can launch Virto Commerce and trade online at 35% of the cost of the initial implementations. Moreover, each market's Virto Commerce solution can be localized and re-branded separately, increasing the efficiency of personalization and localization that bring profit. 

Innovative approaches to ecommerce in manufacturing

Just like many other manufacturers, Heineken used the most innovative approaches when building their B2B ecommerce for distributors:

  • They have trusted modern B2B ecommerce solution vendors to build separate B2B portals for manufacturers’ customers and localize each channel. 
  • They tried a modular approach and created different connection points while retaining the central management.
  • They risked changing their sales model to try to disrupt the market. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Cost considerations for implementing ecommerce in manufacturing

The important thing while choosing the best ecommerce platform for manufacturers to remember is that the cost of implementation might seem big, but always consider what's included and what you will pay after: sometimes, the cost of innovation is much higher, and it is worth paying for a challenging implementation to avoid huge future spending. 

Adapting ecommerce strategies to different manufacturing sectors

Adapting ecommerce strategies to different industries is challenging. Though, if you are choosing the B2B platform that can create separate modules, adapt to whatever you want to implement and allows for creation of new features, it starts working. See the examples below.

For example, for automotive Manufacturing, more precise personalization is needed. So, try offering a platform where customers can customize their working environments. Add new connections with third-party services — link your ecommerce system with service networks for maintenance and repairs. For a better customer experience, implement 3D visualization tools right on the platform (you can just develop them) or connect to third-party ones.

For textile manufacturing, a completely different example, use virtual showrooms to display textiles and how they look on finished products. You can personalize the system by enabling customers to create or upload custom designs. Build separate channels for B2C and B2B, or dive deeper — build a personalized portal for each of them.


The bigger you grow, the more help you will need with managing all processes and sales communication. This is why most of the big companies build B2B ecommerce platforms for their distributors. To ensure your distributors use the best B2B ecommerce platforms, follow the tips outlined in the article, or just contact our team to learn more about how Virto can enhance your relationships with distributors.   

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