With These Tips, You Can Create the Perfect B2B Shop

Carolin Puls 12/9/2021

Online shopping is booming - not only for private customers, but also for business customers.

Table of contents
  1. What is a B2B shop?
  2. What are the differences between B2C shops and B2B shops?
  3. What types of B2B shops are there?
  4. What are the advantages of dedicated B2B shops?
  5. These functions are must-haves for your B2B shops
  6. These B2B shops should you take a look at
  7. These B2B shop softwares generate revenue for you
  8. Your B2B shop can be as individual as your products

They are indispensable in the shopping landscape: The talk is about online shops. As private individuals, you have probably already purchased this or that in such a shop. But e-commerce is booming not only in the B2C sector. It is also playing an increasingly important role in the B2B sector. According to the federal association E-Commerce, the sales for this area in 2020 were 46.3 million euros. This shows how much potential there is also for business customers in online trading and in B2B e-commerce.

For this reason, you will find out in this article what a B2B shopis, what the differences are between B2C and B2B online shops, which types of B2B webshops there are and which functions your B2B online shop should offer. You will also find out what advantages a dedicated B2B shop has and then you will get an insight into the best B2B online shop systems.


What is a B2B shop?

In a B2B shop not private individuals, but companies make a purchase. In business-to-business business (B2B business), not only the respective gross price, but also the corresponding net price is displayed. Since your commercial customersreceive the VAT refunded when purchasing your products (unless they use the small business regulation), they must also provide their VAT identification number when registering.

That's why the VAT ID online is like a membership card at stationary wholesalers. If you don't have one, you can't shop in your webshop. There are no restrictions on certain types of products when you start up your B2B shop – anything that your customers demand can also be sold online.

What are the differences between B2C shops and B2B shops?

You already know that the two shop types differ by the type of customers they serve. But there are also other differences in the structuring, pricing and design of your product portfolio from your shop.

  • Product assortment: Most B2B shops differentiate in the display of their products between commercial and private customers. Corporate customers are usually shown other products that private customers cannot buy. The company Bosch, for example, offers green cordless drills for private individuals and blue products for professional tradesmen. These can also differ in their functions. Other differences in the range design can be the different number, such as bulk packs, or early access to new products. Both are likely if your customers do not use your products themselves, but sell them on.
  • Price design: You must offer your commercial customers attractive prices so that resale is worthwhile for them, as they too want to make a margin when selling your products to end customers. You have various options in this regard. Either you store customer-specific prices and discounts in your system, define quantity discounts or offer them different delivery conditions.
  • Functionalities: Many B2B shops offer different functions regarding minimum order quantities, payment methods and order forms. Easy reordering is also often made possible. You can read more about the functions your B2B online shop should have in a later section.
  • Legal guidelines: If you sell your products to end customers, consumer protection guidelines and corresponding withdrawal periods apply to them. These regulations do not apply to your B2B business. Therefore, you do not have to report them in your B2B shop.

Which guidelines, functionalities, products and prices you can use for your B2B online shop depends on the type of your B2B shop.

What types of B2B shops are there?

You can distinguish different types of B2B online shops. This depends on the products you sell and whether your customers only come from the B2B sector or also from the B2C sector. Roughly, you can differentiate three different types of business-to-business shops, which you will learn more about in the following:

  1. Mixed B2B and B2C Shop
  2. Pure B2B Online Shop
  3. Wholesale Sales Channel

1. Mixed B2B and B2C Shop:

If you choose this variant, you can sell in your online shop both to private individuals and to commercial customers. However, there are different requirement profiles for your webshop for both target groups. This must be able to combine the B2B shop system you have chosen in technology and design. This is already apparent in the pricing, as B2B customers usually receive different conditions from you than is the case with end customers. In addition, the B2B shop software must be able to display gross prices, including VAT, to your private buyers and net prices to your commercial customers at the same time. You will probably offer different products for sale to commercial customers than to end consumers. Your shop system like Salesforce Commerce Cloud must protect these products from the end consumers.

B2B customers should first verify themselves as suchand only then can they view the products and prices assigned to them. Then you can also offer them the additional payment option of purchasing on account. Since account purchasing is associated with high costs and an increased risk of payment default, most retailers now avoid offering this payment method to private buyers. Instead, they use direct debit or payment via PayPal. In the B2B sector, however, you have the option of minimizing your payment default risk by granting a discount. This means that if your customers pay within a period you specify, a percentage of the payment amount will be deducted.

2. Pure B2B Online Shop:

If you opt for a pure B2B online shop you can ignore the requirements of private customers. However, you will probably offer different conditions to different customers. You can do this, for example, based on the number of orders or the segmentation into A, B or C customers. It can be useful to make the articles of your B2B shop or at least their prices visible only after logging in.

Through this step, the buyers have already verified that they are entitled to view and acquire your items. If you run the B2B webshop separately but parallel to your B2C online shop, this can mean increased effort for your inventory management, design and administration as well as double costs.

3. Wholesale Sales Channel:

There is also the option of offering your customers a wholesale channel for ordering your products. With this version, you can store individual prices and discounts, minimum order quantities and quantity discounts. At first glance, this is no different from a pure B2B online shop.

However, the difference shows in the order processing. The orders are not yet fully completed when your customers have sent them. They end up as order drafts with your admin. This allows them to be edited afterwards, make a further offer to the commercial customers if they, for example, receive an addition or other discounts with an increased order quantity, or provide them with the invoice which they then pay in the last step of the check-out with the selected payment method.


Recommended E-Commerce-Platforms & Shopsystems

On our comparison platform OMR Reviews you can find more recommended e-commerce platforms & store systems. We present over 230 solutions that are specifically tailored to the needs of small and medium-sized companies, start-ups and large corporations. Our platform offers comprehensive support in all areas of online commerce, from product presentation to customer management. Take the opportunity to compare different e-commerce solutions, taking into account real user reviews, to find the perfect system for your individual business needs:

What are the advantages of dedicated B2B shops?

It can have various advantages if you run a pure B2B online shop. So you can completely focus on your commercial customers and, if necessary, shield them from private users. Another advantage is that you don't need any additional shop apps to create different themes or display different gross and net prices.

In addition, you can indicate the recommended retail price (RRP) of your products. This will be of interest to your B2B customers, as it results in the potential margin for the retailer. Since dealers usually order not just one or two items, but directly larger quantities, it makes sense to automatically offer them larger purchase quantities.

For this purpose, you can offer them an order form or display the last ordered items to them, which they can then put in the shopping cart with a single click. For your commercial customers, online shopping also offers the advantage that the order is fast and uncomplicated and they do not have to coordinate fixed delivery intervals and order quantities with you.

If you choose this option for your B2B shop, you can completely focus on the commercial customer regulations in the checkout process, i.e. shipping and payment methods as well as legal texts such as the T&Cs, for example.

These functions are must-haves for your B2B shops

You have decided on the type of online shop. Now it's about providing the required functions, so that your B2B customers also like to shop with you. How do you find out the necessary properties you need to implement? Here again, the well-known sales and marketing saying applies: „Know your customer“.

You need to know who your buyers are and what is important to them. If this is not the case from hour zero – talk to them and ask for feedback and suggestions. What would make them even more eager to shop with you and what would set you apart from the competition?

Apart from that, there are some must-haves that your B2B shop system must be able to map. For the sake of clarity, we divide these into the points: User management, product presentation, price presentation, ordering functions, customer portal and Headless Commerce.

1. User management:

You should give your customers the opportunity to adjust as many settings as possible around their order themselves. This allows them to take into account individual regulations that apply to their company and saves you the effort of manual adjustments. The following functions in user management are must-haves for your dealers:

  • Creation of several users for a company
  • Maintenance of a deviating delivery address
  • Change of invoice address
  • Setting of different order limits per user
  • Storage of the personal contact person in your company

2. Product presentation:

For your B2B customers, other information is relevant when purchasing products than your B2C customers. Therefore, you should consider the following functions for your B2B online shop system:

  • Creation of customer-specific (possibly even exclusive) ranges
  • Display and processing of various packaging and size units (pallet, boxes, running meter)
  • User-specific display of information in the form of downloads
  • Professional product search
  • Quick display of the searched products with picture, article name and article number
  • Error-tolerant search or a „Did you mean“ solution
  • Offer of various search suggestions
  • Display of „You might also be interested in this“
  • Weighting of the search results based on the last orders
  • Maintenance of synonyms in the article names
  • Interface to your PIM system
  • Appealing and value-added product description
  • Setting of product videos and product photos
  • Representation of product ratings and reviews
  • Simple navigation through the webshop

3. Price presentation:

As individual as your customers are, so individual they are likely to claim their prices.

  • Display of the individually agreed item price
  • Presentation of the customer-specific price in price gradations
  • Granting additional discounts

4. Ordering functions:

Placing an order costs your commercial customers time. As this is only available to a limited extent and nobody likes to grumble about cumbersome processes, you should make this ordering process as simple and fast as possible:

  • Setting up a quick order function
  • Easy search via the article number
  • Direct handover to the shopping cart
  • Saving a shopping cart for recurring orders
  • Interface to inventory control systems of your customers
  • Offer a way to request quotes from you
  • Export of the shopping cart as an Excel or PDF document
  • Provision of common payment options

5. Customer portal:

An online portal gives your commercial customers the opportunity to view past orders and download invoices again if they are needed again. Due to the automatic provision of data eliminates extra steps for you:

  • Display of all past orders
  • Display of delivery notes
  • Consignment tracking
  • View all invoices and credits
  • Display and processing of returns in the online shop
  • Possibility of downloading documents
  • Display of preview images
  • Interface to your CRM system

6. Headless-Commerce:

It is no longer enough if your B2B shop looks modern and is intuitive to use. When selecting your B2B shop software, you should also consider the development of Industry 4.0. In the future, fewer and fewer orders will be processed via the desktop application. Instead, your commercial customers will be able to use order apps, smartphone scanners or voice orders. Software that meets these requirements has a headless commerce, which is also called screenless orders.

Headless Technology

In headless technology, the frontend is detached from the backend and can be played out on different platforms.

The name comes from the fact that technically the frontend is separated from the backend, giving your customers more agility and flexibility. Thanks to the separation, you must insert an interface that continues to regulate the exchange of data. But despite this, you can still develop the two services separately from each other. So you can always offer your buyers the best customer experience.


An API acts as an interface between the front and backend. This way, your content can also be viewed on other channels.

These B2B shops should you take a look at

The implementation of the requirements for your online shop can look different. We have put together some B2B shops for you to get inspiration from. Try out the different functions and collect pros and cons on a list. Based on this, you can decide what you want to implement for your B2B customers and what you want to do differently.

1. WOCKEN industrial partner (Wholesale company)

2. Leybold (Specialty retailer for vacuum pumps)

3. Medux (Provider of WiFi devices)

4. Keller (Wholesaler for construction, industry & shipping)

5. Kippie (Order service for food)

6. Zijlstra (Furnishing dealer)

7. Smartwares (Accessory and spare part portal)

No matter how different all these online shops may be, they all have one thing in common: They put their customers and their needs in the forefront. You should also consider this when setting up your B2B shop.

These B2B shop softwares generate revenue for you

The implementation of these functions and the implementation of your requirements is not rocket science – with the right B2B-Shop system. The best five tools we have compiled for you in the following section. On OMR Reviews you will also find an overview of many other B2B online shop providers.

1. Spryker:

The B2B e-shop software Spryker offers you over 800 API-based modules and gives your company the highest flexibility in online business. In addition to customer-specific catalogs and prices, there are no restrictions for uploads to your virtual catalogs. Spryker enables you to automate and optimize your order workflow and offers many possibilities for setting individual order sizes. The price for the B2B shop tool is available on request.

2. Shopify:

With the cloud-based omnichannel shop system Shopify, you do not need your own IT infrastructure. On the comprehensive online dashboard, you can read detailed information about the performance of your web shop and improve your products and your online marketing based on it. By using Shopify, you get the shipping and tax rates of all major shipping service providers, which you can reliably and competitively pass on to your customers.

The B2B shop system integrates more than 100 external payment gateways and processes any type of discount code, whether it's a percentage, fixed cash amount or discounted shipping. The costs for Shopify start at 29 USD per month in the basic version and cost 299 USD per month for the advanced version.

3. Shopware:

The e-shop provider Shopware, pursues the „API-first“ approach, thereby offering you high flexibility and a reliable technological basis. It works as a Headless Technology and can be linked with your CRM, ERP and PIM tools and automate your processes. Shopware offers you a high-performance search function, various language packages and price regulations for international shipping. You can request the price on the company website.

4. Commercetools:

Commercetools promises to provide your B2B customers with a new type of commerce experience through headless technology, API-first and flexible microservices. With this B2B shop software, you can optimize your catalog and thus the findability and presentation of your products. You can also use the possibilities for personalization, recommendation, cross or up-selling to push your sales. The costs for commercetools are available on request.

5. OXID:

The B2B web shop software OXID offers you a variety of interfaces for integrating the systems you use and are relevant for the sale. You can store individual conditions and sell internationally. Your customers can make collective orders and create individual shopping lists to find products faster next time. Also OXID offers them the ordering on schedule. The price is available individually on request.

Your B2B shop can be as individual as your products

At first glance, the B2B sale online seems to be more complicated than the B2C sale. However, with the right shop system, fulfilling customer requirements becomes child's play. In no time at all, you can create a B2B online shop, that is just as individual and appealing as your products. Online you are always available, from which your sales will benefit. Take advantage of this growth opportunity and show your customers that you understand what they need. This applies to both the features of your products and the features that make shopping easier for your customers. Because they are just people and will appreciate a well set up and smoothly functioning B2B shop.

Carolin Puls
Carolin Puls

Carolin ist freie Redakteurin bei OMR und mit ganzem Herzen Autorin. Als Brand Managerin war sie bereits bei verschiedenen Unternehmen aus der FMCG-Branche für das Marketing zuständig. Währenddessen hat Carolin berufsbegleitend Ihr Studium zur Marketing-Betriebswirtin abgeschlossen.

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