Top 9 B2B eCommerce Trends to Watch in 2024

Lalit Singla
Lalit Singla
Listen to this Guide

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

The B2B eCommerce world is constantly breaking new ground, using cutting-edge technology that allows companies to improve and optimize the customer experience—from product discovery to fulfillment.

Many of the latest B2B eCommerce trends are made possible through digital transformation, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and full-scale integration between eCommerce websites and other software used in resource management, warehouse tracking, and supply chain management.

We’ll explore all these trends and more, along with omnichannel customer communication and the growing influence of third-party B2B marketplaces on the industry.

Key Takeaways

  • Digital transformation is essential to compete in B2B eCommerce, making full use of cloud-based solutions, headless commerce, composable architecture, and AI
  • Optimizing the customer experience includes offering faster fulfillment, a variety of payment options, omnichannel support, and better product search and descriptions
  • Third-party marketplaces are playing a bigger role than ever in B2B eCommerce

Looking to improve your eCommerce website? Check Out Our eCommerce Services to see what Net Solutions can do for you.

B2B eCommerce Trends in Previous Years

B2B eCommerce is a mature, sophisticated industry, but that doesn’t mean the latest changes have been slow and incremental. We’ve seen great advances in the past year alone, and the trends we highlighted in previous years are still relevant today.

Let’s recap some trends we spotted in 2023, which continue to play a role:

  • Social Commerce really took hold last year. With 30% of all U.S. residents active on social media (and 50% active in China), it shows no signs of slowing.
  • Digital supply chain management became a hot topic during the pandemic and beyond when supply chain failures impacted major economies across North America and Europe. Over the past four years, eCommerce companies have begun using technology to manage their supply chains, and AI is enhancing these efforts.
  • Personalization was all the rage five years ago, and today’s AI technology has produced all sorts of advances that continue to expand.
  • Sustainability has captured the public interest, from green transportation to eco-friendly packaging, and each passing year has seen greater concern from business buyers and private consumers about environmentally friendly practices. In fact, 66% of consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable brands according to a recent study.

Each of these trends remains relevant today, and you’ll see that many are connected to the current trends we highlight in this post. For example, Artificial Intelligence (which we will talk about) is playing a major role in sustainability, marketing segmentation, and fulfillment.

As technological advances compound, opportunities increase exponentially. Let’s see what’s in store for cutting-edge B2B companies in 2024 and beyond.

What Are the B2B Trends for eCommerce in 2024?

Let’s explore the most relevant emerging trends in the B2B market today, which are made possible through app modernization and state-of-the-art B2B eCommerce platforms. If you’re looking for ways to improve your customer experience and boost revenue, this list is a great place to start.

1. Legacy Systems Upgrade

2. Headless Commerce

3. Optimizing Composable Commerce

4. A Wider Array of Choices in B2B Payments

5. Generative AI in Automation and Decision-Making

6. Audience Segmentation and Personalization

7. Personalized Omnichannel Experiences

8. Product Discovery and Information

9. Third-Party B2B Marketplace Expansion

1. Legacy Systems Upgrade

Upgrading legacy systems isn’t about having shiny new technology for the sake of having something new—it plays a vital role in a B2B company’s ability to compete and provide a strong customer experience.

Modernizing your eCommerce platform and upgrading your technology stack can help you:

  • Improve scalability thanks to the flexibility of cloud computing and headless commerce (see below)
  • Enhance security to protect B2B customer data and spot threats before they become an issue
  • Improve performance for end users, who will enjoy fasting page loads, smoother navigation, and an overall superior experience
  • Set up a fully integrated digital commerce ecosystem that interfaces with your CRM and ERP software, along with warehouse management software, to improve fulfillment

If you’re working with outdated legacy systems, digital transformation should become part of your eCommerce strategy, allowing you to compete successfully with other B2B sellers.

2. Headless Commerce

A headless commerce architecture offers tremendous flexibility by decoupling (i.e., separating) the front-end layer of an eCommerce platform from its backend. Legacy systems with a monolithic architecture are far less flexible, scalable, and customizable since the front end and the backend are inextricably bound.

Headless commerce offers the following benefits:

  • Tremendous freedom to test and change elements of the User Interface (UI) design and User Experience (UX) rapidly, allowing you to optimize the buying experience based on user behavior
  • Greater personalization opportunities to deliver the customer experience each B2B buyer craves
  • Expediting time-to-market for website updates and changes since developers can work separately on the different elements of a given feature

As a core facet of digital transformation, headless commerce can also help future-proof your B2B eCommerce solution, supporting the scalability and flexibility we mentioned in the previous section.

3. Optimizing Composable Commerce

Composable architecture relies on microservices and APIs to work within a cloud platform that is flexible, customizable, and highly scalable. If that sounds a bit like headless commerce, that’s no coincidence—headless commerce is a key element of composable commerce, along with apps that are API-first and cloud-native.

The benefits of optimizing your B2B eCommerce site through composable commerce include:

  • Greater freedom to create tailored solutions that better serve customers and help your business run smoothly
  • Modular growth that makes scaling easier, faster, and less disruptive
  • Cost savings over the long haul, thanks to reduced development and maintenance costs
  • Greater integration with other business systems

Additionally, a monolithic architecture lacks the flexibility to take advantage of many of the B2B eCommerce trends we cover in this blog post since composable architecture forms the foundation of modern, cutting-edge business systems.

4. A Wider Array of Choices in B2B Payments

B2B sales requires a variety of payment methods, unlike B2C eCommerce, which typically sticks with credit cards, bank transfers, and online payment systems like PayPal. Successful B2B businesses frequently offer the flexibility to pay through purchase orders, wire transfers, buy-now-pay-later, and other options.

Leading B2B eCommerce platforms also make it possible to offer customized pricing, bulk orders, and other options that simply aren’t necessary for B2C websites.

5. Generative AI in Automation and Decision-making

Machine learning and generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) are playing a greater role in B2B eCommerce with each passing year, and they can help B2B companies in a number of ways.

Here are a few ways AI is transforming B2B eCommerce sales.

  • Marketing insights: B2B eCommerce platforms collect a large volume of customer data, and AI can sort through that data at an astounding speed, pointing data analysts toward insights about buying trends, customer behavior, pricing optimization, and more
  • AI Chatbots: Chatbots help customers find the information they need using a self-service approach, which is far more efficient than if they were forced to sort through a knowledge base or buyer’s guide
  • Personalization: Through product recommendations and special offers, AI can help personalize the customer experience
  • Fraud detection: AI can spot suspicious activity to prevent cyber criminals from stealing your data or hijacking your system

This just scratches the surface of what AI does today, and we can only imagine what’s ahead in the coming years.

6. Even Faster Order Fulfillment

One essential way to differentiate yourself as a B2B eCommerce company is through expedited fulfillment. As businesses continue to streamline their fulfillment processes, the stakes get higher year after year.

Here are a few ways that B2B companies are achieving faster fulfillment with the help of technology.

Demand forecasting: AI and manual number crunching are helping companies predict demand for their products throughout the year. This lets them reduce gaps in the supply chain, improve procurement, and achieve faster delivery.

Advanced inventory management: Using IoT technology and seamless communication with eCommerce platforms, B2B sellers can get real-time updates regarding all the products in their warehouses.

Route optimization for delivery: Many B2B eCommerce companies seek out delivery partners that use AI-powered route optimization software to expedite the last-mile of delivery, making it more cost effective. Faster deliveries also use less fuel, and optimized routes often use electric vehicles, which are far more sustainable.

If you’re not improving your order fulfillment, you’re likely to fall behind because your competitors are most certainly doing so.

7. Personalized Omnichannel Experiences

A recent McKinsey report found that B2B companies rated as offering the best omnichannel experience are consistently increasing their market share by 10% annually.

In other words, if you’re looking to improve market share, you want to reach your clients wherever and however they prefer to communicate. Today’s B2B buyers (who are largely Millennials and Gen-Xers) often prefer digital channels over phone calls, so if you’re ignoring digital communication, you’re probably losing business opportunities.

Online sales channels may include social media chat, communication through mobile devices (often via custom mobile apps), self-service portals from the website, messenger services like WhatsApp, and more.

If you want to provide a personalized experience that wins more conversions, determine the channels your customers want to use to communicate, place orders, and get help. Then make sure to use technology that interfaces with your internal platform and makes it easy for your support and sales teams to respond quickly.

8. Product Discovery and Information

Both established and new customers want to find products quickly and review their specs thoroughly without jumping through extra hoops. If you can make search highly effective and provide them with the product information they need, you’re far more likely to win conversions and keep them coming back.

Today’s top B2B eCommerce platforms interface seamlessly with Product Information Management (PIM) software. These platforms allow companies to easily manage and update product data and send vital information across all major communication channels.

The best PIM platforms also interface with Enterprise Resources Planning (ERP) software as well as warehousing management software. This allows the website to display accurate, real-time information about each product’s availability.

9. Third-Party B2B Marketplace Expansion

Third-party marketplaces, like Amazon Business and Alibaba, are important sales channels for many B2B companies. Companies that want to reach new customers and improve market share should explore working with some of these marketplaces if it aligns with their strategy.

Beyond Amazon and Alibaba, there are a number of additional B2B marketplaces that have grown in popularity over the years, including:

  • Global Sources (Hong Kong, China)
  • ThomasNet (U.S.)
  • IndiaMart (India)
  • Made-in-China (China)
  • EC21 (South Korea)
  • TradeKey (Saudi Arabia)
  • DHgate (China)
  • EuroPages (France)

While these are some major third-party marketplaces, you may be able to find niche third-party marketplaces for the products you sell.

What is the future of B2B eCommerce?

B2B eCommerce will continue to grow in the coming years, as Grand View Research predicts a 19.7% Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) through 2030. Contributing factors include increased demand from B2B buyers who prefer to shop and order through digital channels, along with technology that improves the customer experience and shifts buying patterns.

Many of the trends we’ll see in the future will double down on existing technology, which is poised to grow exponentially. For example, we’re likely to see advances in AI that support an even more strategic use of marketing analytics, personalization, and supply chain optimization.

Companies will also work to improve the customer experience at every touchpoint, from checkout to reordering. Those who fail to optimize the customer journey are likely to fall behind.

Of course, none of this means that eCommerce will replace human sales efforts, from live phone conversations to in-person sales calls. The human touch has always played a role in B2B sales. Advances in eCommerce technology will increase opportunities for those companies willing to embrace them.

Looking to optimize your B2B eCommerce website?

Succeeding in B2B eCommerce requires a strategy that is carefully crafted to address your buyer’s needs and stand out in a competitive landscape—dedicating your resources toward technology upgrades that minimize risk and maximize return.

Net Solutions has been creating award-winning software for B2B companies for nearly 25 years, and we’ve designed and developed world-class B2B eCommerce platforms for companies like Euro Car Parts and Bonds of London.

Simply put, we’re anything but mindless order takers. We’re strategic partners who can help you with any aspect of your strategy, from eCommerce website design and development to strategy and maintenance.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1.How big is the B2B eCommerce market?

According to Grand View Research, the global B2B eCommerce market size was worth $18.6 billion in 2023, which is astounding, considering that the market was worth $6.8 billion in 2021. Figures aren’t yet in for 2024, but market growth shows no signs of slowing.

With such powerful opportunities, B2B businesses are pulling out all the stops when it comes to attracting customers and optimizing their journey at every step.

2. Is B2B eCommerce Growing?

Yes! As mentioned earlier, the B2B eCommerce market is expected to see a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 19.7% through 2030, according to the Grand View Research study cited above.

This makes sense because the younger generations (Millennials and eventually Gen-Zs) are making up a larger and larger percentage of B2B buyers. Millennials have been using the internet most of their lives, and Gen-Zers are digital natives who have never known a world without eCommerce.

Lalit Singla
Written by

Lalit Singla

Lalit Singla is a distinguished Technical Architect renowned for his exceptional programming skills and logical prowess in solving complex technical and programming challenges. With an innate ability to dissect problems and find innovative solutions, he has earned a reputation as a go-to expert in the industry.

Passionate about the nuances of Indian Classical Music, Lalit finds solace and inspiration in its melodic rhythms and soul-stirring compositions. He believes that music has the power to transcend boundaries and evoke profound emotions, serving as a creative outlet that complements his technical expertise.

Beyond his technical pursuits, Lalit takes an interest in taking up social causes and contributing to his best ability.

contact us