B2B eCommerce channel enablement is not just a shopping cart

Establish an eCommerce channel, not just a platform, with a customer-focused integrated approach

B2B organizations understand the need to offer their customers an online delivery channel in order to stay ahead of, or even keep up with, their competition.

The total Global Business-To-Business (B2B) E-Commerce Market is estimated to reach 18.97 USD Trillion by 2028, up from 6.92 USD Trillion in 2021, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.30%.1
-Vantage Market Research

The stumbling block for many, however, is deciding on the best approach, or even knowing where to begin.

As with any important business decision, your starting point should be a clear understanding of what you’re looking to achieve, a clear vision of how you are going to get there, and what areas of your organization need to be involved to maximize your chance of success.

Too often, establishing an eCommerce channel is seen as an IT project, but operating in such isolation is to ignore the enterprise-wide implications this approach can have on functions such as sales, service, marketing and supply chain - and nor is it likely to deliver the overall customer experience you and your customers are looking for.

Truly successful eCommerce strategies are those that compliment traditional sales channels to provide a seamless, consistent experience for customers – providing the opportunity for them to buy from you how they want, when they want. To achieve this goal, there is a need to involve multiple operational areas in your strategic planning and implementation.

Direct sales function

Often companies look at leveraging eCommerce as a way to reduce headcount. In B2B though, the products and services are typically complex, requiring a level of consultation that is often hard to achieve through a purely online channel. To overcome this, the eCommerce channel should work in tandem with the traditional sales team - complimenting one another to provide the best support for your customers at each appropriate stage of a transaction.

Key questions to ask yourself:

  • How can you ensure your digital channel works in a complimentary way to your traditional sales force?
  • How can you effectively manage adoption rate and channel shift, both internally and externally?

Marketing function

Many manufacturers have traditional marketing teams that focus on brand marketing at the company, and product level. However, not many of those companies have specialist digital marketing teams who are focused on the best strategies to build online awareness about your products and services. A knowledgeable team, dedicated to enabling tactics that drive traffic to your online channel, will help with conversions once your customers engage online. 

Key questions to ask yourself:

  • How can you execute digital campaigns to attract new customers via the B2B channel? How does this impact traditional marketing?
  • How could your digital platform expand the opportunities to drive product bundles and promotions? 

Customer service function

While most B2B operators have a customer service team, they may not have part of that function dedicated to supporting their online customers. This type of support requires in-depth knowledge of what delivers a great online customer journey, and may require a host of complimentary channels such as email, click-to-chat, click-to-call, screen sharing and mirrored sessions in order to provide the same levels of customer experience that traditional channels have delivered. 

Being able to support your customers with these approaches is key to ensuring the customer experience and satisfaction levels you are striving to deliver. 

Key questions to ask yourself:

  • How can your digital channel drive a unified (and centralized) service approach?
  • What aspects of digital self-service and account management can create customer service efficiency? 

Supply chain function

The B2B eCommerce channel can help facilitate several processes from demand planning to order management but ultimately, an eCommerce channel is about getting product and services into the market. In the context of order fulfilment, the dynamics can differ significantly between traditional and eCommerce channels. Customers’ delivery time expectations may be vastly different; order quantities may differ dramatically from traditional sales channel levels, impacting delivery logistics. There are also different elements to consider depending on whether you are a make-to-order or a make-to-stock organization. 

Key questions to ask yourself:

  • How could a digital channel drive better order forecasting? 
  • How will production planning need to change to facilitate an online channel? 


  1. Source: Vantage Market Research, GlobeNewswire website, March 17, 2022


Kevin Doohan, Principal, Customer Advisory, Connected Commerce

Contact us

For more information on how KPMG Customer Advisory can help your business with its B2B channel enablement process and approach, please contact us below.

Dave Martin

Dave Martin

Principal, Customer Advisory, Connected Commerce, KPMG US

+1 617-852-8245
Kevin Doohan

Kevin Doohan

Principal, Customer Advisory, Connected Commerce, KPMG US

+1 773-991-1844