B2B Ecommerce: How do I start and how long does it take?

Jane Mc Arthur
January 18, 2018
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Setting your B2B portal may seem like a topless mountain. Our step-by-step guide is designed to help you set up shop effortlessly and effectively.

Setting your B2B online store may seem like a topless mountain. Well, not anymore! Our step-by-step guide is designed to help you set up (your digital) shop effortlessly and effectively.

The case is this: you are the new kid on the B2B ecommerce block. After months, browsing through B2B ecommerce solutions, you have finally made the decision to close the deal on one. You should be living happily ever after – yet, you may feel insecure or ambivalent while entering this unknown territory.

Fear no more: Why? Below you will find a step-by-step guide designed to introduce you to this new and –yet unexplored– digital world. Ready, set, go!

1. Start with what you’ve got

It is true that a B2B portal can provide a fertile ground upon which your wholesale business can grow and flourish. Yet, before you start navigating the sea of endless possibilities a digital store provides you with, it is important to build strong foundations.

What do we mean by that? Start setting up your online store by filling its digital shelves with your current offering. For example, let’s say you are a bakery wholesaler who is currently selling cookies. It is exactly your variety in this sweet treat that you should try to highlight as you set up your B2B ecommerce site, even if you intend to broaden your product catalog in the near future.

The great thing about any B2B online store is that its space is made of pixels instead of bricks. This literally means that you can change and adjust your offering and your store’s overall structure and look and feel any time you want.

2. Create your product catalog

Now it’s time to log in to our new B2B platform. Once you get online, the very first thing you need to start working on is your product catalog.

To make your life easier, you can create a list of the items are currently available through your business. Also, make sure that all product variations (in size, color, etc.) are included to this list. If possible, add a short description of each product. Note that a good description contains the details about the product’s key features and use.

3. Organize and conquer

So by now you have created your product catalog. Now it’s time to break it down into categories. Can you divide your product categories based on their brand or their function (e.g. dinnerware or decoration items)?

Once you’ve placed your products into categories, it’s time to decide whether you want your offering to be public or private. Here is also the time to created categories seen and accessed only by your VIP clients.

4. List your customers

Your store is all set up and you’re about to put the “Yes, we’re open” sign on its door. Basically, it’s time to invite your customers. And yes, the listing method can also help you through this process as well.

The drill should be familiar: create a file where you store and update all your customer details (name, company position, address, etc.). Make sure that your list includes their email address. Why? The latter can be used to automatically send out invitations through your B2B platform.

At this stage, you might also find useful to divide your customers into groups. This can be done by based on their company activity, VAT and Sales Tax. This is also a good time to create your price lists and assign your customers to them depending on their activity and product preferences.

And this great “divide” will be extremely useful for many reasons with marketing and monitoring your sales being two of the top among them.

5. Get your platform started… in beta mode

Keep in mind that you don’t have to invite all your customers at once. You can open up your B2B online store started by inviting just a few so that you allow yourself some time to get head ahead of the… learning curve.

This way you will have time to adjust in your new digital reality and adapt your store to yours and your customer’s specific needs.

Once you feel comfortable with your new shoes, you can finally launch your B2B ecommerce platform and keep your orders rolling in... online.

How long does it take to set up your B2B portal?

You may wondering how much time the setup process might take, yet you should remember that this depends on how well you have organized and listed all the information you need to upload to your online platform. Assuming that you have all you need, a 360o ecommerce solution should enable you to launch your B2B portal in a few weeks, if not days!

Eager to get your feet wet in the B2B ecommerce sea?

Click here to sign up for a free trial account on B2B Wave to get accustomed with the ecommerce universe and explore what our user-friendly wholesale ordering platform can do for you.

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B2B Wave is a user-friendly software that allows B2B wholesale distributors and manufacturers to easily set up their ecommerce platform, accept orders online, communicate with their customers and boost their sales.
B2B Wave Ltd, registered in England & Wales. 71-75 Shelton Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2H 9JQ, United Kingdom , Company Nr. 10023457