What is a B2B site? The different formats

by Elliot Infelta on May 12, 2021

Acronym for “Business to Business”, the term B2B represents exchanges or commercial relationships between professionals or companies. Still not very digitalized unlike B2C, the BtoB sector nevertheless represents the majority of commercial exchanges in the world. However, the COVID crisis seems to have reshuffled the digitalization cards. Indeed, more and more professionals who work in B2B want a presence on the web. Indeed, with the various successive confinements and freedoms of movement, B2B companies which were already digitalized before the start of the crisis have enjoyed a certain advantage. This is why having a b2b site can allow you to develop your commercial activity with your customers. Depending on your activity, several possibilities are available to you:

  • Create a B2B showcase site,
  • Set up a B2B customer portal,
  • or create a BtoB e-commerce site.

You will see that each of these possibilities meets a different set of needs. In order to determine which option suits you best, I invite you to discover these different cases in more detail later in this article.

Create a B2B showcase site

B2B showcase site illustration

If you don't sell a product, or you can't (or don't want to) sell your products online, then a btob showcase site is the solution you need. Whether to highlight your company's activity, be visible on the web, acquire traffic via new sources, etc., create a B2B showcase site is far from being a crazy idea.

Indeed, even if you do not sell any products on your B2B website, this will not prevent you from acquiring new customers through the web. In 2020, “ 62% of B2B buyers say they can make a purchasing decision based solely on online content ” ( source ). A well-constructed B2B showcase site displaying relevant commercial and reinsurance information will therefore be an undeniable asset for acquiring new potential customers. In addition, with a little work on the content of the site, you could even improve your SEO and thus transform your B2B showcase site into a prospect “vacuum cleaner” 😉

Create a B2B extranet

B2B extranet illustration

Also called a B2B customer portal, an extranet is intended more to facilitate sales administration than to increase their volume. Indeed, this type of web platform above all allows exchanges between the company and its customers:

  • administrative documents,
  • various quotes or invoices,
  • purchase orders,
  • etc.

The idea being in fact to digitalize customer relations with the aim of simplifying administrative processes. A customer portal or B2B extranet of this type also saves a lot of time on tasks that are often time-consuming and have little added value. Still little adopted by many VSEs and SMEs remaining in the “old model” (fax, telephone and emails), it nevertheless allows you to save money. Indeed, the expression “ time is money ” is not so popular for nothing. By saving time on administrative tasks, you free up time to manage (you or your employees) your trade relations (prospecting and loyalty).

A B2B extranet is most often based on a closed web environment . That is to say a closed site which requires you and your customers from the outset to identify yourself to access it. The content of this B2B website can be personalized according to the connected customer so that the latter can only find the information and documents concerning them (confidentiality required ;)).

Create a BtoB e-commerce site

E-Commerce website illustration

Finally, let's come to the third option: setting up a btob e-commerce solution . In addition to opening a new order channel for your customers, you open the door to customer acquisition that you would never have been able to reach without a line sales solution.

I think you all know the principle of an e-commerce site, yet the B2B version of these sites brings a particular and very useful dimension to companies that sell to professionals. Indeed, the specificities linked to B2B sales are sometimes difficult to apply to a traditional e-commerce site. The most widespread CMS used throughout the world are perfectly designed for B2C, but poorly adapted and adaptable to the constraints of BtoB.

For what reasons ? Quite simply because a B2B seller must be able to:

  • Edit quotes before the sale,
  • Offer personalized products and/or prices depending on the customer or prospect,
  • Manage VAT more flexibly,
  • etc.

And this, whether the sale is concluded online or face to face! You will therefore understand the usefulness of being able to create a B2B ecommerce site which allows the management of these numerous specificities.

So, should you choose an extranet, showcase site or e-commerce site in B2B?

Only you have the answer to this question. But depending on the type of your activity, the choice can sometimes prove difficult, if not impossible, to make. Fortunately for you, there are solutions to avoid having to decide. OUR Huggii SaaS solution allows for example to create a showcase site backed by a BtoB e-commerce solution, or even to simply add a B2B extranet operating in a closed environment for example. The possibilities are numerous and varied. Do not hesitate to contact one of our project managers who will be delighted to help you with this difficult choice.

See you soon on Huggii.com!