B2B e-commerce: are companies spotting the biggest slice of e-pie?

When we think about e-commerce, the association with B2C is automatic: a company directly sells to final customers. The purchases we experience every day along with the new retail marketing dynamics that adopt omnichannel strategies lead us to an almost immediate association. However, if we have a look at the actual size, the world e-commerce market is currently worth, depending on the estimates and definitions used, between 2 and 3 trillion dollars for the B2C and over 22 trillion for the B2B , for a total of over 25 trillion dollars (UNCTAD, 2017) according to the first e-commerce report ICE – Politecnico di Milano. They are about 3-4% and 30% of world GDP, respectively, driven mainly by the relationship between companies and businesses. Wholesalers and retailers, manufacturers and importers and many other business dynamics between companies and professionals.

B2B gmv

Here’s a glance at the 2017 GMV leaders in the B2B e-commerce market. China leads the game (inside the Asia cluster, of course) but North American markets are still a major destination

Therefore an important part of digital transactions is related to the B2B channel. If we are going to deep dive into the figures, we see that China is the leader (as in the rest B2C transactions), but also the US are not far, also having a leading power of Amazon Business among the platforms (at least according to the survey I’m mentioning in this post).


According to a digitalecommerce360.com survey, Amazon Business still has a relevant market share comparet to other platforms, at least from a cross-industry angle. But the game changes when we deep dive into the single industries or categories…like fashion!

I do not want to deepen (for now) the theme but focus the spotlight on one of the most interesting product categories: fashion industry.

Fashion industry has led the first wave of global digital shopping and still represents a very important slice of transactions (and dominates the thin Italian export online). The Nuorder platform is not listed for the time among the cross industry statistics mentioned here, but it has been active since 2011 and has an audience of 1,000 sellers and 435,000 professional buyers. It is flexible, scalable and is becoming the top standard in the US fashion b2b e-commerce that takes care of both design aspects, very heterogeneous products, accessories and cosmetics. But the most interesting news, which confirms this unstoppable trend, we have not even a month: the announcement of the partnership with Nordstrom that aims to move online the entire buying process. And we’re mentioning a leading retail chain with over a century of history, fifteen and a half billion sales, 380 stores in North America. That’s a proper click & mortar strategy.


It is therefore essential to successfully approach the B2B channel. If you can not miss the omnichannel marketing wave, in which our final consumer in his purchase itinerary “touches” the brand on offline and online channels without distinction (social, store, news, company website, marketplace, etc.) ), even the B2B wave is a major goal, not to be underestimated. And there are companies (like, for some time, Anthony Morato in Italy or others) that successfully pioneered a winning B2B strategy.

When in business, go digital. When digital, go B2B (to paraphrase my coffee mug motto when in troubles go big).

[header photo by RawPixel on UnSplash]

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