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Why Your B2B ecommerce Initiative is Failing

b2b ecommerce initiativeWhile more and more players are getting into the B2B ecommerce game, many are failing.

What’s going wrong?

In this post, we’ve identified five things that could be holding your initiative back from achieving success.

5 Reasons Why B2B ecommerce Fails

1. No Executive buy-in.

In order to ensure your ecommerce initiative is a success, there needs to be buy-in from the top down. Executives and other upper-level management must commit to researching not only potential technologies, but how incorporating ecommerce into business operations will affect the organization as a whole.

The C-Suite needs to prep managers and sales teams on how processes will change with the introduction of ecommerce, what they can expect (more on this in the next point), as well as what’s expected of them. This needs to be a continuous exchange of information, both during implementation and post-launch.

2. Lack of clear expectations.

Going hand-in-hand with strong communication is that clear expectations are set. What can your team expect? If it’s not a 100% self-service or a full-service model, what does a hybrid model look like?

It’s important to remember that B2B ecommerce is meant to bring more productivity to your organization by automating low-level tasks and letting the customer take the reins, only involving sales people when they’re needed (which will depend on the type of buyer and sales interaction). While such a process may result in more revenue, it shouldn’t be expected.

Yes, quantifiable goals should be made for revenue, but your team should also be aware of the established metrics for a reduction in cost of sales, as well as productivity and efficiency.

3. User experience isn’t prioritized.

If your B2B ecommerce site isn’t user-friendly, guess what? People won’t buy from it. You need to ensure your ecommerce platform is tied into your existing business systems, like CRMs and ERPs, as well as all of your product and pricing information. This should be easily accessible to both buyers, channel partners, and vendors alike to ensure a smooth buying experience.

Such integration will allow for sales and support contracts to be customized, for buyers to be able to customize solutions, for sales people to be involved when they’re needed, and to allow reps to quickly create quotes and win the deal.

And the user experience doesn’t end there, it applies to post-purchase as well. Your team needs to implement strong post-purchase tactics, including making the returns process easy, ensuring there’s price transparency, and utilizing remarketing techniques.

4. Sales isn’t on board.

It’s important to keep in mind that it will likely be your sales team that will onboard customers into your ecommerce portal. That’s why they need to buy-in during the planning stage of your ecommerce project, understanding what the digital buying experience will be like for their prospects and how it’s of value to both parties.

Make sure reps understand that the self-service aspect of ecommerce will empower them to focus their time on the most important and highest-touch deals, allowing them to say goodbye to low-level tasks and take a more consultative approach.

5. Implementation of the wrong technology.

Another reason why ecommerce initiatives fail is that those entering the ecommerce game don’t know what they need. What’s worse, some technology providers don’t understand the complexities of B2B sales.

That’s why those vetting potential solutions need to ensure that providers prioritize:

  • User experience
  • Omnichannel selling
  • Backend system integration
  • Making B2B processes more efficient


Your organization can make huge gains from a successful B2B ecommerce initiative, which is why it’s so important to recognize the ways such a project can fail before it starts, and work to prevent them.

Matt Noyes

Matt Noyes

Matt is the Director of Product Marketing at FPX. He focuses on the evolution of CPQ from a traditional sales tool to one that delivers value across the enterprise.

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