Typically, there is a tendency to associate the opportunities of Ecommerce with companies that deal with B2C, ie the sale of products intended for the final consumer. For a long time, B2B , i.e. sales between professionals, was only marginally considered in digital commerce activities. 

And yet, SMEs can today exploit technologies, trends and new purchasing habits to offer their products to companies using online shops or marketplaces and therefore declining part of their commercial activity on the web.

But in what way? What are the opportunities in this regard? 

From a purely statistical point of view, B2B Ecommerce has also undergone a surge in Italy: we are informed by the 2019 report produced by the B2B Ecommerce Observatory of the Politecnico di Milano , which estimates the total to be 20% of 2200 billion euros generated by online commercial exchanges between companies. 

In practice, this means that business-to-business digital commerce produced an impressive 500 billion in turnover for Italian companies last year . This figure refers to the sum of the sales carried out both with other Italian companies and with foreign businesses.

The trend is destined to increase also in the near future. According to the Politecnico, considering an 80% growth between 2012 and 2018 in the national market alone, it is estimated that this volume of business will continue to increase exponentially in the years to come.

Ecommerce between companies: POLIMI data 

Now let’s see together what value the Ecommerce activities have assumed for Italian companies that sell to other companies according to the POLIMI researchers. 

  • The turnover of B2B Ecommerce among Italian companies generated 16% of the total turnover, for 360 billion euros.
  • The turnover of B2B Ecommerce between Italian companies and foreign companies produced 5% of the total turnover, or 136 billion euros.
  • From 2012 to 2018, the value of digital commerce between companies increased at an average of 10% per year.
  • Even in the face of a slight current decline, the estimates confirm a trend that is destined to increase further in the coming years , ie it is believed that B2B companies will obtain an increasingly considerable slice of turnover from their Ecommerce activities.

What does this ultimately mean? That companies that sell to other companies can no longer ignore the benefit generated by e-commerce , as this will become increasingly crucial as a source of income for any business. 

The opportunities for small and medium-sized B2B companies who want to do Ecommerce 

The possibilities of Ecommerce for SMEs that deal with B2B are essentially two :

  1. Creation of a dedicated Ecommerce site : whether it is a portal or an extranet, this platform must offer the possibility of selling goods, products and services. It provides for the setting up of an ad hoc platform with the possible purchase of a license, the presence of personnel dedicated to its management, maintenance and updating, and the investment of a budget specifically allocated for digital marketing for the promotion of Ecommerce
  2. Use of pre-existing marketplaces: it is probably the most suitable solution for SMEs that do not have a large budget available for their Ecommerce activities, but also for those who wish to start offering their goods and services abroad. In this case, it will be essential at least to conduct an adequate benchmark on the marketplaces present online in order to identify which ones are more consistent with your commercial proposal. The investment in advertising campaigns will be more limited, since the marketplace will already autonomously take actions in this sense. However, the presence of a team of professionals who deal with the correct structuring of the product sheets, any advertisements (both from a graphic and content point of view) and the updating of the products is in any case highly recommended. 

Are you running an SME that deals with B2B businesses and are you considering the possibility of selling online ? Ask NAXA experts for support for your Ecommerce !


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