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Earlier this year, I wrote a post looking at some of the best ecommerce sites around, picking out aspects of these sites that others could learn from. 

As the vast majority were B2C, some commentors challenged me to find similarly good examples of B2B ecommerce sites. 

I've asked the Econsultancy team, found a few myself, and here we are. 

Some are listed because they offer a great all round experience, others because they do a particular thing very well (navigation, copywriting, and so on). 

Blake envelopes

Envelopes aren't the most exciting product, unless we're talking manila envelopes stuffed with cash. However, Blake does a great job of making them desirable. 

First of all, the quality of the site design conveys the quality of the products. 

Moreover, the functionality matches this. Check out the filtered navigation. I'm no envelope expert, but the options look pretty comprehensive and are very well presented. 

MSC Direct

This industrial supply site is designed for quick ordering and reordering.

Note the instructions in the search box, and the quick order pad, which allows you to enter part numbers and order multiple items at once. 

gallery stock

A nice site for finding stock images. Clean, simple and easy to use. If you need stock images of people with iPads, you know where to go. 

Sprint

Nice copy here, which is full of attitude and energy. A contrast to many of its competitors. 

Alibaba

One of the world's biggest B2B marketplaces. 

Grainger

Ease of ordering is key here, and a guest checkout option helps this, as well as avoiding the risk of abandonment normally associated with compulsory registration, a common problem on B2B ecommerce sites. 

Massey Ferguson

This is a lovely site. Well presented with excellent navigation and product pages. Check out this drop-down menu: 

Ok, you can't actually buy a tractor direct from the site, more's the pity, but you can buy a range of accessories, toys and workwear. So it goes in the list. 

Screwfix

This site is used by thousands in the trade, and it has to be reliable and easy to use, while stocking a wide range of products. 

This means site search has to work well, which it does, key information is clearly presented on product pages, and reviews are used well

In addition, features like in-store collection and next day delivery are crucial when people have jobs to get on with. 

Quill

Quill does the basics well, providing a usable site, and paying attention to details like fast reorder and searching by catalogue number. 

Auto-complete on site search is another way to make the site easy to use. 

RS Components

RS won in two categories at our Digitals awards last year, and featured strongly in several others. This is a B2B form that uses the web well. 

The site isn't the prettiest, but it works well, which is important when you stock more than 500,000 products. 

Firerock

Firerock provides building materials and fireplaces for builders, and makes great use of photography to showcase its products. Its Pinterest page is excellent: 

Amazon supply

Simple really, the Amazon model applied to B2B. 

Square

It helps that Square is selling just one product, mobile card readers, but it's still a beautifully designed site. 

A long scrolling page explains the product and pricing, and provides video demos and testimonials. 

Fastenel

Easy to use and navigate. 

Overdrive

Overdrive provides ebooks and audiobooks for education and retail. It's easy to use, with a focus on excellent site search, and fully responsive. 

In summary

Though there are some excellent B2B sites which focus on lead generation, It's much harder to find innovative B2B ecommerce websites. 

So here we have a mix of excellent design and good functionality - several of these sites are selling a huge number of products, and so the user experience tops design aesthetics. 

I'm sure I must have missed some good examples, so please let me know in the comments... 

Graham Charlton

Published 30 July, 2014 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

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Comments (23)

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Nick Green

Great stuff, thanks Graham.

Quite a lot from the US here though.

Does this mean Brits aren't doing it right? Or is it just a coincidence?

almost 2 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

Hi Nick, not intentional. It could be that way, or they may be some great UK sites I haven't seen. Blake is getting it right at least.

almost 2 years ago

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AZ

Good post. Hope you could provide more details and some analysis.
However it's a good point about design and functionality, is it functionality over design or they can do both right? I personally prefer Square, great design, clear CTA and very informative.

almost 2 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

@AZ Both would be great, but i'd prefer great functionality and dull design rather than the other way around.

For sites like Screwfix and RS components, it's more important that the customer can find the right part or tool than be wowed by the design

almost 2 years ago

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Jon Darke

For an example of uk b2b brands doing it right I'd suggest someone like Bouncepad; suppliers of high end tablet kiosks, stands and enclosures. http://www.bouncepad.com/

almost 2 years ago

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Dave

How about Apple's Business Store?

http://store.apple.com/uk-business

almost 2 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

@Jon & Dave - thanks.

almost 2 years ago

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Simon Atkinson

Good post thanks - nice to see something related to the B2B world, but there are a couple of site features that you have missed that are important in the b2b world.

(1) - Find a Retailer - it is important to drive traffic to retailers who sell our products, as we do not sell direct. A retailer search is a must if you own an brand that is sold via retailers

http://www.mastersgolf.co.uk/NearestRetailer/default.html

(2) - Product Videos - we create product videos for every product we sell. They are used to train our sales force, used to sell to the retailer and then the retailer uses on their site to sell to the consumer

http://www.mastersgolf.co.uk/The-Dog/Headcovers-The-Dog-Driver-Headcovers/12244-PD/default.html

The video is prominent on the page and where the 'buy' button would be there is a 'find a retailer'

Other important features that we offer the trade that is not visible via the consumer view of the site are:
- Notify me when product is back in stock
-Quick order page (list products by code or desc) with live stock levels
-CSV Order upload
-data feed to e-commerce sites, so they can use our content
- my account - see outstanding orders, invoices, recreate orders etc

almost 2 years ago

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Simon Turner

Great to see a post focusing on B2B. Would be really interesting to see something similar on great examples of B2B social media campaigns as well in the future.

In terms of an interesting UK B2B site take a look at http://www.clothes2order.com (disclaimer I do work for them!) but I'd be interested to hear your thoughts as we've spent a lot of time developing and constantly improving an easy to use online B2B personalisation process. We've found that by leveraging a more traditionally B2C approach you can achieve strong B2B performance.

almost 2 years ago

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Maliwan Savage, Digital Product Manager at RS ComponentsEnterprise

I'm from RS Components and worked on the very page you featured, Graham. Just wanted to say thank you for featuring us and ask if you have any further analysis about the effectiveness of our site?

almost 2 years ago

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download music

hi
thanks for this article....
Best Regards

almost 2 years ago

Kate Gowers

Kate Gowers, Principal Digital Consultant at Ogilvy&Mather UKEnterprise

It would be interesting to see you review BtoB sites for businesses that have much longer buying cycles, like telecomms, office space, large computing, scientific etc - where people aren't necessarily buying online but can schedule a call or meeting and the like.

Any thoughts?

almost 2 years ago

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Stavros Thanos

Great article! I would like to see more about B2B. For example a new website that combines e-commerce with social networking is http://www.tradescraper.com

almost 2 years ago

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Peter Boazman

Thanks for this review
An additional point that I see is key to B2B site success:-

The use of a Category Management approach to influence the order that the product searches are laid out on the results page. Offering a bundle pack at the top of this results page , for example, can often give the customer the best value whilst returning the highest cash margin to the company. Putting a low margin 'repeat purchase product in this results page 'Hot Spot' just because the database system delivers it that way, is not a good investment.

almost 2 years ago

Pete Fairburn

Pete Fairburn, Managing Director at morphsites

Another great roundup here Graham, thanks!

Also delighted to see our work on www.blake-envelopes.com featured here - we continue to work hard on this site and our team and the customer is very pleased with the results. Thanks for selecting us.

almost 2 years ago

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merchsolutions

its is really an good artical on the B 2 B ecommerce website by graham charltan

almost 2 years ago

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Dominic Goode

Thanks for the article Graham.

I'm trying to improve conversions on my site http://www.harconsupplies.com so find these round-up articles really useful as we are currently doing a lot of split testing. If anyone has any feedback on my site, I'd appreciate it.

almost 2 years ago

Pete Fairburn

Pete Fairburn, Managing Director at morphsites

@Dominic - happy to have a look in more detail at your site if you want to drop us a line - hello@morphsites.com

almost 2 years ago

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Justin King, Editor in Chief at eCommerceandB2b.com

Very nice job laying out great examples of B2B E-Commerce sites.

I did an in depth review of the Quill site http://ecommerceandb2b.com/b2b-ecommerce-site-example-quill-com/

Also a good review other top B2B e-commerce sites at http://ecommerceandb2b.com/best-b2b-e-commerce-websites/.

Also, I started a list of worthwhile b2b e-commerce sites http://ecommerceandb2b.com/best-b2b-e-commerce-examples/

over 1 year ago

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Sam Taylor, Head of SEO at Studio 24

Great article! Some really good case studies there.

I'm finding that the 'simple' ecommerce platforms (such as Shopify) are making the whole ecommerce experience better and better, my site http://www.championworkwear.co.uk/ is built on Shopify and it was dead easy to make the experience good first time around. However, it does not let you customise the experience like on these websites above.

over 1 year ago

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Dev Farmah, Marketing / Sales at Adam Sinclair Ltd

Have any of these sites intergrated social media pages to benefit trade customers i.e. Twitter / upcoming Product feed?

over 1 year ago

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KARTHIKEYAN KARUPPIAH, Managing Director at DIAFREE NATURAL HERBS

Svasam group is evolving with retail e-commerce store builder http://www.ecbilla.com for global customers and Global b2b eCommerce store creator for b2b business is on pipeline. This will be the best e-commerce platforms for all business and services to create themselves and or with thier support instantly.

6 months ago

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Vartika Gupta, Content Marketer at Bizongo

Great article. But there is no Indian representation. Would love to see you doing a segment for it as well..

You should look at the Indian scenario, it is catching up pretty well. The market estimated for B2B in India alone is $700 billion by 2020!
A lot of startups are entering this scene. Even the Government is taking measures to encourage and motivate businesses to come online.
For instance, check out this website- www.bizongo.in

21 days ago

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