8 things we learned in conversation with the B2B eCommerce Association


Who would have thought that the former leading ukelele salesman in the UK would go on to become one of the foremost experts in B2B e-commerce!? Not us – but sometimes life has a funny way of working out.

His musical past aside, Christopher Gee is known for helping to bring the B2B eCommerce Association to Europe, his role as Managing Director of leading B2B e-commerce agency Rixxo and, most recently, for contributing insights for Hokodo’s Definitive Guide to B2B E-commerce Buyer Demands in 2024.

In fact, Christopher’s contributions to the report were so insightful that we decided to pick his brains a bit more about B2B e-commerce and how merchants can meet buyer expectations. Here’s what we learned. 

E-commerce success hinges on a “super clear strategy”

“B2B is steady, it's relationship-based, it's very human-to-human,” Chris explains, drawing attention to a characteristic of business trade that has obvious pros and some underlying cons. 

Many B2B sellers believe that they have no need to go online. They still take faxes because that's how they’ve always done things – but a growing number are learning that things could be faster, simpler and more efficient.

“The very first piece of advice for these businesses is to clearly understand what it is you're doing and start with a super clear strategy about how you're going to go online or become bigger online,” Christopher explains. If you’re looking to make the move to e-commerce, you must first define where you want to get to, by when, and why you want to get there. Equally critical is the need to decide how you’re going to measure that you’ve arrived, because the vastness of e-commerce makes it easy to get distracted or follow the wrong path.

Don’t build an e-commerce website for you, build it for your customers

One of the most important things that B2B sellers need to do this year? Ask their customers for feedback and take action based on what they tell you!

“Speak to your existing customers and your potential new customers and understand what they want from working with you digitally. Don't build the website for you, build the website for them.”

Choose partners and platforms that understand the intricacies of B2B

In The Definitive Guide to B2B E-commerce Buyer Demands in 2024, we reveal that a staggering 98% of buyers face some kind of issue when checking out online. Obviously, we had to ask Christopher why he thinks this is the case. 

“I think it probably comes down to technology leading business decisions, not the business decisions leading technology.”

Christopher’s advice is, whether you’re choosing a content management system (CMS), an e-commerce platform or a tech partner, make sure to select a partner that understands B2B and can offer tailored solutions that help to take your existing business into the digital world. 

“Don't reinvent your business to get online. Find technology that works for you to do it,” Christopher adds. 

Changing lifestyles, habits and expectations are influencing B2B

Ok, this probably isn’t breaking news to anybody, but you know the times are a-changin’, right? Thanks to the wonders of the internet, the expectations of younger people and the permanent impact of the pandemic, people just don’t live and work like they used to.

“Our day to day lives of sitting on the sofa, watching some Netflix, doing some shopping [on our mobile phones] is transferring to B2B,” Christopher explains, adding that it’s crucial for sellers to understand how and when B2B buyers are working and shopping.

“There's an expectation from the B2B world to keep up with the pace of life.”

Opening an e-commerce channel brings swathes of data

During our conversation, Christopher pointed out that one of the significant but lesser known benefits of moving to e-commerce is the data that sellers are able to gather about their customers.

“You can start to use your telesales data and your front-end data simultaneously to measure customer experience and satisfaction,” he explained. “You can use it for upsell opportunities. There's so much business intelligence that becomes available when you start to centralise your systems.”

Look out, B2C – B2B is (finally) catching up!

We’ve all heard the running joke about B2B lagging 10 years behind B2C. Very funny. Well, according to Christopher, it might be time to stop laughing. Why?

“B2B businesses are ambitious and they can take risks. They have better margins than retail, they have higher volumes and they get to cut their teeth selling more to the same customers,” he says. “I don't think it will be too long before we're seeing a shift and the retail sector will start to learn from B2B relationship building and how to reconvert existing customers. It's not far off.”

About time!

The B2B eCommerce Association is creating a space for B2B sellers

Merchants looking to ramp up their e-commerce operations this year could do much worse than becoming a member of the B2B eCommerce Association. We promise Chris didn’t ask us to write that – but he did have this to say:

“Our merchant and vendor members tell us it's so refreshing to be at networking events, being introduced to people who understand their problems. We're creating opportunities, open conversations and introductions with people who just get it. We're creating a space just for B2B.”

That sounds excellent – count us in!

B2B sellers need to nail the basics of e-commerce in 2024

At the end of the conversation, we asked Christopher to look into his (metaphorical) crystal ball and tell us what he sees for the future of B2B e-commerce. Refreshingly, Christopher actively avoided buzzwords and topics like AI, blockchain, AR and VR, because he believes that there are some foundational basics to get right first.

“We're going to see sellers getting the foundational parts right, getting payments right, and more and more businesses helping to bridge the gap of knowledge. And then we will all pick up the pace. 2025, 2026 and beyond is going to be abundant with choice and opportunity.”

Thanks, Christopher! 

If you would like to learn more about the changing demands and expectations of B2B e-commerce buyers, make sure to download our industry-defining research report.

By clicking “Accept All”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Privacy Policy for more information.