Back to Posts

Should You Sell to B2B Clients? (Pros & Cons)

Author icon
By Emily Nelson - October 3, 2023- in Go-Getter Blog

Are you trying to expand & want to tap into more profitable ecommerce markets? Research shows the global B2B market is valued at $14.9 trillion & growing, which is five times more than the B2C market. While your ecommerce competition is primarily targeting individual consumers, you can sell to businesses & open up new revenue streams for your online store. 

But there are some challenges to the B2B industry. For example, the sales cycle looks totally different & you need to have the right infrastructure in place to school. Before you make the switch, here’s what you should know about the pros & cons of selling to B2B businesses to grow your print-on-demand-ecommerce business.

Pros of Selling to B2B Clients

Let’s start with all the upsides to B2B ecommerce selling to see if it’s the right fit for your business. 

Generate Higher Average Order Volumes 

Although there are always exceptions, B2B clients usually place large orders compared to individual consumers. Instead of selling just one customized hat, a business usually orders dozens (or even hundreds) for teams, clients, vendors, & special occasions. 

Want more ideas? Learn more ways to increase your average order volume here.

Earn a Steadier Income 

B2B clients are more likely to entertain long-term, recurring contracts. You may be able to set up a commercial account for a business that regularly sends out merchandise to clients & leads. Instead of looking for one-off sales in the B2C ecommerce model, you end up with a more predictable & steady income source.

Earn More with Customization Add-Ons

If you’re already working with print-on-demand, B2B could be a seamless fit for you. CustomCat partnered with Customily to offer more customization options for your customers. After selecting your product, they can customize it with your pre-set options for a more flexible way to do business that drives more sales.

Discover a Ready & Willing Audience

Sure, there are some B2B clients who want to do business in person over a long lunch & several meetings. There are also plenty who want to skip all the pleasantries & dig into online orders. Research shows that 41% of those polled say that self-service functionality is one of the top three ways B2B companies could make it easier for them to shop online.

Raise Your Brand Credibility

It’s always a win when a customer shares your products on social media. But when you can list businesses, brands, & companies as your clients, you raise your own credibility. It’s also easier to land bigger, higher-paying clients when you can show the steady stream of B2B clients you already work for.

Cons of Selling to B2B Clients 

Despite all the benefits of working with B2B clients in your online business, there are some drawbacks to consider.

It’s (Sometimes) Challenging to Scale

If you’re just starting out in B2B or trying to aggressively grow your business, it’s challenging to know when & how to sell. How do you suddenly deliver on hundreds of hoodies & sweatshirts when you’ve only been printing 10 at a time up until now?

CustomCat helps supercharge your business so you can grow as much (or little) as you want. With no minimum or maximum order sizes, we can handle any order you need. Upload your designs to your CustomCat library, apply to our dozens of products, & grab one of our easy integrations. When your B2B places an order, we’ll get to work producing high-quality products that your customers are looking for. 

Get started with CustomCat here.

There Are Higher Expectations

B2B clients tend to have higher expectations for product quality, reliability, & customer service. You need to have ironclad systems & processes & stay hyper-focused on customer care. Make sure your policies, from returns to contract durations, are clearly defined before selling to B2B clients.

You’ll Experience Longer Sales Cycles

The world of B2B is used to longer sales cycles that involves more decision-makers. It can take time to drum up interest from a company, foster the relationship, & secure their business to start selling. The profits can be more than worth it, but it also takes longer to secure some of those first ecommerce sales than with individual consumers.

B2B Clients Like to Negotiate

B2B clients are right at home when negotiating on price. But if you get too generous, you’ll compromise your profit margins, & it may not be worth your time & effort. Don’t be afraid to say “No” to clients who don’t understand or see the value in what you’re offering. It’s usually better to hold out for your ideal clients that make running your business a breeze.

Decision Time: B2C or B2B? 

There’s no right or wrong answer to entering into B2B selling in your online store. You may feel totally comfortable selling directly to consumers & don’t want to reinvent the wheel. Double down on what’s already working for your ecommerce business & stay flexible with new opportunities.

But if you’re looking to earn more, generate steady income, & enjoy higher order volumes, B2B selling could be the perfect fit for you. You can start by doing some market research on local businesses that resonate with your designs & product offerings. Try drumming up business at nearby brick-&-mortar establishments or reach out online to start developing long-lasting relationships.

It also doesn’t have to be an either/or situation. You can keep the B2C model you’ve been using in your online store & slowly branch out into B2B to see how it goes & gather valuable feedback. You may discover you only want a few commercial clients to add more stability to your business & create additional revenue streams without giving up the B2C model entirely.

Having plenty of options is one of the greatest parts about running an online business that’s fueled with print-on-demand technology. You can experiment, scale, grow, or pull back without the need to carry inventory or worry about producing high-quality products that customers love. 


Do you like selling to B2B clients? Why or why not? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *