Ecommerce is table stakes for distributors in 2018, but it shouldn’t be surprising that B2B buyers want more than the capability to place an order on your website. As we’ve written here previously, end-users want a robust shopping and buying experience; just a small percentage of online shopping by distributors’ customers actually leads to placing an order.

So what are some of the features B2B buyers are looking for on your website, according to the research outlined in the second edition of our MDM-published report What Customers Want? Here are a few must-haves for distributors:


Buyers want to be able to view usage, status and other data after they order. They also want up-to-date order information and the ability to perform order maintenance online without a distributor’s help.

In our research, we found that the most important website feature for end-users is the ability to view order status, including tracking shipments. More than half of respondents want to be able to request a copy of an invoice, view past orders and request a Return Merchandise Authorization (RMA). End-users also want to be able to access past quotes and easily convert those quotes to orders.

Real Results Marketing - What Distributor Customers Want on Website

Inventory Visibility

End-users want to be able to easily view inventory availability. That makes sense: They need to ensure they can get the product when and where they need it. Three inventory views were most important to the end-users in our research:

  • Inventory on-hand
  • Expected ship dates for all products
  • Available inventory for their orders

If a product is out of stock, end-users want to be able to see lead times, and about two-thirds of end-users named seeing replacements for discontinued products as well as substitute products while shopping on a distributor’s website.


End-users view a distributor’s website as a resource. They want more technical information, including technical datasheets (42 percent said they were most important, and 22 percent said they were second-most important). They also want clear product images and manufacturer links to support their shopping experience. Application guides and Safety Data Sheets (SDS) were also important to end-users in our surveys.

Get more insight into what distributors’ customers are looking for in their shopping and buying experience with distributors in the second edition of our report, What Customers Want: A Distributor’s Guide to Customer Buying & Shopping Preferences, available through MDM.