KPI's in B2B digital commerce



Measuring is knowing. Especially in B2B digital commerce! But do you know exactly what to measure? This time the expert group talks about determining the most relevant KPI’s. Our tip: set up two dashboards! And don’t forget to give your online customer offline attention.

The expert group “B2B digital commerce” discusses the subject of KPI’s during their third session. Herbert Pesch (Director of B2B digital agency Evident) and Roelof Swiers (Country Manager Benelux at Intershop) are the chairmen of the expert group and this time visiting Linde Gas.

Two dashboards

All experts work within their own organization on an ecommerce-based success. When establishing KPI’s, two things are essential: put them on your dashboard that you measure them daily (see I) and know which KPI’s are relevant to the board (see II).

Online customers you need to cherish offline

Before we go into the process of defining KPI’s in more detail, first this: however strange it may sound for an expert group of digital commerce, they agree that offline attention to customers remains important. In general, one can say that organizations do not have enough interest in the online customer.

Marco van Dorp (Linde Gas): "When we ranked our top 10 online customers against last year’s top 10, interesting insights emerged. One of the experts had a customer who only returned and did not place new orders. If you can signal this, you can take action.” Van Dorp continues: "In addition, we are looking at new business through the shop. Based on the figures, I have defined a group of ‘cherished customers’. They order a lot online and are therefore important. Our account managers also give those specific customers extra attention offline."
Sipkema (Technical Unie): "Organizations often pay a lot of attention to marketing campaigns and new customers, but you can usually get a lot more out of the large middle group within your existing customers!”

I- Daily dashboard

The KPI’s that are considered by the experts to be the most important ones belong on the daily dashboard. Van Dorp: "You can measure 1000 things, but it’s the art of knowing what you need to steer. Which KPIs you define depends on the business, your product or service and the digital maturity level of your organization, among other things. Van Dorp explains, that Linde Gas looks at turnover online, the number of orders, the number of times it logged in, the average order value and the relative share of ecommerce in total turnover. In addition, they monitor downloads from the corporate website to gain insight into the needs of their customers and to qualify prospects.

Technical Unie also measures the number of orders through each channel per month. Sipkema: “Every incoming order is given a tag that indicates what has been ordered - via the ecommerce platform, EDI, S2S (System2System), mobile, fax, telephone or e-mail.” For this purpose, the Technical Unie uses the NPS score and many customer panel surveys. “We really do a lot to help our customer,” says Sipkema. “Our customers can order via the website, apps, ERP and a BIM application. Those on the go enter what they need into the app, and those data go to the central purchasing with the customer and sends it to us via ERP. The benefits for both the customer and us are clear: fewer errors in orders and less administrative burden. This saves time.”

But what, according to the expert group, are the 6 KPIs that belong in the daily dashboard?

  1. Customer satisfaction (e. g. by measuring the NPS)
  2. Frequency of ordering & share of wallet (loyalty)
  3. Conversion rate
  4. Performance of the ecommerce platform
  5. Sales per channel (web, ERP, app, offline)
  6. Customer Lifetime Value (new vs. existing vs. departing customers)

II - Dashboard for the board

The dashboard for the board however, looks differently:

  1. Concentrate it to one page
  2. Use icons or a traffic light system
  3. Run KPIs of business objectives and present the main findings with a framework setting out the main conclusions of the month. This ensures awareness and possible follow-up actions. Make sure that the underlying KPIs are available, so that you can answer questions that go deeper into the subject.
  4. Give the digital roadmap of the ecommerce platform a place. Show how much of this has been achieved and what still needs to be done.

Tips for tools

Finally, the experts give away some tooling tips. Google Analytics is used by many parties, although a number of organizations are reluctant due to the protection of important company information. Excel is also widely used to ‘connect’ data.

The HotJar tool measures how easy - or difficult (!) - it is to find, buy and/or pay a product. After all, doing business online should be easy. Using HotJar, you can record the customer effort score as KPI. Technical Unie uses a combination of Google Analytics and HotJar by asking qualitative questions and creating heatmaps on a page.

Lead Forensics: This tool supports lead generation and identification. One of the experts, for example, uses unfulfilled contact forms to find out from which company the site has been visited.

A final interesting advice from the expert group: give the sales team a special deal to make existing customers order online. This encouragement makes it easier for them to let customers move online. There are several ecommerce teams in the expert group who have successfully applied this within their organization.

Do you want to stay informed?

Are you active in B2B and responsible for digital commerce/e-business or e-commerce? Then quickly register for the exclusive LinkedIn group B2B digital commerce to stay informed about insights from the B2B digital commerce group and relevant articles. (already close to 500 participants).
Also check out the YouTube channel B2B digital commerce to find videos with interviews and lots of B2B topics.

Any questions? Please contact Mascha Tamarinof (

Mascha Tamarinof
Responsible for marketing and business development at @Evident. "Let's talk B2B!" initiator and host. Passionate about B2B digital.

Mascha Tamarinof