What is B2B ecommerce?



B2B ecommerce (also written as eCommerce, eCommerce or similar variants), short for business-to-business and electronic commerce, is selling products or services between businesses through the internet via an online sales portal. In general, it is used to improve efficiency for companies. Instead of processing orders manually – by telephone or e-mail – with ecommerce orders can be processed digitally.


Differences between business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C)


When selling to consumers, it is very important to understand the consumers’ feelings. Consumers need to trust your organisation and they need to feel nice and comfortable when purchasing at your company. It is all about emotion; it turns out that 20 percent of the decision to make a purchase is logical and 80 percent is emotional. Facts are being used to justify an emotional choice. Although consumers do have various emotional motivations to buy products, purchase behaviour is often the same. Consumers are purchasing products for their own usage, because they like it to buy something new. Most of the times it’s not a necessity. Therefore, consumers are not buying every day and they are not buying a lot of products at the same time. In other words, order quantities and order value is relatively small. Also, for a lot of consumer goods, purchases are being done just once in a longer period of time. Think about a new TV: consumers are buying a new TV once every couple of years, and they are just buying one (maybe two) TV’s per purchase. Since consumers are buying because they like it, emotion is an important aspect for B2C companies to focus on. By having state of the art product design, packages and more, B2C resellers can anticipate on customers’ emotions.


When you are selling to other companies (B2B), there are a lot of differences compared to B2C. B2B buyers are buying as part of their job. They need to make sure they buy all necessary products/components to keep their company up and running. It’s not buying because they like it, it’s buying to keep the business alive. Since organizations can be very large, they need a lot of products or components to keep doing business. Therefore, B2B buyers are often purchasing a lot of products at the same time. Also, since companies can grow their business, they need more and more products in a short period of time. B2B purchases are characterised by repeatedness instead of single purchases. Because of the repeat purchases, companies make deals based on their monthly/yearly demand. They closely collaborate with each other, and each B2B costumer can have its specific prices for certain products.


Last but not least, multiple people are involved in B2B purchases. For instance, a company can have multiple buyers. They are responsible for finding the right products and making the deals with resellers. Then, there is a manager who is in charge of checking the buyers and closing the final deals. In the end, a finance department is involved as well to collect all invoices. Due to the fact that multiple people are involved in a single deal, B2B is more fact based instead of based on emotions. It’s not about the nicest packaging, but the best deal for the company. In other words, ratio is leading. Various B2B and B2C characteristics as mentioned above, are summarized below. 

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