B2B eCommerce, sometimes called wholesale eCommerce, is simply eCommerce between 2 business customers, rather than a business and a private customer
We tend to think of this latter scenario as being more typical because it is more familiar, but in fact the B2B ecommerce market is six times bigger.
Despite representing a different dynamic and having its own unique requirements in some senses, B2B ecommerce is still about personalisation of service, omnichannel presence, mobile growth, data analytics, artificial intelligence, and more. With the integration of PWA (progressive web app) technology, which optimises mobile services, b2b ecommerce software solutions give B2B customers the flexibility to start placing an order using their smartphones while on the go and finish the order using their desktop computers later.
How B2B ecommerce stands apart from B2C
B2B sellers do not ten to sell in a linear fashion. B2B companies sell to various industries and verticals that have unique buying processes and requirements. For example, a medical supplies distributor can sell to hospitals, private clinics, and laboratories.
Here are the other aspects that set B2B apart.
- The business relationship is more formal. The business contracts between organisations typically include multiple transactions because they build long-term partnerships over time. Their businesses become interdependent and interconnected. Therefore, they endeavour to boost each other’s revenues.
- The buying cycles are longer. The transactions in business-to-business ecommerce are more time-consuming and complex. The B2B sellers handle a smaller group of clients and lead. They process more quotes, purchase orders and contracts. It takes time for businesses to find suppliers they can trust, but the suppliers can look forward to doing steady business with their customers when they do.
- It provides personalised prices and products. B2B companies specialise in creating personalised products and prices for their clients, which help make their operations run smoothly. B2B buyers need personalised product catalogues and prices. Clients expect to receive a custom quote. They are prepared to undergo the contract negotiation process, which they treat as part of the entire sale process. They also negotiate shipping options and payment processes. Likewise, they expect to be given specific company discounts.
- Several decision-makers. In B2B ecommerce transactions, the buyer typically has several decision-makers before the deal is finalized. The process takes longer, and decision-makers review the order and the quotes because they order large quantities of specific products. There are many participants in the procurement process, with several approvals to secure and workflows to follow because there are many stakeholders.
- Different payment options. With B2B ecommerce, the payment options are different. The payments are typically made through invoices, bank transfers, or lines of credit with varying terms of payment. For example, invoices can be paid in 10 days, 15 days, 30 days, 60 days, and up to 90 days in many countries. In the UK the new standard is 20 days from the date of the invoice. Payment terms may depend on the number of orders in the past, the value of the order, size, and customer.
As you can see, the management of a B2B ecommerce company has a different setup. A B2B company needs experts in sales to handle various accounts, which is different from other online businesses.