B2B E-Commerce vs B2C E-Commerce: Everything You Need to Know

6 min read
facebook sharing button
twitter sharing button
linkedin sharing button
Smart Share Buttons Icon Share

When it comes to B2B and B2C E-commerce, the business approaches are quite similar. Both facilitate product discovery and sales on a digital marketplace. Not only that, both B2B and B2C E-commerce companies rely heavily on both last-mile delivery and efficient customer service functions to build healthy customer relationships and loyalty, which would generate revenue and growth for the business. To attract and retain their customer base, both also need unique marketing strategies.

However, when it comes to the functional approaches of B2B and B2C E-commerce, B2C (business-to-consumer) is the trade of goods and services that are sold directly to customers, like retail goods, apparel, OTC medicines, etc. On the other hand, B2B (business-to-business) is the marketplace that deals with the trade of goods and services that businesses need to build products and infrastructure, like raw materials. 

To learn the business impact and growth of both these forms of E-commerce logistics better, below are some factors that are unique to both B2B and B2C E-commerce, as highlighted in the whitepaper released by DHL, titled “The Ultimate B2B E-commerce Growth: Tradition Is Out. Digital Is In.”

Key differences between B2B and B2C E-commerce

1. Target market and buying decision

  • B2B buyers are generally company professionals who purchase the product because it is required for the development of finished goods by their company. Since the product to be purchased is to be utilised for a business need, the buying decision is often planned in advance and funds are allocated for it in projections. In B2C, the customer experience is based on a personal preference. The purchase is mostly driven by the customer's desire and motivation. If a product fulfils a customer’s pressing need, then the product will be sold.

  • B2C customers are often impulsive and are sometimes reliant on seasonal trends and sales. On the other hand, B2B sales are planned purchases and hence more predictable, allowing for a business to plan their sales cycle in advance.
  • In B2B, most of the orders are placed through a team or committee. This makes the decision process tedious, requiring a longer approval time as it involves multiple stakeholders to review the contracts, payment terms and service agreements. With B2C, the purchasing decision is much quicker and easier. Since you’re dealing with a customer one-on-one, the turnaround of the sales process is much faster.

2. Customer lifecycle

  • In B2B E-commerce, a company or business entity mainly focuses on catering to other business requirements that resolve their problems and furnishes their needs. The supplier and buyer relationship is long-term because once a business finds a reliable manufacturer or supplier, it will rarely switch, thus resulting in customer loyalty. 
  • The main goal of B2C E-commerce is to drive more sales by displaying how their products will benefit individual customers. It has a short buyer lifecycle as most of the purchases are one-time with the seller and customer relationships being sporadic in nature.

3. Products and pricing

  • In B2B E-commerce, catalogues, product assortments and their rates are customised based on the contracts, business requirements, and service agreements with the buyers. In B2C, the product prices and catalogues are the same throughout the various categories for all its buyers.
  • In a B2B market space, the prices are usually hidden unless the user creates a personal account. Moreover, these prices are also open to negotiation and are order specific, based upon a business agreement. In the case of B2C E-commerce, the product prices are always visible. The prices are fixed unless there are some first-time incentives, discounts or seasonal sales being offered to the customers. Hence, there is no space for built-in negotiation for the product prices you’re selling.

4. Transactions and payment

  • The payment in B2B E-commerce is done in the form of credit terms with companies providing different payment solutions. This is because the size and value of transactions are usually large with lower frequency. While in B2C, the payment is done during the final online checkout process via digital payment methods and in some cases, even cash on delivery. Moreover, the value of transactions is smaller and more frequent.

5. Customer service support

  • The B2B companies have 24/7 customer service facilities and live chats to solve complex and technical issues of buyers related to their bulk orders or business-oriented questions. Hence, a dedicated customer support team is needed in a B2B E-commerce business. On the contrary, the clientele in B2C E-commerce is end-customers whose queries would be mostly non-technical related to return or exchange of a product. Such issues can be resolved through self-service or the e-commerce FAQ section and chatbots. Hence, customer service agents needn’t be required 24/7 to resolve many common concerns.

How does DHL help achieve customer satisfaction in both E-commerce businesses?

Online shopping and shipping expectations have seen tremendous growth since the worldwide lockdown in 2020. People have started moving towards E-commerce business sites for most of their purchases with the best part being on-time delivery services. Therefore, if B2B and B2C companies have to boost their sales, partnering with a reliable logistics provider is a great way to build a strong customer relationship and brand value.

With DHL Express, you don’t have to worry about the safety or timely delivery of your goods. Our in-house logistics team comprising international specialists makes sure that your shipments are delivered on time and in the right condition. Additionally, our relationship with the local and international customs authorities helps many B2B and B2C E-commerce companies seamlessly import and export various kinds of products without worrying about clearance delays. Our door-to-door, real-time tracking and last-mile delivery services ensure that shipments are delivered without any hassle and in the best interest of the customer.

DHL Express’s whitepaper helps outline these major differences so that you are able to make business and tech decisions based on the necessities of your business type and things your audience would love.

Ready to get in-depth learning about the B2B e-commerce guide?

Download the Ultimate B2B E-commerce Guide

Your B2B e-commerce revolution starts here. Download the White Paper to begin your journey towards meeting the new customer demands and help your business grow into a more profitable operation.

Download the Ultimate B2B E-commerce Guide
Download the Ultimate B2B E-commerce Guide