The purpose of B2B eCommerce web sites is to make markets more efficient. In the past, buyers had to exert a lot of effort to gather information on worldwide suppliers. Nowadays, buyers have access to much greater information from supplier web sites, infomediaries, third parties who create markets linking buyers and sellers, and customer communities that swap stories about suppliers’ products (goods and services).
Ecommerce (e-commerce) or electronic commerce, a subset of ebusiness, is the purchasing, selling, and exchanging of goods and services over computer networks (such as the Internet) through which transactions or terms of sale are performed electronically. Contrary to popular belief, ecommerce is not just on the Web. In fact, ecommerce was alive and well in B2B eCommerce transactions before the Web back in the 70’s via EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) through VANs (Value-Added Networks). Ecommerce can be broken into four main categories: B2B eCommerce, B2C eCommerce, C2B eCommerce, and C2C eCommerce.
Business-to-business (B2B) is commerce transactions between businesses, such as between a manufacturer and a wholesaler, or between a wholesaler and a retailer. Contrasting terms are business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-government (B2G). B2B eCommerce branding is a term used in marketing.
The overall volume of B2B (Business-to-Business) transactions is much higher than the volume of B2C transactions. The primary reason for this is that in a typical supply chain there will be many B2B eCommerce transactions involving sub components or raw materials, and only one B2C transaction, specifically sale of the finished product to the end customer. For example, an automobile manufacturer makes several B2B eCommerce transactions such as buying tires, glass for windscreens, and rubber hoses for its vehicles. The final transaction, a finished vehicle sold to the consumer, is a single (B2C) transaction.
B2B eCommerce is also used in the context of communication and collaboration. Many businesses are now using social media to connect with their consumers (B2C); however, they are now using similar tools within the business so employees can connect with one another. When communication is taking place amongst employees, this can be referred to as “B2B” communication.