What is B2B (Business to Business E-commerce)?
B2B e-commerce refers to online business transactions that take place between two companies. These transactions are carried out through a B2B portal, which works similarly to an online store, the difference being that it is addressed to legal entities and not to individuals. We say that it works similarly, because its role is the same, namely to present to clients the offer of products and / or services of the company that owns them.
The concept of B2B e-commerce is constantly evolving, and depending on how the transactions are carried out, we currently meet the following types of B2B portals:
- Buyer – oriented – these are owned by a community of companies interested in buying various products or services, which follow the most efficient process of the procurement process. This portal helps the buyers obtain the best prices from suppliers and benefit from low administration costs. On the other hand, suppliers have the opportunity to promote their catalogs to potential customers.
- Supplier – oriented – these are managed by the suppliers that aim to generate an online sales channel to potential customers. These portals offer suppliers increased visibility in the market, helping them to attract more prospects. In turn, buyers gain from such a portal because they have access to detailed information about suppliers and can more effectively search for similar products and services.
- Independent – they are managed by a third party that offers a common B2B platform – accessible by both suppliers and buyers. Registered members of the platform can display advertisements, solicit offers or organize auctions.
- Vertical trading platforms – they connect every sector of a particular industry. These portals increase operating efficiency and reduce logistics costs.
- Horizontal trading platforms – they connect suppliers and buyers from various industries around the world. They are similar to a huge market where people can sell or buy products or services.
How does a B2B portal work?
Within a B2B portal the company – supplier presents its products or services, along with prices, stocks and other useful details for the sales process, such as personalized discounts on types of customers. The company – client accesses the B2B portal, analyzes the available offer, and if interested can place an order or a request for an offer, as the case may be.
Most often the company that owns the B2B portal will provide its clients with registration data or allow them to create their own account. In this way each client will benefit from secure access to the information related to orders, balances or personalized offers, and the presented offer can be adjusted according to the preferences of the user who is logged in to the portal.
Currently, B2B e-commerce activity has borrowed many of the advantages offered by B2C . Thus, a B2B portal can be just as attractive as an online store, including specific elements of the latter, such as promotions, discounts, images and detailed product presentations, online support, coupon systems or loyalty points as well.
A few of the advantages that a B2B portal offers:
- Access to a new market , which is constantly growing, and to new categories of consumers, such as those who prefer online commerce over traditional ones
- Customer loyalty, due to providing a safe and fast way in which they can purchase products and services
- Access to a promotional and sales channel available 24/7, accessible from anywhere with an internet connection, including on mobile platforms
- Facilitates client communication, through the possibility of integrating an online support service
- The possibility to update the available offer in real time
- An easy way to present a large number of product features
- Ability to attach images, presentations, video demonstrations or other multimedia information to help you sell
- Reduces the costs involved in printing the catalogs, since they can be presented in an electronic format
- Access to a wide variety of promotion methods, specific to online commerce: newsletters, banners, etc.
- Access to a flexible application, which can be customized to the specifics of any business, workflow, etc.Both B2B Manufacturers and Distributors can have an e-commerce platform. Everyone has different requirements, that’s why B2B portals offer different advantages, such as: