Not every B2B business model is the same. There are many different types of B2B companies and they serve a wide range of industries, each with their own unique set of needs and challenges. Let's explore some common types of B2B ecommerce:
B2B2C (Business-to-Business-to-Consumer): B2B2C ecommerce involves businesses selling their products or services to other businesses that, in turn, sell them to end consumers. This type of ecommerce often involves partnerships between manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers, allowing for a seamless distribution channel from the initial producer to the final consumer.
Wholesale: Wholesale ecommerce focuses on selling products in bulk quantities to retailers, other businesses, or even individual consumers who require larger quantities. Think businesses like Sysco or Unilever. Wholesale businesses typically offer discounted prices based on volume or account-based pricing, making it an essential part of the B2B commerce landscape.
Since large, complex purchase orders are so common in wholesale, these B2B sellers need the right systems in place to manage inventory, pricing, and shipping in cost-effective ways. It’s critical that wholesale ecommerce teams have complete visibility into accounts, sales, and service details, and that customer-facing teams can offer top-notch support. Fully equipped with insights into customers’ needs and behaviors, these specialists can serve as trusted advisors and cultivate exceptional experiences on a sustainable scale.
Distributors: Distributor-based ecommerce involves businesses that act as intermediaries between manufacturers or wholesalers and retailers. Distributors play a crucial role in the supply chain, ensuring efficient product distribution, managing inventory, and providing logistics services to ensure products reach their intended destinations.
Ultimately, distributors make sure that products get to where they need to go. This means that the systems they use to update orders, track shipping, and manage inventory are critical. Ecommerce platforms that offer these capabilities from one unified database can minimize shipping errors and save on costly supply-chain problems that commonly plague these types of businesses.
Manufacturers: Manufacturers often engage in B2B ecommerce to sell their products directly to other businesses, such as wholesalers, retailers, or even other manufacturers who may require specific components or materials for their production processes. By selling directly, manufacturers can bypass intermediaries, streamline the sales process, and establish closer relationships with their customers.
For manufacturers, the right B2B ecommerce platform will help streamline ordering, add account-based pricing, and split shipments — from one unified system. For example, Ovation Medical deployed a robust digital commerce platform that automated and streamlined repeat business operations and sales processes. As a result, the productivity of sales reps doubled, with reps managing up to 400 accounts. Increased productivity meant that the costs to retain and acquire new customers could be minimized. As another bonus, reps also had more time to seek out and secure new customers to help drive revenue.
Each type of B2B ecommerce has its unique characteristics and considerations. Businesses should evaluate their industry, target audience, and specific business model to determine which type of B2B ecommerce aligns best with their goals and requirements.