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E-Commerce in B2B versus E-Commerce in B2C

The classic Business-to-Business (B2B) market is defined by business activities between companies. The intermediation of products and services between companies is called Business-to-Business (B2B).

But before we dive into the differences, what exactly does E-commerce stand for? E-commerce or electronic commerce simply refers to the purchase or sale of products and services which takes place on an Internet-based platform.

Mainly it is producers, traders or service providers who buy or sell products. The products or services are either for sale or can also be used for further creation of other products or services (Schallmo, 2013). In principle, this involves the sale of products between wholesalers or retailers. Business-to-Consumer (B2C), on the other hand, leads to a business relationship between the producer and the end user (Kreutzer, Rumler and Wille-Baumkauff, 2015, p. 13).

Screenshot 2021-01-25 at 14.11.37Differences B2B vs B2C (representation adapted from Backhaus and Voeth 2004, cited from Kreutzer et al., 2015, p. 18).

Another difference between B2B and B2C is related to the purchasing behavior. In B2B, demanders are not from individuals, but mostly from organizations; in other words, several individuals are involved in the procurement process and decisions are often also taken together. Complex circumstances in B2B E-commerce as well as the increased purchasing risk in contrast to B2C may be the reasons for this (Kreutzer et al., 2015, pp. 17-18). With the help of a target group analysis in B2B, this risk can actively be limited. The target group analysis is one of the main components of an elaborated B2B customer journey.

B2C purchasing behavior is increasingly affecting the needs of B2B buyers and as a result B2B store providers are definitely challenged. Fast service as well as a large selection are just two of the elementary expectations of today's B2B customers (Gamma, 2018, p. 41).