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What Is B2B?

Business to business.
Customers may wish to develop a long-term partnership with their B2B suppliers.
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  • Written By: Michael Pollick
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 26 October 2014
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"B2B" is contemporary shorthand for a longtime sales practice called business-to-business. Such transactions primarily target companies and other wholesale buyers, while transactions targeting individuals are called B2C, or business-to-customer. Many organizations have both B2B and B2C components, but it's not unusual for a company to specialize in services or sales between businesses. In fact, the vast majority of products and services sold are considered to be of this nature.

One major reason for the popularity of B2B sales and services is sheer volume. An individual customer may visit a clothing manufacturer's website catalog and order two pairs of shoes or a sweater. The buyer for a national chain of clothing stores, however, may order 5,000 pairs of shoes and 2,000 sweaters. Without a business-to-business component, the manufacturer would have lost out on a very lucrative sale. This is why many companies provide B2B options alongside the B2C offerings at their websites and other outlets.

Such sales are also generated by providing a specialized product line or service not available to the general public. This form of transaction is very common in the manufacturing world. A company that produces shaving cream in cans, for example, may need a specific plastic nozzle. Several plastic injection molding companies would send sales representatives to pitch their particular designs. These nozzles would be useless for individual customers, but a manufacturer may order thousands of them.

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With the growth in electronic communications, B2B has taken on even more importance. Instead of simply focusing on business-to-business sales, modern corporations are conducting other financial transactions online. B2B communications are now being used to promote investment, trade stocks, and form financial alliances. Because the price of these transactions is far beyond the reach of most individuals, there is no equivalent business-to-customer option available. Some transactions handled electronically can literally run into the billions of dollars.

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Discuss this Article

anon118214
Post 16

I presume you refer to recruiters in the Uk. Let me tell you something now: I have been looking for a job for three months. I have a Bachelor in International Relations and a Master in International Shipping.

The recruiters rarely reply to me for the jobs I hunt. And I know the reason why that happens: they are not far sighted. They can't understand that a Greek, speaking Spanish and French as well at a fluent level, with two degrees can excel at anything. The fear of their mediocrity which is well hidden behind their stable "payroll", their benefits and free gyms and the "free-lunches" in city restaurants,and by no means they would recruit me, for they know that aint no mediocrity here, but an educational nucleus that would make their rooted chair to tremble!

But this is UK. All London is is because of the international flavor existing here, primarily European. How do I know that you describe an English case? Because I smell the mediocrity here. It's because their universities are inadequate and the professors are mediocre too.

It's because in American universities you gain all roundness regarding education. It doesn't matter if you head towards psychology, you still have to take economics, finance and international business as electives, math and numerous of others.

Fear of the foreign, I call it.

anon111379
Post 15

I am shocked that recruiter working with sales people doesn't understand the difference between B2B and B2C!!

I had some pretty awful experiences with recruiters from both sides of the service and that just confirms my feelings of them as a breed.

anon110719
Post 14

The article was very useful for me.

anon73408
Post 12

through this article i got a clear idea about b2b.

anon72285
Post 11

a b2b transaction is one that involves two businesses, the one selling and the one buying. a b2c transaction targets individuals. no b2b does not stand for back to back. it may in your office but in the corporate world it means business to business, just as it is stated in the above article.

B2c means business to customer. For example, when you go to Taco Bell and buy a taco that is a B2C transaction. When Taco Bell purchases the shells, meat, sauces etc., they buy vast quantities of the product at wholesale prices, and that is a B2B transaction.

The company that they buy their supplies from do not cater to consumers like you and me. it's the mission of every business to buy low, sell high.

In response to the question about successful transitions from B2C to B2B, the success rate is high if the transactions are handled correctly. if you could sell 1,000 Hospitality thingies, (whatever you sell i don't know), but sell 1,000 at one time instead of a few here and there, the profit potential is obvious.

anon62735
Post 10

I'm a recruiter for Sales Executives, which is a new area for me. The B2B and B2C terms are a little confusing. The example above, with the nozzles: would the buyer of the nozzles be a B2B customer or is the manufacturer of the nozzles a B2B company, or both?

anon57519
Post 9

B2B Sales typically refer to companies which provide outsourced telemarketing services. There are many companies with this service.

anon45456
Post 8

b2b is short for back-to-back. At our project it is used for person who will change the other on the next shift.

anon34860
Post 6

I have been employed in a meat distribution company supplying wholesale to restaurants,hotels and cafe's. We did have several niche products such as milk fed veal. Is this considered to be a B2B company?

homebaseusa
Post 5

B2C and Web 2.0 are two very different things. B2C means businesses selling to consumers. For instance, an insurance company that sells personal life insurance plans is a B2C company (Business to Consumer Company). Web 2.0 just addresses the new type of dynamic websites that allow for blogging or continuous updating of the website by multiple users. Hope that helps !

ekadon
Post 4

What is business administration?

anon18206
Post 3

How to earn money in B2B?

anon18132
Post 2

For the last 6 years I have been employed in Convention Services in the Hospitality Industry; upselling. I have been recently approached with a B2B Sales opportunity.

My question is; what percentage of people are successful after a career change to B2B? Please be honest. Thank You

anon2413
Post 1

I got some confusion on the relationship between B2C and Web 2.0. Can you send me briefly in simplified form with an example?

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