Differences between eCommerce B2B and B2C fulfillment workflows

Nov 21,2023
Industry News
B2B generally involves the roles of goods manufacturer and consignee, while B2C fulfillment services mainly focus on the end customer and focus on fast and transparent delivery

There are significant differences between B2B and B2C fulfillment workflows. B2B fulfillment services focus more on transportation and logistics between businesses, while B2C fulfillment services focus more on the end customer.

First of all, from the perspective of the participants, B2B is business to business, a buying and selling relationship between enterprises, while B2C is business to customer, which is commonly referred to as commercial retail, selling products and services directly to consumers.

Secondly, in terms of e-commerce models, there are four general B2B models: manufacturing-oriented or business-oriented vertical B2B - vertical model. These models typically involve large, extensive order and warehouse logistics processes, such as delivering products to retailers. In this process, the roles involved include the goods manufacturer and the consignee.

In contrast, B2C fulfillment services mainly focus on the end customer, focusing on fast and transparent delivery, and paying more attention to improving customer satisfaction with products, transportation and delivery. This kind of service is usually aimed at individual consumers and is usually sold online through the Internet.

In addition, from the perspective of order processing and return/refund policies, B2B orders usually involve large quantities of purchases, the order amount is large, and the processing process is relatively complex. B2C orders usually have smaller amounts, and the quantities purchased at one time are larger but scattered. At the same time, clear return and refund policies are often included in B2C transactions to enhance consumer confidence and satisfaction.

B2B order fulfillment methods and processes

Pricing: Based on business needs and specifications

Pricing for B2B orders is often determined based on the needs and specifications of the customer's business. This means pricing will vary depending on the size of the order, reorder frequency, payment terms and the length of the contract arrangement. For example, when retailers buy in bulk and promote products through their own channels, they often set wholesale prices based on the difference in retail prices when selling to them.

Order Volume: Bulk Purchasing vs. Repeatability

When purchasing raw materials and machine parts, B2B shipments often involve bulk purchases. This means orders can involve huge sums of money and be repetitive. This recurring order pattern often occurs when one business decides to enter into a long-term relationship with another business.

Sales Process: Timing, Compliance and Negotiation

The B2B sales process typically takes longer as it involves departmental licensing, negotiations, request for quote, and other compliance. Most retailers have a group of "buyers" who are responsible for selecting items they believe will increase sales and profit margins for their business, obtaining volume discounts from sellers, and overseeing ongoing business relationships with them. This process can involve complex negotiations and contract signing.

Shipment volume and frequency: high-volume shipments and low-frequency ordering

B2B shipments are often large, but ordering frequency is low. The items will be sold individually by the retailer through its brick-and-mortar or online stores. Therefore, they will only place additional orders when they need to replenish inventory at the fulfillment center. This low-frequency but high-volume delivery model places special requirements on logistics and warehousing.

Handling and Compliance: Strict Operational Requirements

B2B transactions involve larger shipments, so loading and unloading a pile of products takes longer, is more expensive and requires specialized handling equipment. Most big box stores, including Walmart and IKEA, have very strict guidelines, often called directions on "when" and "how" to get items. Deviation from these course directives may result in penalties for the retailer, such as chargebacks, reductions in subsequent purchases, and termination of the relationship. The supplier or 3PL you work with must ensure that you understand and comply with the terms of the contract.

Simple and efficient B2C order fulfillment

In the world of business models, B2C (Business-to-Consumer) order fulfillment, in its unique way, brings consumers a simple, efficient and personalized experience, and provides a convenient, flexible and secure shopping environment.

B2B and B2C fulfillment

One of the hallmarks of B2C order fulfillment is that the product business determines the price per unit and rarely changes. This provides consumers with clear price information, making shopping decisions simpler and clearer. Meanwhile, B2C orders usually involve smaller items, are in larger quantities and are scattered. As a result, B2C transactions are typically smaller and are often one-time purchases. This decentralized order model provides consumers with greater flexibility and convenience.

Sales support and self-service purchasing

In the B2C model, there is usually little need for sales support, as orders are often placed directly by the end-user through the e-commerce platform or directly on the seller's website. This greatly simplifies the buying process and reduces the potential stress of interacting with a sales rep. In B2C retail, customers search for goods based on their needs, and if they really need it or find that the value of the product suits their price, they will pay the full price. Here, buyers browse multiple stores and make purchases through a simple checkout process when they find a deal. This self-service shopping model gives consumers more freedom and choice.

Diversified payment methods, low cost and high efficiency

For B2C transactions, most are paid immediately at the point of sale via credit card, check, cash, or other payment method provided by the seller. This diversified payment method meets the needs and habits of different consumers and further improves the convenience of shopping. At the same time, B2C order fulfillment costs are low and individual orders can be completed faster. While consumers also often order larger items, most orders are much smaller in comparison and therefore can be processed more efficiently.

Customer Satisfaction and Personalized Experience

In B2C order fulfillment, building positive relationships is critical to improving customer satisfaction. To improve customer experience, marketing, customer service, product listings, information, and on-time delivery and precise order fulfillment, retailers need to strive to provide customers with a personalized experience. This personalized experience can be achieved through data analysis and user behavior research to provide each customer with products and services that best meet their needs.

Clear return and refund policy

In B2C transactions, include clear return and refund procedures as it is more feasible. A clear return and refund policy not only helps build consumer trust but also reduces the occurrence of after-sales issues. When consumers understand their rights and the return process, they are more likely to purchase and use products with confidence.