Order fulfillment is an important aspect of any eCommerce business. The process starts when a customer looks out for a product, places an order, and ends with it being delivered to him.
The process may be handled by the websites themselves (large international brands) or outsourced to a third-party logistics provider (3PL).
Depending on the business type, it could either be categorized as B2C or B2B fulfillment.
What is B2B Order Fulfillment?
B2B (business to business) is also sometimes referred to as B2R (Business to Retail).
This means that the orders are delivered from a business to another business (retailers, resellers, etc). The receiving businesses will then plan to sell these to the end customers.
Manufacturing brands/distributors can engage with 3PL companies that partner with large online platforms like Walmart, Amazon, etc to sell their products.
However, in other cases, independent fulfillment agencies take over these roles and handle the entire order fulfillment process between the manufacturer and the eCommerce platform.
What is B2C Order Fulfillment?
B2C or Business to Customer order fulfillment applies to services where goods are delivered directly from a business to the end-user.
This would mean buying directly from the brand, and not through intermediate shopping platforms like Amazon, Walmart, etc.
Differences Between B2B And B2C Order Fulfillment At Each Stage
There are three main stages in Order fulfillment – Pre-purchase, Purchase, and Post-purchase. In this section, let us explain the differences between B2B vs B2C order fulfillment at each stage.
In B2B, prices are negotiable depending on the order value, payment terms, volume of the order, type of relationship, etc. whereas, in B2C, the pricing is the same for all the customers. For fulfillment centers, this would mean preparing different inventories and managing price changes accordingly for each.
In B2B, there is dedicated personnel (sales coordinator, account manager) available to support the orders at different stages to boost the long-term relationships. However, in B2C, there is very little to no support required at this stage.
Revenue per customer:
In B2B, the order value is high and the customers will place recurring orders throughout the year. B2C orders are mostly carried out once and the order value is low.
In B2B, the buying decision is made after thorough research of the product and can be influenced by having favourable connections, and reliable eCommerce platforms, whereas, in B2C, orders usually come from a single buyer and the decision depends on the mood of the buyer. The buyer is influenced by marketing advertisements, promotional offers, fast delivery options, etc.
In B2B, the payment process is long and involves flexible options like making partial payments or payment in credits, etc. However, in B2C, the payment process is straightforward. Mostly, the payment will be through online payment platforms, cards, or cash.
With B2B, the process takes a few months before a purchase is made due to the large volume. It starts by requesting quotes, research for better prices, approval from the department, and finally, negotiation of the price and payment terms.
In B2C, the process is short-lived because it involves a small quantity. The customer might look around at different websites or buy from his favorite website.
Order size and frequency:
In B2B, orders are purchased in bulk by the businesses and are recurring in nature. There will be orders throughout the year. However, in B2C, the purchase frequency and volume of purchase (quantity) is very low.
Order Fulfillment and Shipping:
B2B order fulfillments are sophisticated. They involve large shipments and complex regulations. B2B shipments cost more and take longer to be delivered, as specialized vehicles are required and specific routing guides have to be followed.
B2C orders are lightweight and low-cost and can be shipped and delivered quickly.
Relationship with end customer:
In B2B, the focus is on nurturing a long-term relationship with the customer to receive recurring orders.
The primary focus in B2C is on customer satisfaction and the quality of service. Ensuring the product reaches the customer damage-free, at the right time and right location is important.
B2B fulfillments involve a complicated process as reverse logistics are involved.
However, B2C fulfillments have straightforward return and refund policies.
MultiB2B’s Role In Order Fulfillment
In MultiB2B, we’re the Asian manufacturers/brands’ 3PL or fulfillment partner that help them to expand into the USA online market. With our EDI and API integrated fulfillment, sales, and inventory management solutions, we’re able to connect the manufacturers to large online retailers, such as Wayfair, The Home Depot, etc.
Manufacturers are able to ship their products to our partner’s warehouse at multiple locations in the US on a consignment basis and sell their products on eCommerce platforms. Our order and inventory management software help them to track their orders and sales easily. As their’ strategic partners in the United States, we grow profits and scale their businesses while reducing operational costs.
In order to satisfy customer’s needs and meet their expectations, it is very important to know the differences between B2B vs B2C order fulfillment and the steps involved in each. We hope this would help to make an informed decision that suits the needs of your business.