B2B ecommerce is more than just a way to purchase goods and services online. It’s a new way of doing business that is revolutionizing how companies buy and sell to each other, and it’s working exceedingly well. In fact, it’s expected that B2B ecommerce will account for 17% of all types of B2B sales in the U.S. by 2023, reaching $1.8 trillion!

But what is B2B ecommerce, really?

What is B2B Ecommerce?

B2B, or business-to-business, ecommerce is the sale of goods or services between businesses through an online platform. B2B ecommerce platforms are typically used by manufacturers, wholesalers, and distributors to sell their products and services to other businesses.

B2B ecommerce is a type of online business transaction between two companies, usually involving the sale of goods and services. In a B2B ecommerce transaction, one company (the “seller”) sells products or services to another company (the “buyer”) through an online platform.


When it comes to ecommerce, there are two different types of businesses: business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B). B2C ecommerce is when a business sells products or services to consumers through an online store. B2C businesses are usually much larger than B2B businesses, as they have to cater to a wider range of customers. 

Some examples of B2C ecommerce businesses are Amazon, Walmart, and Target. These businesses sell a wide variety of products and services to consumers worldwide, including books, clothes, electronics, and more, and online, hence the term “ecommerce.”

The main difference between B2C and B2B ecommerce is that B2C businesses have to deal with a lot more customers, as they are catering to the general public, while B2B businesses often have a smaller number of customers that they sell to on a regular basis because they are selling to other businesses, rather than individuals.

Types of B2B Ecommerce

1. Wholesale Ecommerce

Wholesale ecommerce is when businesses sell products to other businesses in bulk, usually at a discounted price. This type of ecommerce is common in industries like manufacturing, food and beverage, and construction. The products sold in wholesale ecommerce are usually not branded and are instead generic or white-label products.

The main advantage of wholesale ecommerce is that businesses can buy products in bulk at a lower price, which can help them save money. However, the downside is that businesses may have to buy more products than they need, which can lead to excess inventory.

Examples of wholesale ecommerce platforms include Alibaba, Made-In-China, and Global Sources.

2. Business-to-Business-to-Consumer (B2B2C) Ecommerce

B2B2C ecommerce is when businesses sell products to other businesses, which then sell those products to consumers. This type of ecommerce is common in industries like retail, healthcare, and automotive. The products sold in B2B2C ecommerce are usually branded and are sold under the business’s name.

The main advantage of B2B2C ecommerce is that businesses can reach a larger audience through the other businesses that they sell to. However, the downside is that businesses may have less control over how their products are sold and advertised.

Examples of B2B2C ecommerce platforms include Amazon, Walmart, and Target.

3. Manufacture-to-Order Ecommerce

Manufacture-to-order ecommerce is when businesses sell products that are manufactured on demand. This type of ecommerce is common in industries like custom furniture, clothing, and jewelry. The products sold in manufacture-to-order ecommerce are usually made to the customer’s specifications and are not usually stocked in advance.

The main advantage of manufacture-to-order ecommerce is that businesses can offer a wider range of customization options to their customers. However, the downside is that manufacturing products on demand can be more expensive and time-consuming than manufacturing products in bulk.

Examples of manufacture-to-order ecommerce platforms include Etsy, Zazzle, and Shapeways.

4. Distributor Ecommerce

Distributor ecommerce is when businesses sell products to other businesses through a distributor. A distributor is a middleman that handles the distribution of products from manufacturers to retailers. Distributor ecommerce is common in industries like automotive, consumer electronics, and industrial equipment.

The main advantage of distributor ecommerce is that businesses can access a wide range of products from different manufacturers. The downside is that businesses may have to pay higher prices for products due to the distributor’s markup.

Examples of distributor ecommerce platforms include Amazon Business and Grainger.

Why Is B2B Ecommerce Expected To Grow?

There are a few reasons for this:

1. The number of internet users continues to grow exponentially. This means that more and more businesses are able to reach a larger audience online.

2. Businesses are increasingly adopting online selling platforms and ecommerce solutions. This makes it easier and more convenient for customers to purchase goods and services online.

3. The cost of setting up and running an online store is relatively low. This makes it an attractive option for small businesses and start-ups.

4. Consumers are becoming more comfortable with making purchases online. This is due to the increased security and convenience of online shopping.

5. The B2B ecommerce market is still relatively untapped. This means that there is a lot of potential for growth in this sector.

Calashock is a global ecommerce agency and Elite BigCommerce agency partner with over a decade of experience and operations across Europe and North America. We have helped merchants launch and grow successful ecommerce websites since 2009.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us 

by Dozie