The business-to-business (B2B) eCommerce industry is growing opportunities for both business sellers and business buyers around the globe. Through the use of online sales portals, products and services are being sold on the internet at a tremendous rate. The eCommerce industry has opened large doors for B2B sales, as the internet provides a streamlined system for efficient purchases.
The B2B online portal functions similarly to an online store. The fundamental difference is that it is another business buying the goods, not a consumer. They are like business-to-consumer (B2C) platforms because they are still selling goods or services through online transactions. However, these transactions can vary as businesses are motivated to buy for business purposes. This means they may be looking to purchase products in bulk, or have a large order delivered across country in a short amount of time.
How does a B2B portal work?
Effectively, B2B portals allow the supplying company to display information about their products and services. They provide pricing, details about inventory stock, and other information that’s imperative to the sales process. In addition, a portal can show discount opportunities if the B2B buyer is aiming to purchase in bulk or over a long period of time. The B2B buyers can look at the portal and the available offers, and if they are interested they can either place an order or put in a request.
Generally, the company that owns the B2B portal will require login details to access the portal. Once an account has been activated the supplier has your information on file and buyers do not need to re-enter data with every order.
The B2B eCommerce model is ever-evolving. This means transactions are different depending on the type of portal used. Currently, there are several different kinds of B2B portals that we will break down.
Customer-oriented portals are established by a group of companies who are keen to buy a variety of products or services and want to be a part of a streamlined and efficient buying process. This type of portal allows buyers to get the best prices on supplier’s inventory stock and it keeps administration fees down. This does benefit the supplier as well, as it puts their products and inventory stock in front of potential B2B customers.
These types of portals are generally managed by vendors aiming to generate eCommerce sales. A supplier-oriented portal gives suppliers heightened visibility in the B2B market. By driving potential buyers to this portal, they can hopefully secure more business. Essentially both parties benefit here. Buyers reap the benefits of this portal structure as well, because it provides them with an array of detailed information about the suppliers, it allows them to make informed decisions on their purchases and it makes searching an easier process, letting them compare products and services.
Other types of B2B portals include independent portals, vertical trade platforms, and horizontal trade platforms. Overall, B2B eCommerce portals can enhance your customer loyalty, provide real-time updates of inventory stock, be available around the clock, reduce costs such as paper catalogues, and streamline ordering processes.
Article by Melanie Chan in collaboration with our team of Unleashed Software inventory and business specialists. Melanie has been writing about inventory management for the past three years. When not writing about inventory management, you can find her eating her way through Auckland.