B2B/ B2C e-Commerce Shipping Explained: How to Ship Products to Customers

The B2B/ B2C e-Commerce Shipping Explained: How to Ship Products to Customers

On the surface, there may not appear to be much distinction between fulfilling orders for a retail business, or a single-end client. Isn’t an order just an order? Wrong. Business-to-Consumer (B2C) and Business-to-Business (B2B) processes and operations are extremely diverse. Every order delivery, either to a corporation or a single consumer, must match your brand, or else, you risk losing clients.

Partnering with a 3PL who shares your brand values can help you negotiate the distinctions between inventory management, warehousing, supply chain logistics, and fulfilment services for the intricacies of B2B and B2C orders.

  • B2C e-Commerce Shipping & Fulfilment Explained

B2C orders are directly delivered to the final user. B2C orders have a smaller average value of order than B2B orders. Likewise, the B2C order fulfilment process is frequently simpler because there aren’t too many particular standards and laws to comply with when single orders are to be fulfilled.

Normally, B2C pricing is pre-established and will reflect the same rate for all clients, barring any promotional or seasonal activities that may emerge. For B2C, payment processing seems to be more expedited, often because the automated checkout procedure for payment transactions has been streamlined.

If you outsource your B2C order fulfilment to a 3PL, their responsibility is to guarantee that all orders are shipped on schedule, damage-free, and with appropriate paperwork—some even manage refunds and returns. Working with a 3PL can help your organisation deliver ordered items to clients faster—even on the same day.

Errors, delays, or mismanagement on the behalf of a 3PL might result in negative feedback for the manufacturer, as well as, increased costs for returns and refunds.

  • B2B e-Commerce Shipping & Fulfilment Explained

In B2B fulfilment, products are directly transported to other retailers or businesses. Orders are placed for the receiving company to have adequate stock to sell from.  When firms order products, it’s sometimes more effective to do it ahead of time and in bulk. Thus, they don’t have to purchase items for more orders as regularly.

With B2B order fulfilment services, accuracy is critical. Compliance requirements for businesses may include specified invoicing systems, barcodes, parcel labels, SKU codes/ identifiers, product restrictions, tax rules, etc. Because the orders are larger and in huge quantities, shipping can cost more and take longer to arrive. Prepare to get better acquainted with carrier credentials that you will need to transport your goods far and wide, such as air freight or sea freight, as well as, international trade roadblocks, such as subsidies, tariffs, and taxes.

If you opt to get your B2B sales delivered by a 3PL, they must prioritise the quick and dependable delivery mechanism. Firms want fulfilments providers to be optimised for greater efficiency and cost-cutting since they interact with other businesses.

They also contribute to meeting orders on time. Mismanagement and delays committed by a 3PL can hurt the image of the organisation they represent, as well as, attract refund losses and penalty fines that they may be obliged to give.

  • The B2B/ B2C Order Fulfilment Stages

Order fulfilment usually goes through three stages:

  • Pre-purchase(s)
  • Purchase(s)
  • Post-purchase

There are changes in how order fulfilment operates for B2B versus B2C at each of these stages.

Product Price

B2B contracts are priced according to the end business’ demands and requirements. This may substantially vary based on the order size, contracted relationship duration, payment terms and conditions, and recurring orders. etc. 

Because retailers purchase and advertise the goods via their channels, brands distributing to retailers sometimes have a predetermined wholesale price i.e. 30 to 50 percent of the retail price. In contrast, B2C orders are more transparent; the unit price is determined by the product business and seldom fluctuates.

Revenue Per Customer

B2B shipments often entail large-scale, bulk purchases of parts and raw materials, whereas B2C order fulfilment deals with smaller things such as personal devices or appliances. As a result, B2B transactions can be in the millions of dollars and recurring, whereas B2C buys are frequently in the tens or hundreds, and are normally one-time purchases.

Sales Assistance

 Sales coordinators or account managers are frequently present to assist with the exchange of the business-to-business good. Because orders are frequently done by the end customer, directly through an e-Commerce marketplace, there is generally very little sales support required in B2C.

Buying/Sales Process

B2B sales generally take longer since they entail requests for negotiation, department approval, quotes, and so on. Numerous retailers employ a staff of “buyers” who are in charge of discovering items that they believe would increase sales and profit margins for their firm, obtaining supplier-offered bulk discounts, and nurturing the cordial relation with the seller. In the case of B2C, the consumer can browse around a bit if they choose, or they can just buy anything they want and find. 

Order Size

Generally, B2B shipments are huge in volume but acquired in smaller quantities. As the goods will be individually sold through the retailer’s online shop or storefront, the retailer will only buy more when it is necessary to replenish its fulfilment centre inventory. On the other hand, B2C purchases are often substantially smaller and carried out in a single trade.


B2B payments are often made through an agreed timeframe utilising standard forms of payment such as cash on delivery (COD), purchase orders, or credit. They are promptly paid at the time of the transaction through cash, check, or credit card transactions.

Post-PurchaseOrder fulfilment and shipping

As B2B transactions entail bulkier shipments, transportation costs more, takes longer, and necessitates the use of precise handling tools for unloading and loading product pallets. Mostly, big retailers, such as Target and Walmart, have extremely strict criteria for when and how their product is delivered, sometimes referred to as “route guidelines.” Veering away from these guidelines might result in retailer fines such as smaller future buys, chargebacks, and severed partnerships.

In comparison, B2C order fulfilment is low-cost. Moreover, single order fulfilment can be a lot faster, somewhere around a matter of days.

Close relations with vendors offering your products are vital. Often these B2B contracts entail substantial, recurrent shipments and strong collaborations that are established over time, and need ongoing monitoring. Good personal connections should not be disorientated with the likes of user satisfaction necessary for B2C orders. Customer satisfaction and experience are prioritised, with information, clear product displays, customer service, and marketing, as well as, timely delivery and error-free order fulfilment, all of which contribute to a positive customer experience.

All organisations, whether B2C or B2B, must have a mechanism in place for product returns and exchanges. In the more open retail industry, B2C transactions often feature explicit return and refund terms. Because of the increased shipping obligations, contractual commitments, and large order size, the reverse-engineered supply, and logistics system become more challenging in B2B orders.

Bottom Line

Depending on the nature of your organisation, you just might have to contend with B2C/ B2B order fulfilment or both. Interpreting the distinctions between each one can be tough. But perhaps knowing that you are further aware of the concepts, terminology, and ideas that distinguish each one, you will be able to make the best judgments for your company.

If you’re searching for a 3PL with fulfilment centres all around the world, we own and manage locations in the Netherlands, Germany, and the European Union. Vareya BV’s international infrastructure of warehouses may be used to disperse your product around the country, reducing shipping costs and transit times.

Are you looking for shipping support or order fulfilment and plan on joining forces with Vareya, we’d love to hear more from you!

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