B2C vs. B2B Shipping and Fulfillment: What’s the Difference?

B2C vs. B2B Shipping and Fulfillment: What’s the Difference?

Did you know that the B2B market is growing and becoming more like B2C in terms of trends and marketing? However, there are still some key differences between B2C vs B2B shipping and fulfillment.

Don’t worry if you’re confused by these terms or the future of the marketplace because you’re in the right place. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about shipping and handling regardless of who you sell your product to.

What Is B2B Shipping and Fulfillment?

In the B2B realm, shipping and fulfillment usually consist of wholesale orders to retailers. However, it doesn’t always have to be a wholesale situation. Some companies, for example, could provide office supplies to a large corporation or cleaning supplies to a restaurant or small business.

These different shipping options allow your business to run smoothly without worry about running out of crucial products or supplies. Many warehouses operate as the middle distributor between B2B wholesalers and their clients. Fulfilling orders through a warehouse takes the burden off the supplier so they can focus on creating more products in their product line rather than shipping and fulfillment. 

What Is B2C Shipping and Fulfillment?

In contrast, the business-to-customer market focuses more on e-commerce and selling directly to the consumer. These are usually one-time purchases and done in much smaller quantities than the B2B market. The B2C market is also very customer-centric and focuses on building engagement with your customers.

In general, the fulfillment options include much smaller packaging and are usually contracted through a delivery service such as the post office, UPS, FedEx, or DHL. Additionally, in the B2C market, free shipping is becoming more common, and the item is usually delivered to a personal address without a signature requirement.

3 Main Differences Between B2C vs B2B?

As you can see, there are major differences between B2C and B2B shipping and order fulfillment. The most obvious difference is the target market that each focuses on. But, let’s jump into three differences that are centered around the purchase process.

1. Pre-Purchase Order Process and Size

As mentioned, the biggest difference between B2C and B2B is that the latter is usually handled in much larger quantities. Businesses want to buy in large wholesale quantities at the wholesale price. Consumers, however, usually purchase smaller quantities at the retail price and expect free delivery to their door.

2. Buying and Selling Process and Payment

The buying and selling process is also very different between B2B and B2C. In the B2B market, the sales cycle is usually much longer. It usually includes long-term contracts that are negotiated based on lowered costs.

Additionally, due to the long-term nature of B2B contracts, payment is usually billed later, and wholesalers are allowed to carry a credit line. Retailers in the B2C market, in contrast, are expected to pay immediately upon purchase, and the sales cycle is typically much shorter.

3. Post-Purchase Customer Service and Returns

After the purchase, the key differences include the return process and the level of customer service provided. Because the B2B contracts are long-term, they usually require much more follow-up than in the B2C market.  And, in the B2C market, the return process is much more transparent and outlined before the purchase, while the B2B return process is much more complex due to the large size of each purchase and shipment.

Simplify Your Supply Chain and Focus on Growing Your Business

As you can see, there are various differences between B2C vs B2B shipping and fulfillment. However, with the right tools, you can simplify the process and track each order regardless of the size or market. As you manage your shipping needs, you might need to build the right app for your team.

From branding to launching apps, our work is research-based and customer-focused. We can help you improve your supply chain logistics regardless of if you’re in the B2B or B2C market. Reach out to us today to see how we can help you grow your business the right way.