B2B and B2C Fulfillment Services - The Differences Explained

B2B and B2C Fulfillment ServicesThe world of B2B (Business to Business) and B2C (Business to Consumer) fulfillment may baffle you if you’re new to these industries. You’ve probably seen these abbreviations before and didn’t really know how to differentiate them from another. In the world of fulfillment, there’s vast differences in general operations, regulations, and even philosophy.

As part of any B2B versus B2C fulfillment discussion, you can go into considerable detail about how they differ. It’s a good practice to understand the differences so you can determine which aspect to business to focus on when locating a fulfillment center.

Locating a fulfillment center takes a lot of vetting, and understanding what B2B and B2C centers do can help you make better business decisions. We can help you with that here at Intelligent Connections Corp.

But let’s look at some of the definitions in what truly divides the B2B and B2C worlds. You’ll understand that B2B works on a very different emotional track, along with stricter rules. At the same time, you’ll realize B2C does a better job at providing special shipping features to customers.

How B2B Fulfillment Works

The B2B industry caters strictly to shipping items to other businesses, and that usually means shipping in bulk supply. That’s because businesses usually buy products in advance so they don’t have to buy items on a daily basis. This means supplying products to another company for resale purposes, including to many big-box stores.

Fulfillment centers take care of the above process and usually have central focus on speed of shipping. While shipping speed is always important in a B2B fulfillment center, it sometimes means placing efficiency above nurturing supreme customer service.

One reason for the attention on fulfillment speed is because of the complicated routing procedures warehouses need to follow. Rules and regulations for B2B fulfillment are quite complex and involve a lot of penalties if fulfillment rules aren’t followed.

What’s known as “charge backs” to fulfillment centers for not following procedures correctly can end up causing a lot of headaches.

Many big-box stores require B2B fulfillment centers to stay compliant with EDI (an acronym for Electronic Data Interchange), plus compliance for barcodes, parcel labels, and invoices. As a result, B2B fulfillment is more complex than the B2C fulfillment process by far.

How B2C Fulfillment Works

For B2C fulfillment, it’s all about sending to a customer rather than a business. This already simplifies much of the shipping process since there aren’t as many rules and regulations involved. B2C fulfillment cares about speed and accuracy in shipping, though there’s usually more attention on providing special features for customers.

The above occurs through more customer-oriented features like offering free shipping and even same-day shipping. Regardless, most B2C fulfillment orders are one-time orders, which is different from B2B where long-term relationships occur.

It’s here where you can see some additional divides between B2B and B2C fulfillment that extend into basic operations.

Some Other Differences to Note

Transactions are one of the major differences between B2B and B2C fulfillment. When you look at the size of orders, B2B generally has a smaller order volume because of businesses buying in bulk. B2C fulfillment usually means a larger volume of orders at a time, which can make shipping more stressful, especially during the holiday season.

With reference to emotion earlier, you can see the widest divide of all. B2C fulfillment goes by impulse buys. In B2B, businesses buy based on more carefully considered factors and research without much emotion.

The important thing is to find a fulfillment center that provides the technology you need to make the concepts above work efficiently. Contact us here at Intelligent Connections Corp so we can connect you with a thoroughly screened warehouse for your B2B or B2C business needs.