Business-to-business describes commerce transactions between businesses, such as between a manufacturer and a wholesaler, or between a wholesaler and a retailer. Contrasting terms are business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-government (B2G).

The volume of B2B (Business-to-Business) transactions is much higher than the volume of B2C transactions.
The primary reason for this is that in a typical supply chain
Supply chain
A supply chain is a system of organizations, people, technology, activities, information and resources involved in moving a product or service from supplier to customer. Supply chain activities transform natural resources, raw materials and components into a finished product that is delivered to...

 there will be many B2B transactions involving sub components or raw materials, and only one B2C transaction, specifically sale of the finished product to the end customer. For example, an automobile manufacturer makes several B2B transactions such as buying tires, glass for windscreens, and rubber hoses for its vehicles. The final transaction, a finished vehicle sold to the consumer, is a single (B2C) transaction.

B2B is also used in the context of communication and collaboration. Many businesses are now using social media to connect with their consumers (B2C); however, they are now using similar tools within the business so employees can connect with one another. When communication is taking place amongst employees, this can be referred to as "B2B" communication.


The term was originally coined to describe the electronic communications between business
A business is an organization engaged in the trade of goods, services, or both to consumers. Businesses are predominant in capitalist economies, where most of them are privately owned and administered to earn profit to increase the wealth of their owners. Businesses may also be not-for-profit...

es or enterprises
An organization is a social group which distributes tasks for a collective goal. The word itself is derived from the Greek word organon, itself derived from the better-known word ergon - as we know `organ` - and it means a compartment for a particular job.There are a variety of legal types of...

 in order to distinguish it from the communication
Communication is the activity of conveying meaningful information. Communication requires a sender, a message, and an intended recipient, although the receiver need not be present or aware of the sender's intent to communicate at the time of communication; thus communication can occur across vast...

s between businesses and consumers ("business-to-consumer"). It eventually came to be used in marketing
Marketing is the process used to determine what products or services may be of interest to customers, and the strategy to use in sales, communications and business development. It generates the strategy that underlies sales techniques, business communication, and business developments...

 as well, initially describing only industrial or capital goods marketing. Today it is widely used to describe all products and services used by enterprises. Many professional institutions and the trade publications focus much more on B2C than B2B, although most sales and marketing personnel are in the B2B sector.

See also

  • Business-to-consumer
  • Business-to-employee
    Business-to-employee electronic commerce uses an intrabusiness network which allows companies to provide products and/or services to their employees...

  • Center for E-Commerce Infrastructure Development
    Center for E-Commerce Infrastructure Development
    Founded in January 2002, the Center for E-Commerce Infrastructure Development is a research and development center in the University of Hong Kong committed to promoting e-commerce infrastructure development and standardization...

  • Consumer-to-consumer
    Consumer-to-consumer electronic commerce involves the electronically facilitated transactions between consumers through some third party. A common example is the online auction, in which a consumer posts an item for sale and other consumers bid to purchase it; the third party generally charges a...

  • E-business
  • E-Business XML (ebXML)
  • Electronic Commerce
    Electronic commerce
    Electronic commerce, commonly known as e-commerce, eCommerce or e-comm, refers to the buying and selling of products or services over electronic systems such as the Internet and other computer networks. However, the term may refer to more than just buying and selling products online...

  • Electronic Data Interchange
    Electronic Data Interchange
    Electronic data interchange is the structured transmission of data between organizations by electronic means. It is used to transfer electronic documents or business data from one computer system to another computer system, i.e...

  • Empty Vessel
    Empty vessel
    The phrase "empty vessel" literally means a container with nothing inside.It has additional significance in various areas.-In literature:The quotation, "As empty vessels make the loudest sound, so they that have the least wit are the greatest blabbers," is from the Greek philosopher...

  • Online shopping
  • Private Electronic Market
    Private electronic market
    A private electronic market uses the Internet to connect a limited number or pre-qualified buyers or sellers in one market. PEMs are a hybrid between perfectly open markets A private electronic market (PEM) uses the Internet to connect a limited number or pre-qualified buyers or sellers in one...

  • UN/CEFACT's Modeling Methodology (UMM)
    UN/CEFACT's Modeling Methodology (UMM)
    UN/CEFACT's Modeling Methodology, commonly known as UMM is a modeling methodology which is developed by UN/CEFACT - United Nations Center for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business.-Goal of UMM:...

  • NICC B2B
  • B2B e-Marketplace
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