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Supply Chain differs on a B2C site compared to a B2B site

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Supply Chain differs on a B2C site compared to a B2B site

Post  Pete2002 on Mon Jan 25, 2010 3:11 am

With the popularity of the Internet has come a metamorphosis for brick-and-mortar businesses. They have seen the necessity to move business opportunities to the Web. Customer purchases of products and services over the internet have greatly increased, including travel, music, auctions, attorneys, and banking industries etc. Also, businesses have seen a benefit in handling paperwork electronically and are shifting to an electronic based supply chain. This paper will explain what Business to Business (B2B) and Business to Customer (B2C) means, as well as show the supply chains differ.
A supply chain consists of all parties involved, directly or indirectly, in fulfilling a customer request. The supply chain not only includes the manufacturer and suppliers, but also transporters, warehouses, retailers, and customers themselves. Within each organization, such as manufacturer, the supply chain includes all functions involved in receiving and filling a customer request. These functions include, but are not limited to, new product development, marketing, operations, distribution, finance, and customer service. The supply chain had moved towards IT-based managing and many of the steps in the supply chain now can be done electronically. This saves the company time, money, and reduces human error and oversight.

On the Internet, B2B (business-to-business), also known as e-biz, is the exchange of products, services, or information between businesses rather than between businesses and consumers. B2B websites can be sorted into: Company Web Sites, Product Supply and Procurement Exchanges, Specialized or Vertical Industry Portals, Brokering Sites, and Information Sites. Company Web Sites, since the target audience for many company Web sites is other companies and their employees. Company sites can be thought of as round-the-clock mini-trade exhibits. Sometimes a company Web sites serves as the entrance to an exclusive extranet available only to customers or registered site users. Some company Web sites sell directly from the site, effectively e-tailing to other businesses. Product supply and procurement exchanges, where a company purchasing agent can shop for supplies from vendors, request proposals, and, in some cases, bid to make a purchase at a desired price. Sometimes referred to as e-procurement sites, some serve a range of industries and others focus on a niche market. Specialized or vertical industry portals which provide a “subWeb” of information, product listings, discussion groups, and other features. These vertical portal sites have a broader purpose than the procurement sites. Information sites which provide information about a particular industry for its companies and their employees, these include specialized search sites and trade and industry standards organization sites. Many B2B sites may seem to fall into more than one of these groups. Models for B2B sites are still evolving. B2B is e-commerce between businesses as well.
B2C is short for business-to-consumer, or the retailing part of e-commerce on the Internet. One of the most notorious differences between B2B and B2C sites might be in most cases that the B2B companies do not see themselves as e-business participants. Perhaps one of the reasons could be the fact that most B2B websites do not have shopping carts. In most of the cases, the traditional B2B product cannot be purchased through the usual “Add to Cart” button. The usual B2B product often needs to be custom-made, or require other kinds of hand-made fabrication. Another reason could be that prices might not be fixed but rather adjusted to each buyer. Nevertheless, the lack of the “Add to Cart” button does not necessarily mean that all B2B websites are totally forgotten and not kept up-to-date. The B2B websites must still support the many other steps in the buying process including the post-sale stages, which are very important to the buyers’ long-term brand loyalty. (Golden, 2007)
On a B2C site, every single design decision affects their sales, the site’s conversion rate, and other things like the size of the average shopping cart. Almost all of the B2C sites are religious about the e-business usability regulations. B2C sites are aware of how much business they are loosing from their own statistics due to poor design, the lack of user-friendliness, or the lack of abidance to usability regulations. In contrast, most B2B transactions are not closed online and require physical contact with tangible invoices and final products before the final steps of the purchase are closed. A company must conduct surveys of it’s users in order for it to know how much business it is loosing and most B2B companies that do their business online just do not do it. (Franz, 2006)
The average B2B website is not very user-friendly and/or supportive with customers. As a result, the lack of value that the prospects see in the sites turns them away instead of bringing them in and turning them into good leads. The good news is that websites can dramatically enhance their business value by simply following the usability regulations religiously just like B2C sites do. It is time to upgrade B2B websites to a higher more acceptable quality level in order to please the customers and create more leads.

Golden, Michelle (2007) Golden Practices. Extracted from the World Wide Web on 10/04/2007 from:
Franz, Nora (03/28/2006) How to Market Your B2B/B2C Web Site. Extracted from the World Wide Web on 10/05/2007 from:


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