Business-to-business (B2B) 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 transactions is much higher than the volume of B2C transactions. The primary reason for this is that in a typical supply chain there will be many B2B transactions involving subcomponent 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 windshields, and rubber hoses for its vehicles. The final transaction, a finished vehicle sold to the consumer, is a single (B2C) transaction.
Internet-based business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce is conducted through industry-sponsored marketplaces and through private exchanges set up by large companies for their suppliers and customers. Of course, companies also sell to business customers through their own Web sites.
Business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce is significantly different from business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce. While B2C merchants sell on a first-come, first-served basis, most B2B commerce is done through negotiated contracts that allow the seller to anticipate and plan for how much the buyer will purchase. In some cases B2B is not so much a matter of generating revenue as it is a matter of making connections with business partners.