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B2B2C (business-to-business-to-consumer)

Contributor(s): David Essex

B2B2C (business-to-business-to-consumer) extends the B2B (business-to-business) model to include e-commerce for consumers. The goal is to create a mutually beneficial relationship between suppliers of goods and services and online retailers.

B2B2C can help a company market its product or service more effectively by entering a B2B relationship with a company whose expertise is selling online -- a B2C (Business2Consumer or Business-to-Consumer) company. In return, the B2C company is able to offer its customers more options. Often, a third entity serves as a middleman to move goods between the provider and the e-commerce vendor or to aggregate customers the other two parties want to reach.

In a B2B2C arrangement, the product or service provider might pay the B2C e-commerce company for sales leads, actual sales or the names of users of its e-commerce site, or for help building brand recognition. The B2C company might also earn a share of the revenue from the products and services it sells, or gain new customers who are interested in the business partner's offerings.

B2B2C can raise significant issues of integrating the business processes and IT systems of the partners, especially back-end systems, such as accounting, ERP and warehouse management. Transactions on the e-commerce site might need to be recorded in the back-end systems of the partner company. Price changes in ERP might have to be reflected on the e-commerce site.

Vendors of enterprise e-commerce platforms that have omnichannel features, among them Demandware, IBM, Oracle and SAP Hybris, are the main purveyors of B2B2C technology, though some ERP vendors also offer it. Industries that have traditionally relied on distribution channels and resellers, including manufacturing and pharmaceuticals, are considered prime candidates for B2B2C.

This was last updated in February 2016

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