Business-to-Business or B2B
Business-to-business transactions, or B2B, is a sales model wherein products and services are exchanged between established businesses, rather than between businesses and individual or small-time consumers. Depending on the nature and size of businesses involved, B2B transactions are often entered into as long-term arrangements and are often a major source of income for sellers due to consequent brand loyalty from the buyer.
While B2B sales have been on the rise in recent years, it is not entirely new. Traditionally, sellers from one business will hold demos of their products at the request of a potential buyer and will subsequently try to close a long-term agreement with them. Sometimes, purchasing businesses even conduct a bidding to identify the best possible offer from multiple sellers.
Generally, B2B involves the purchase and sale of much higher volumes of either hardware (i.e. machinery, production supplies, telephone units, etc.) or specialized services (i.e. external audit, bookkeeping, maintenance, security, etc.) than the average consumer. Consequently, traditional B2B transactions are often long-term, if not permanent.
B2B in the Internet Age
With the emergence of the Internet as a reliable merchandising tool, B2B transactions have become commonplace. Because the information about a product is available on-demand from the seller’s side, potential buyers can shop at their convenience and with reduced, if any, risk.
Some online sites that help businesses find services and products more easily include:
- Search engines, i.e. Google, Yahoo!, or Bing
- Direct selling or dedicated broker sites, i.e. Amazon, Alibaba
- Social networking, i.e. LinkedIn, Reddit
Aside from websites, businesses can adopt other web-based practices such as voice-over-internet protocols (VOIP) and computer-telephony integration (CTI) that allow them to engage potential buyers remotely—even from across the globe.
Remote B2B cannot completely replace traditional B2B when it comes to hardware and personnel services. However, the former is now the modern standard for acquiring soft products and services, such as computer software, virtual assistance, and IT support, to name a few.
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