What is the difference between B2B and B2C stores?

The main difference between a B2B store and B2C trade lies in the target group and the associated business processes. B2C sales to end consumers have many transactions with a rather low value of goods. B2B sales to business customers involve more orders and more complex contracts. This leads to different requirements in terms of product presentation, pricing, payment terms and customer service.

Differences between B2B and B2C customers

The customers:

  • B2B: companies, manufacturers, retailers
  • B2C: End consumer

Purchase decision processes:

  • B2B: More complex, often with multiple decision makers and a longer sales cycle. Depending on many factors.
  • B2C: Easier, faster and sometimes spontaneous individual decisions.


  • B2B: Focus on demand-oriented advertising and relationship building.
  • B2C: Focus on targeted mass marketing and branding.

The pricing:

  • B2B: Individual prices and negotiations.
  • B2C: Fixed prices.

In the sales relationship:

  • B2B: Long-term relationships with key persons are important.
  • B2C: Relationships are usually short-term.

In the order:

  • B2B: Ordering multiple units, deadline orders and budget limits.
  • B2C: Immediate purchase of individual units.
B2C online store
B2C online store

How wholesalers build the perfect B2B store!

In an increasingly digitalized economy, B2B trade is becoming more and more important. While the concept of B2C online trading is already established, B2B e-commerce is becoming increasingly important and requires special solutions.

Share of sales B2B e-commerce wholesale Germany
EHI-Handelsdaten.de ➚ – Share of B2B e-commerce wholesale sales in Germany

The statistics show the B2B sales share of e-commerce in total B2B wholesale sales for Germany (excluding motor vehicle retail) in the years 2010 to 2020 (in percent). In 2019, companies in the wholesale sector generated 13.2% of their sales online and are recording growth every year.

It is therefore very interesting for a wholesaler to also offer his business online.

Building a successful B2B online store for wholesalers in e-commerce requires precise planning and a strategic approach. B2B business differs fundamentally from B2C trade, as the requirements of wholesalers are the main focus here.

The B2B online store for wholesalers should be user-friendly, offer individual prices, special offers, employee rights and product catalogs. Through targeted marketing and effective customer retention, B2B wholesalers can build long-term business relationships with companies and achieve sustainable success in e-commerce.

What do online retailers need to consider?

Online retailers in the B2B segment must be aware that B2B customers often want a closer relationship and personal support. This requires a customized software user interface for transactions and good accessibility. There are also forward orders, collective orders, fixed approval procedures and international shipping. Transparent pricing and the ability to negotiate volume discounts are also very important.

Requirements for B2B retailers for online sales

Product catalog and descriptions: A comprehensive product catalog with detailed descriptions is important so that B2B customers can easily identify and understand the products. This may include technical data, specifications, images and videos to give a complete picture of the product.

Large inventories: Wholesalers must have a large inventory in order to be able to fulfill the order quantities of B2B customers. You need fast procurement logistics so that supply chains are not interrupted and B2B customers can rely on deliveries.

Order processing: Incoming orders from B2B customers must be processed reliably. This requires employees, a warehouse and resources to fulfill the order on time. The wholesaler can do this themselves or outsource it to a specialized service provider who handles the entire fulfillment for the B2B retailer. While the transportation of pallets and containers is often handled by freight forwarders in contract logistics. Customs agencies organize the customs clearance of the goods on behalf of the forwarding agent.

B2B online store
B2B online store

What solutions must a B2B online store offer?

A successful B2B online store should offer certain functions. This includes personalized catalogs, fast ordering processes, individual pricing, flexible payment options and an efficient customer management system for managing contacts and orders. The most important requirements for a B2B store at a glance.

Ease of use:

  • Intuitive navigation
  • Efficient search function
  • Clear product information
  • Simple ordering process

Customized functions:

  • Individual prices and discounts
  • Multi-level user administration
  • Order history and tracking
  • Quick order, scheduled orders and wish lists

Security and data protection:

  • SSL certificate
  • PCI DSS compliance for credit card security
  • EU GDPR compliance

Performance and scalability:

  • Fast loading times
  • High scalability
  • Certified safety standards

Interfaces to connect third-party providers:

  • ERP systems,
  • PIM systems for product catalogs,
  • B2B marketplaces,
  • CRM systems for customer management,
  • AI and AI for artificial intelligence and business intelligence software.

Additional requirements:

  • Multilingualism and multiple currencies
  • Mobile optimization
  • Transnational taxes and customs duties
  • Comprehensive support for your customers

E-commerce software for B2B store solutions

B2B2 e-commerce software solutions are specially tailored to the needs of B2B retailers. Well-known solutions include CosmoShop, BigCommerce B2B and SAP Commerce Cloud. This special B2B commerce software offers many of the important functions. Below you will find an overview of other B2B store systems.

Adobe B2B Commerce ➚

Advantages of the B2B online solution from Adobe (Magento):

  • Merchandising tools
  • Customized catalogs
  • Assign content to specific target groups
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
  • Account management
  • Offer management
  • Marketing Automation
  • One system for B2B and B2C companies
  • Extensive APIs
  • Many ready-to-use extensions
  • Punchout Catalog
  • EU-DSGVO compliant

You can test the Adobe B2B software solution free of charge before you set up the store. You can also commission an agency such as 7thSENSE or dotSource to set up the platform.

OroCommerce ➚

Advantages of the B2B online solution from OroCommerce:

  • Individual customer prices
  • Product catalog
  • Order processing
  • Availability check
  • Delivery tracking
  • Integrated CRM
  • EU-DSGVO compliant

You can use OroCommerce as a free OpenSource version or the paid version. Agencies such as DieProduktMacher, Erik Hunold or Alexander Steireif GmbH will help you set up your store.

B2B Shopify Plus ➚

Advantages of the B2B online solution from Shopify Plus:

  • Customized product display
  • Personalized B2B store
  • Quantity rules
  • Price lists
  • Net payment terms
  • Company meta fields
  • Easy reordering
  • Flexibility in payment
  • From check-out to design
  • Deposited credit cards
  • Customizable B2B logic
  • Self-service purchasing
  • Global expansion
  • Individual B2B app solutions ➚

Shopify is already installed in the cloud and is only available for a fee. Agencies such as Heros Commerce GmbH or e-commerce ONE can help with setting up the store.

Shopware B2B ➚

Advantages of the B2B solution from Shopware:

  • Rights and role management
  • Request for quotations
  • Individual product catalog
  • Digital salesrooms
  • Customized pricing
  • Support for multilingualism
  • Automated workflows
  • Extensive search and filter functions
  • Seamless integration of existing ERP, CRM, PIM or BI systems
  • EU-DSGVO compliant

Shopware B2B can be tested free of charge for 30 days. You can set up the store system yourself or have it created by an agency such as intoCommerce.

OXID B2B Edition ➚

Advantages of the B2B online solution from Oxid:

  • Multi-shop and multi-client capability
  • Targeted marketing campaigns and sales
  • Plan and optimize the management of the procurement structure
  • Individual product ranges, catalogs and prices for customers
  • Quick and easy order processing
  • Time and location-independent orders via barcode scanner
  • Extensive search and filter functions
  • Connection to external systems such as ERP, CRM or PIM system
  • EU-DSGVO compliant

The OXID B2B Edition is subject to a charge and offers customized solutions. For your B2B store, you will find agencies such as the Norisk Group, CGRD GmbH or DIXENO GmbH to help you set it up.

Sylius B2B Suite ➚

Advantages of the B2B online solution from Sylius:

  • Direct debit
  • Extended order management
  • Employee management
  • Create multiple price lists
  • Fast shopping function
  • Several wish lists
  • Import/export interfaces
  • EU-DSGVO compliant

Sylius B2B Suite can be used as open source software or as a paid Plus version. Contacts to developers and agencies such as infolox or punkt.de are offered.

Pepperi B2B trading platform ➚

Advantages of the B2B online solution from Pepperi:

  • Management of product catalogs
  • Price lists, many payment options
  • Omnichannel capable
  • Order management
  • Cross-selling and up-selling of articles
  • Flexible sales strategies
  • Customer management (CRM)
  • Platform as a web and native mobile application
  • GPS navigation to the customer
  • Open API

The cloud-based Pepperie B2B trading platform with its extensive functions can be used for as little as €500 per month.

Other B2B platforms are for example

  • TrueCommerce from Bavaria,
  • Logicommerce,
  • Ecoplan and
  • Oracle Netsuite.

B2B store functions for existing store systems

There are extensions that can be retrofitted to existing store systems. There are modules for the JTL Shop, WooCommerce or PrestaShop that can be installed retrospectively. If the B2B business is only an additional offer, these modules may be sufficient.

However, in B2B business, legal aspects such as general terms and conditions or withdrawal instructions must also be adapted. This is not always easy with the expansion of modules in an existing online store. It is therefore often advisable to choose a pure B2B software solution if this is the core business. More B2B software with OMR reviews on“The 7 best B2B store systems in comparison ➚”.

B2B store examples

A few well-known B2B online store examples:

  • Amazon Business: Amazon Business is a special platform from Amazon for business customers.
  • Alibaba: Alibaba is one of the largest B2B trading platforms in the world.
  • Grainger: Grainger is a leading B2B supplier of industrial supplies and equipment in North America.
  • Zoro: Zoro is a B2B online platform for industrial supplies and equipment that offers a wide range of products for companies and professionals.
  • Würth: Würth is a leading global supplier of assembly and fastening materials.
  • Hoffmann Group: The Hoffmann Group is a European B2B supplier of tools, factory equipment and C-parts.
  • Jungheinrich: Jungheinrich is one of the world’s leading suppliers of material handling equipment and warehousing systems.
  • Klöckner: Klöckner is one of the world’s leading steel traders. Klöckner’s B2B store offers over 100,000 products online.
  • Alternate: Alternate offers a comprehensive B2B online range for business customers, the self-employed and public authorities. The B2B store offers electronics such as hardware, software and a comprehensive service.

What does a B2B store cost?

B2B stores cost slightly more than an ordinary store system. The costs for a B2B store can vary depending on the provider and range of functions, but often start at €2000 per month.

Smaller companies may be able to start with monthly subscription fees, while larger companies are more likely to need customized solutions that require a higher investment at the beginning.

Conclusion: Overall, B2B e-commerce offers a promising opportunity for retailers to expand their business and make it more efficient. By taking B2B customer needs into account, online retailers with a good online store can gain a competitive edge and build long-term customer relationships.

FAQ - B2B Shop

  • Was sind B2B Shops?

    B2B Shops oder Business-to-Business Online-Shops, sind E-Commerce-Plattformen, die darauf spezialisiert sind, Produkte und Dienstleistungen an andere Unternehmen zu verkaufen. Im Gegensatz zu B2C (Business-to-Consumer) Online-Shops, die sich an Endverbraucher richten, konzentrieren sich B2B Shops auf den Handel zwischen Unternehmen.

  • Was ist ein B2C Shop?

    Ein B2C Shop (Business-to-Consumer) der sich mit dem Verkauf der Produkte an Endkunden richtet.

  • Was ist eine B2B-Plattform?

    Eine B2B-Plattform (Business-to-Business-Plattform) ist eine digitale Handelsplattform, die speziell darauf ausgerichtet ist, den Handel und die Geschäftsbeziehungen zwischen Unternehmen zu erleichtern. Auf einer B2B-Plattform können Unternehmen Produkte und Dienstleistungen kaufen, verkaufen und austauschen sowie Geschäftspartner finden und Geschäftsbeziehungen aufbauen.

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