B2B Fulfillment: A Detailed Guide Including Definition, Processes, Differences with B2C Fulfillment and Use Cases of B2B Order Fulfillment in 2022

Understanding the differences between B2B and B2C fulfillment and the roles they play in the supply chain may be difficult at first if you’re new to the industry. Both of them deal with inbound and outbound logistics processes.

B2C fulfillment focuses on smaller orders, whereas B2B fulfillment is primarily concerned with less frequent orders but larger product quantities. B2B fulfillment is also subject to stricter rules and depending on a number of variables, the costs involved can be much higher. Compliance regulations for B2B businesses may include tax laws, product limitations, SKU codes, shipping labels, barcodes or a particular invoicing system. Shipments might be anticipated to cost more and take longer to arrive because orders are larger and bulkier.

Let us look at the ins and outs of B2B order fulfillment and how it should be done to get better results.

What is B2B Fulfillment?

B2B eCommerce fulfillment is the process by which products are transported directly to a business or another retailer. Orders are often placed in bulk so that the receiving company can have adequate inventory to sell. Businesses usually order in advance and in large quantities to save time and money by avoiding the need to constantly place purchase orders.

If you decide to use a 3PL to fulfill your B2B orders, they should prioritize reliable and quick delivery. eCommerce sellers need these fulfillment providers to be optimized to enable cost reduction and greater efficiency because of the nature of B2B order fulfillment. They are essential to be able to fulfill orders on time. A 3PL’s delays and poor management might result in penalties, refund losses that they would be required to provide and damage to the reputation of the company they represent.

WareIQ – Amazon-prime Like Logistics for Modern Brands in India

WareIQ, an eCommerce fulfillment company, empowers online brands with a superior-tech platform to compete with Amazon like service levels by bringing their average delivery timelines from 5-10 days to 1-2 days.

"With WareIQ’s full stack digital enabled fulfillment solution, we got access to the pan India network of fulfillment centers & cold storage facilities enabling same/next day delivery, without any upfront investment in supply chain infrastructure from our end. During the IPL campaign in April 2022, WareIQ efficiently handled unpredictable 200x surges in daily order volumes of ~20k/day with a 99% fulfillment rate. With WareIQ as our preferred fulfillment partner, we witnessed 172% growth in online order volume in just 4 months, with a significant improvement in the overall customer experience in fulfillment."
- Damanbir Singh, Product & Operations Head, Lil’Goodness

Working Processes of B2B Fulfillment

The B2B sector is solely concerned with transporting goods to other companies and shipping in bulk to avoid purchases on a frequent basis. It includes providing goods to other businesses for resale, including to numerous big-box retailers.

The B2B fulfillment process is handled by fulfillment centers, which critically emphasize speedy shipment. In B2B fulfillment companies, quick shipping is always vital but there are times when efficiency must be prioritized over providing excellent customer care.

A factor for focusing on fulfillment speed is the complicated routing processes that warehouses must follow. B2B fulfillment regulations are very complicated and can result in severe losses, if not followed. It can be very stressful to deal with chargebacks to fulfillment facilities for improperly following the correct procedures.

Electronic Data Interchange, also known as EDI, is required by many big-box retailers for B2B fulfillment centers, in addition to compliance with barcodes, shipping labels, and invoices. As a result, B2B fulfillment is far more difficult to complete than B2C fulfillment.

B2B vs B2C Fulfillment: Key Differences

Fulfillment StageCategoriesB2B FulfillmentB2C Fulfillment
Pre-PurchaseProduct CostB2B orders are priced based on the needs and specifications of the customer's business; this can vary significantly depending on the order's size, frequency of reorders, conditions of payment and length of the contractual arrangement. Because retailers buy in bulk and advertise the product through their own channels, they frequently set a wholesale price that arises from the difference of the retail price when selling to them.B2C orders are simpler to complete because the product business sets the price per unit, which hardly ever changes.
Income Per ClientWhen it comes to buying raw materials and machinery components, B2B shipments typically involve huge, bulk purchases. As a result, B2B orders can involve huge amounts of money and be recurring.B2C order fulfillment deals with smaller items, typically in larger numbers and fragmented orders. As a result, B2C transactions often involve a smaller amount of money and are typically one-time purchases
Sales SupportA sales coordinator or account manager frequently aids in the B2B trade of goods. The fact that there are more people facilitating this contact makes it possible to provide B2B order fulfillment with more service and support.B2C typically requires little to no sales support because orders are frequently placed directly by the end-user through an eCommerce platform or directly on the sellers website.
PurchasePurchase and Sales ProcessThe B2B sales process frequently takes longer because it requires departmental permission, negotiation, requests for quotations and other compliances. The majority of retailers have a group of "buyers" who are in charge of selecting the goods they believe would increase sales and profit margins for their business, obtaining volume discounts from the seller and overseeing the ongoing business relationship with them.In B2C retail, customers search for items as per their needs and they will pay full price if they really need it or if they find that the value of the product suits its price. Here, buyers browse through several stores and buy when they find a good deal with an easy checkout process.
Order VolumeB2B shipments are often in high volumes but are ordered less frequently. The items will be individually sold by the retailer through their physical location or online store. Therefore, they will only place additional orders when they need to replenish stock in their fulfillment centers.B2C orders are significantly smaller and frequently processed in a single transaction.
PaymentsB2B transactions typically involve standard payment methods like credit, purchase orders or COD over an agreed-upon time period.For B2C transactions, payment is mostly made right away at the point of sale via credit card, check, cash or other payment methods that are provided by the seller.
Post-PurchaseOrder Processing and DeliveryB2B transactions include larger shipments so the loading and unloading of a bunch of products takes longer, is more expensive and requires specialized handling equipment. The majority of big-box stores, including Walmart and IKEA, have very stringent guidelines, often known as route instructions for ‘when’ and ‘how’ they get their merchandise. Deviations from these routing instructions may result in retailer penalties such as chargebacks, smaller subsequent purchases, and relationship termination. The vendor or 3PL they have collaborated with must make sure they comprehend and follow the contractual terms. Contrarily, B2C order fulfillment is inexpensive, and a single order can be filled much more quickly, despite larger items also being frequently ordered by consumers, as the majority of orders are much smaller in comparison.
Customer RelationsBuilding trusted relationships with the merchants selling your goods is important for the business. The majority of B2B contracts involve sizable, regular shipments and close alliances that are negotiated over time and necessitate constant follow-ups and monitoring.These positive, interpersonal connections need to be made for client satisfaction, in terms of B2C orders. To improve the customer experience, marketing, customer service, product listings, information, as well as on-time delivery and precise order fulfillment, retailers need to make an effort to provide a personal experience to customers.
ReturnsDue to the higher-order size, different contract types, and negotiated commitments in B2B orders, the reverse logistics procedure becomes more challenging.In B2C transactions, clear return and refund procedures are included because it is more feasible.

Use Cases of B2B Fulfillment for eCommerce Businesses

Due to the benefits that many firms are realizing from online product ordering, the B2B eCommerce fulfillment market is expanding. Now is the best time to provide B2B products if you want to grow your e-commerce company, get a competitive edge, and enhance B2B fulfillment services.

Businesses With Small Products

Maybe you get shipments of a few wholesale orders to your different small stores each month. If so, you might not require a B2B fulfillment-focused warehouse. Like big-box merchants, small shops do not need to have tight inbound freight needs. If your products are small, you can ship wholesale orders by a common carrier. This B2B fulfillment can likely be handled by your B2C fulfillment center.

Businesses With FTL Orders

B2B fulfillment services are required if you ship LTL or FTL (full truckload) orders. You will need to create a B2B fulfillment protocol if you have an account with a major retailer. It is crucial to complete the paperwork correctly, and doing so can be expensive. Put your B2B fulfillment plan in place even if you don’t yet have the necessary accounts, in case your business plan includes selling to major chain retailers. You’ll be prepared to act when you get a big wholesale account.

Online Wholesalers

The market for wholesale eCommerce is expanding. To more easily access the wholesale market, several internet retailers are launching online wholesale stores. Although wholesale margins are smaller, you can compensate for it by placing bigger orders. A small number of lucrative wholesale accounts can significantly increase your profit margin. In general, customer service is less necessary in B2B sales. Additionally, a happy B2B customer will frequently place additional orders, saving you the occasionally high customer acquisition fees for retail consumers.

Are you interested in expanding into the lucrative B2B market? You can grow your firm to new heights with the assistance of outsourced logistics providers. Setting yourself up for B2B fulfillment will pay off in the long run for your company.

Conclusion: Role of WareIQ in Helping eCommerce Retailers With B2B Order Fulfillment

Do you require specialized B2B fulfillment for your eCommerce business?

If you have a variety of customers, including other businesses, then yes. It would be helpful to partner with a third-party logistics firm, whether you distribute primarily to customers or other retailers. While managing your inventory and selling processes, WareIQ also helps you to secure the right amount of inventory from the best manufacturers, wholesalers and other merchants.

b2b fulfillment_How WareIQ optimises speed delivery

When it comes to B2B order fulfillment services, accuracy is the most important factor and with WareIQ, accuracy is guaranteed with our extensive use of advanced technology such as our custom WMS.

WareIQ can help you forecast demand, determine how much inventory you need to store at a time and can automate your reorder process, in addition to managing your inventory.

B2b Fulfillment: FAQs