The acronym b2b (b-to-b or btb too) stands for business-to-business and describes business relationships between two or more companies. Therefore, this kind of business relationship represents the contrary of business relationships between companies and other groups such as consumers (b2c or business-to-consumer). A concrete example of a b2b trade is when a company produces leather goods and does not sell its products in a store or on an online shop to individuals, but only to other companies, for example wholesalers. Here the business relation occurs between two companies, so the “business to business”.

The term b2b has to be analyzed mainly in connection with marketing. Marketing, which is related to a business relationship to another company, in the past was denominated as industrial goods marketing or capital goods marketing. In the meantime, however, the term b2b marketing prevailed. For this reason, the notion is limited to the traditional consumer goods marketing (b2b marketing).

Differences to b2c

The types of business, b2b or b2c, depends in particular on a company marketing. Private individuals have normally to be addressed in a different way than companies. Nowadays, b2b marketing does not show anymore too many differences to b2c marketing. Nowadays after all, even the marketing to other companies outrun the simple information providing about products and services. In the field of b2b marketing too, are employed increasingly and purposeful marketing measures, brand structures and emotional addresses to target groups.

Digitalization in b2b

Thanks to a progressive digitalization, electronic communication between companies has constantly moved forward in the last years. Nowadays, this means much more than only communicating via e-mail or skype. Companies aspire to an increasingly stronger mutual networking, including a wide variety of business processes. For example, orders by suppliers are automatically provided after an inventory comparison, without the extra involvement of an employee during the order process.