What is Business-to-Business E-Commerce? - Definition & Examples

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C) e-Commerce: Definition, Business Model & Examples

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:47 E-Distributor
  • 1:35 E-Procurement
  • 2:32 Exchange
  • 2:59 Industry Consortium
  • 3:29 Private Industrial Network
  • 4:13 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Shawn Grimsley

Shawn has a masters of public administration, JD, and a BA in political science.

Some businesses primarily serve other businesses instead of consumers, and business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce has become an increasingly important means of providing that service. In this lesson, you'll learn about B2B e-commerce.

B2B E-Commerce Defined

Elisa is the president of an auto manufacturing company. Her company requires many different types of goods and services that it procures from other companies. These types of transactions are called business-to-business (B2B) commerce because it is commerce between two different businesses rather than a business and a consumer.

An ever-growing share of Elisa's B2B transactions is e-commerce transactions. E-commerce involves commercial activities transacted through the Internet. B2B e-commerce is simply business-to-business commercial transactions that are conducted online. Let's take a quick look at the type of B2B e-commerce transactions conducted by Elisa's company.


Elisa's company relies on some e-distributors, online businesses that provide goods and services directly for Elisa's company. For example, her company produces different types of motor vehicles that require different components, such as steel, plastic, fiberglass, engine components, tires and entertainment systems.

Just like traditional brick and mortar distributors, some e-distributors are retailers, while others provide wholesale goods. For example, while the parts ordered for the production of the company's autos are provided by a wholesale e-distributor, the company's office supplies are provided by a retail e-distributer. Let's take a look at some other e-commerce options on how e-commerce may be transacted.


As mentioned earlier, Elisa's auto company needs to procure a wide variety of goods and services in order to manufacture its vehicles. E-procurement can help Elisa do this efficiently. E-procurement is an e-commerce business model where a business creates a digital marketplace where buyers and suppliers can engage in sales transactions. You can kind of think of it as Etsy for businesses, though businesses often pay for the access.

Aside from creating the online market place, the e-procurement business may also provide specialized software to help suppliers and their customers transact business, such as e-invoicing, e-auctions, e-payment, e-catalogues and order tracking, among others. In Elisa's case, her company may decide to use an e-procurement service to acquire a variety of auto parts. However, there are other options available. Let's take a look.


Elisa's company sometimes may turn to an electronic exchange. An exchange provides a marketplace that is focused on serving one vertical market, such as the steel market, chemical market or copper market. It's different from e-procurement because it's more narrowly focused. Elisa's company may utilize an exchange to acquire raw inputs, such as copper wire or steel that it will machine into engine components.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account