What is Business-To-Business Retail?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 15 October 2019
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Business-to-business retail is a service through which a business provides products for sale to other businesses through a number of different methods and to meet different needs. This type of retail can be provided to companies in a wholesale way through a retail company that acts as a third party between a manufacturer and another business. It can also be a service provided directly by the manufacturer of a product as a retail opportunity offered to another business. Business-to-business retail can cover a number of different types of businesses and products, ranging from office supplies sold to corporate offices or raw materials used by a business to produce other products that are then sold.

Often called “business 2 business” or “B2B,” business-to-business retail differs from other types of retail businesses that tend to serve consumers or the general public. Many retail businesses purchase products from manufacturers, and then sell those products to customers with a small markup to make a profit. These retail businesses act as third parties to provide manufacturers with physical and online locations that customers can use to purchase their products, without the manufacturer having to deal with the sales aspect of the process. In business-to-business retail, however, products are offered for sale to other businesses and companies.


Business-to-business retail can be offered directly by a manufacturer to a business or it can be provided by a third-party business. When offered directly by a manufacturer, this type of business can be conducted for a number of reasons. Some companies purchase products for use as raw materials in producing other products that are then sold by that company. Other forms of business-to-business retail revolve around products directly used by a company that must be purchased from other companies, such as supplies, hardware, and software used in an office workplace.

Some companies act as a third party in providing business-to-business retail, and this often takes the form of office supply companies or similar services. These businesses often sell products wholesale to other companies for use by those companies. The entire process can become complicated, and some businesses ultimately find it easier to purchase supplies and needed products directly from a manufacturer, rather than deal with a third party. Business-to-business retail companies have often expanded practices to provide products for the general public as well, though other businesses may be offered special incentives such as reduced bulk rates on products or priority services outside of regular business hours.


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