B2C and B2B eCommerce solutions might seem similar from an external perspective, but if you're involved with these systems on a day-to-day basis, then it doesn't take long to notice some of the major differences between the two. Some of the differences are fairly obvious, whilst others can be much harder to notice.
Many people seem to believe that B2B and B2C are getting closer and closer together and that, at some point soon, they will become so complimentary of each other that it will be almost impossible to differentiate between the two. Whilst there are areas which both forms of online retail are taking advantage of to create a quick and easy online interaction, the requirements of each audience are so different that the two systems will never truly become the same.
It is true that some of the very best platforms offer a business the opportunity to run both a B2B and a B2C eCommerce Solution, such as Advansys' unique Razor platform, but most platforms will only allow you to run one from a single CMS. Most low-end platforms are fairly limited in scope, but completely bespoke designs can offer your business the opportunity to create a fantastic online presence for both kinds of eCommerce customer.
The Major Differences Between B2B And B2C eCommerce Solutions!
The most important difference between the two forms of online retail is the customer themselves. Whilst the customer for a B2C business might have certain desires, the buyer for a B2B organisation will have completely different priorities and require different information in a different format. Appealing to the unique requirements of each kind of customer is absolutely essential when it comes to making a successful eCommerce platform, but that isn't all. You need to re-imagine your business' entire attitude and approach to the interaction as a whole, which will then lead to the eCommerce platform itself offering a completely different service depending on the customer.
Who Is The B2C Customer?
Typically, the B2C buyer will be much more spontaneous than their business counterpart. They will work from delivery dates, price comparisons and overall online reputation above almost everything else. In general terms, the B2C audience will be much more widespread and often dispersed across a much larger target market.
Another feature of the B2C customer is that they will usually have an extremely short decision-making process, as they rarely have to check with anyone else. If the B2C customer sees something that they want, and they think it is a good deal, they are much more likely to immediately purchase the item than they are to pass the information on to someone else.
Despite this emotional form of decision-making, B2C buyers will typically have much less loyalty to the vendor in question, even if they are extremely loyal to the brand of product that they are buying.
What Appeals To The B2C Customer?
You are more likely to be familiar with the techniques that work in regards to the B2C eCommerce customer. Personal accounts, along with guest check out and one-click purchasing are all invaluable components of a B2C website.
Colourful, eye-catching advertisements, special offers, celebrity endorsements, remarketing, and regular newsletters keeping the customer up to date on business news and the latest offers are all extremely useful and can really help to drive sales.
Primarily, you need to appeal to the spontaneity of the B2C buyer; you need to attract their often fairly limited attention span, convince them that your product or service can solve an issue that they have been having, and make it as easy as possible for them to purchase their chosen solution.
Cross-Channel eCommerce is often a useful tool when it comes to appealing to the generally fickle B2C customer, who will cycle through a variety of sites, including eBay, Amazon and more in order to look for the best deal and convince themselves of a business' legitimacy.
Who Is The B2B Buyer?
The B2B buyer is anything but spontaneous. Not only are they not purchasing on their own behalf, but they will often have to make the case to their superiors before deciding to trial a B2B company. B2B is a much slower form of eCommerce that is often the result of meetings, interviews, extensive interviews and more.
B2B eCommerce is reliant on building and maintaining relationships over time, but one of the major advantages is that it is often a relatively small market and it can be extremely easy to identify your target audience.
As we said a moment ago, there are a large number of people involved in the actual purchasing decision, which means that there are multiple influencers upon the customer's side of the entire process. Whilst the price remains important, the B2B party will make their decision based on customer service and after-care as much as anything.
How Can You Appeal To The B2B Customer?
B2B eCommerce is nothing like B2C online retail; for one thing, the customer is likely to be much more knowledgeable about their industry. Whilst traditional forms of advertising will not work on the business to business customer, you need to make sure that you appeal to them in different ways.
For example, you need to ensure that your online presence can offer much greater levels of personalisation and bespoke functionality, to ensure that the buyer can enjoy a streamlined and simple purchasing process.
In order to create this bespoke method of online retail, you need to base your eCommerce platform on a series of pre-arranged business rules. These business rules are simply a way of inputting unique specifications into an overall eCommerce solution, allowing complete personalisation.
Longer, technical and more detailed content is essential for B2B content, which can hugely help to build a close relationship between your business and your customer. It is also worth noting that many B2B buyers are much more old-fashioned than their B2C peers, and so will require much greater integration when it comes to placing orders. In many events, B2B buyers will still be caught in a business system that can require them to place their orders over the phone or via fax, rather than through a dedicated online portal.
B2B And B2C eCommerce Customers Are Different Creatures; Treat Them As Such!
Many businesses seem to think that offering both types of customers the same online interaction is enough, but they will definitely fall behind as more and more B2B organisations gain ground with technology and truly start to demand an instantaneous, simple and wholly bespoke solution.
For more information on the developing worlds of B2B eCommerce solutions and B2C eCommerce solutions, please don't hesitate to get in touch with Advansys today on 0845 838 2700, or email any questions you have to our team directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.