B2B vs. B2C eCommerce: What Are The Crucial Differences?


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What separates B2B and B2C when it comes to selling online?

The differences that can guide your business to success in the wild world of eCommerce.

Corporations and consumers have vastly different expectations for the companies they do business with. Dealing with these differences means understanding the mindset of each group of potential customers and implementing eCommerce solutions that meet their needs.

The Focus of B2B

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In the world of B2B eCommerce, marketing is all about product features. Information should be as detailed and technical as possible, catering to a sophisticated audience interested in how a product benefits their business and their clients. Little emotion is involved in B2B purchasing decisions. Instead, these customers think in a practical sense, doing a great deal of research before making contact with potential vendors. With this in mind, B2B eCommerce websites need to be designed to deliver information rather than flash and dazzle with a focus on appealing to industry professionals. Login platforms must be able to handle complex user information including shipping schedules and invoice data to support the long-term relationships that are characteristic of B2B eCommerce.

The purchase process itself is longer and more complex with B2B clients than with individual consumers. In the case of businesses, there is rarely one single person doing the buying. A team or department may be involved that then needs to get the approval of a supervisor or manager before making a final decision. Purchases may be paid for upfront or billed through an invoicing process. Vendors who wish to make connections should focus on fostering trusted relationships with their B2B clients through high-quality customer service that continues through every step of the buying process.

Making B2C Connections

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B2C eCommerce, on the other hand, involves building relationships with individuals in diverse communities of potential customers. The target market is much larger than a B2B market, brings in a higher volume of website traffic and purchases smaller amounts of products at a time. Companies catering to these markets require a website design that grabs attention and a marketing strategy that encourages interaction. Emotional connection with a product’s benefits and a sense of trust surrounding preferred brands are key in fostering relationships with individual consumers.

For B2C customers, the buying process is much more straightforward than B2B. Consumers decide to buy items, place them in their shopping carts, enter payment information and receive confirmation. Many don’t want to bother with the process of creating an individual account, making it important to offer a guest checkout option for faster shopping. Since these customers have more of a personal investment in what they’re buying, they want a quick, streamlined purchase path with a guarantee of security every step of the way.

The Best Approach

Both B2B and B2C sales require an eCommerce platform that supports full integration with a brand’s online presence. There is no “one size fits all” that covers both types of commerce; platforms must be tailored to the type of customer a business is looking to connect with. In order to create the best possible purchasing environment, a company needs to consider:

  • The mindset of the target audience
  • The nature of the relationships that need to be built
  • The type and quality of information that potential customers are looking for
  • Whether to focus on industry-driven or consumer-driven marketing tactics

Clarity Can Help

Bringing all of these elements of together to launch a successful B2B or B2C eCommerce website can be challenging, but with Clarity, you get all the tools you need in one easy-to-use platform. Designed for full integration with your existing eCommerce efforts, Clarity covers all the bases from CRM and social media to cataloging and shipping. Contact Clarity today for a free consultation and discover how our platform can help your business grow.