July 20, 2018      4 min read

B2B and B2C eCommerce retailers both operate in the online arena where they can be reached and reach their chosen customers through search engines, targeted copy and advertisements. B2B refers to purchasing transactions between businesses, whereas B2C denotes the transactions occurring between businesses and consumers. There are some clear differences between the two retailing types and sometimes, the distinctions between the two are slightly blurred.

Target audience

B2C retailers tend to have a broad target audience in mind. The products these target audiences are interested in, tend to be relatively low in value and as such, the decision-making process preceding a purchase can be quick and impulsive. On the contrary, the target audience for B2B retailers will tend to be a lot more specific where the buyers know exactly what they want, and any purchasing decisions take time and are reviewed by a team of people.

Methods of payment and business model

B2C buyers will often pay for their purchases at the time of sale via approved methods such as credit card or PayPal. This is quite straightforward, ensuring all funds are received upfront prior to the fulfilment of orders with product.

The method of payment for B2B buyers is far more convoluted as orders can be received via email, document or electronic ordering form. Therefore, the system you use must be able to recognise and translate these into the same format so they can be integrated into the accounting, manufacturing and inventory management systems. Similarly, the payment for B2B buyers is different where it is usually on an account-basis requiring payment on a set date of the month or after a set time-frame rather than being at the point of sale.

Individual prices of products

The prices of products being purchased by B2C customers tend to be lower in individual value. Therefore, to generate similar levels of profits to B2B companies, they must sell more of their products to each buyer or have more buyers.

The products being sold by a B2B company tend to be a lot higher in value and therefore it is not uncommon for a B2B company to have as few as tens or hundreds of customers, each making purchases worth more in value. In fact, studies have shown that the global gross purchases for B2B companies exceeded that of B2C companies in 2017, and the average purchase value for B2B transactions was found to be at least three times more than that of B2C transactions.

Speed and efficiency of purchasing decisions

The B2C customer tends to only consider themselves, their needs and their own desires in the decision-making process to complete a purchase. This lack of outside influence means the process is quick, efficient and possibly even impulsive. On the other hand, the typical B2B buyer must run their purchasing decisions by a total of 6.8 other people before the transaction can be completed. Not only does this sound like an inefficient process with regards to actually completing a purchase, but studies show that indeed the number of people involved in the purchasing decision is directly inversely proportional to the likelihood of a purchase. To be specific, the more people involved in the process, the less chance there is of a purchase being made.

How to adjust your marketing and business model to maximise sales for a B2B customer

While your marketing and business models for a B2C customers are relatively straightforward, they are far more involved for the B2B buyer. As aforementioned, the B2B customer must incorporate multiple people and teams in their purchasing decision before a decision is made. Therefore, to accommodate this need and increase the rate of conversion, it is imperative that you focus on generating a slick and informative website with professional landing pages offering up valuable information. You should be looking to facilitate the journey the B2B buyer must embark on to convince colleagues why they should be supporting this purchase.

It is also important to recognise that both the B2B and B2C buyers are humans – despite your expectations, the B2B buyer can also be influenced through emotive copy rather than just its features. Additionally, the B2B buyer will likely also in their spare time, be an active user of social media and so it is important to pay attention to your company’s presence on social media and ensure it is active, approachable, professional and interesting.

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