B2B and B2C E-commerce understand the differences and how to build a successful strategy for each – WAU
Understand how B2B and B2C business models impact e-commerce strategies.
For the customer, the existence of differences between B2B vs B2C e-commerce is not relevant.
For him, it is enough that his shopping experience is efficient and ensures the benefits of the virtual commerce environment.
For managers and professionals in the area, however, these e-commerces are completely different, especially when we think about communication and customer acquisition strategies.
A B2B Digital Marketing strategy is completely different from a B2C.
Making it essential that professionals understand your persona well for strategies to attract and acquire customers.
Therefore, the idea of this post is to understand the best way to optimize the customer experience, and consequently, their sales results, better understanding the peculiarities of each type of virtual store.
Are these also your goals? So be sure to read.
B2B and B2C e-commerce audience
Starting with the basics. The acronym B2B is used to describe the relationships Business to Business, or in good London, between companies.
B2C, on the other hand, defines the interactions between Business to Customer, or from the company to the end customer.
Based on this, the acquisition made by a customer at B2C is geared towards meeting individual needs, whether it be giving gifts to another person or making a donation. Even so, it is your personal desires and interests that will define the purchase.
In B2B, the purchase can even be conducted by a single employee in the purchasing sector, but it is not your interests and needs that will define the negotiation, but the demand that the company presents.
Although simplistic, this is a reflection that leads to one of the key points in the management of virtual businesses: its audience, and with it, the influencers of the decision to purchase.
Influencers of B2C purchases
Selling to the consumer seems much simpler, but in fact it has as many or more influencers than B2B that affect the process. Among them, we can mention:
In marketing, one of the most efficient strategies is the definition of the buyer persona, which in short, is the representation of the ideal buyer of a product.
With this representation, it is possible to customize actions and promotions, but at the time of purchase, each customer will have their specific characteristics.
Among them, their age, place of residence, family constitution, current professional or emotional challenges, for example, are some of them.
To create your persona and optimize your results, use our Fantastic Persona Generator!
Social and cultural influences
Frequented social circles, their customs and values. The client’s private world has a strong influence on their choices, as well as their religious, cultural or national identity.
The mixture between these two elements, even, makes your decision-making process even more private.
A lawyer with a strong role in gender identity issues, for example, will behave differently in a clothing e-commerce with slogans of acceptance and combating prejudice.
The needs, as described in the Maslow Pyramid, have different priorities.
Whether physiological, security, based on relationships, esteem or personal fulfillment, they are capable of moving a buyer’s decisions between one product and another.
Their emotions, which are often heightened in shopping experiences and advertising campaigns, may be healthy or unhealthy, like some people who buy out of compulsion.
The economic scenario may or may not encourage buyers of B2C e-commerce. Products that suffer from the variation of foreign currencies, for example, have had many setbacks in recent months.
The market, on the other hand, can influence consumer purchases with the announcement of new trends, information about parts of a model that will have their production discontinued and liquidations carried out by the competition.
Third party opinion
As in B2B, the opinion of third parties also counts a lot for decision making, whether they are from the closest social circle or the market influencers.
The success or failure with the products reported by these people can cause the customer to make different decisions when buying e-commerce.
By understanding the audience and the elements that influence it, an e-commerce, whatever your niche, can personalize your interactions and marketing strategies much more efficiently.
Influencers of B2B purchases
Various people and factors can influence corporate purchasing, such as the estimated budget, approval of superiors, industry laws, promotions, competition, urgency of replacement, minimum quality requirements, and also:
- market influencers: market experts who suggest a particular solution;
- associated brands: partnerships between two organizations that exchange influence from their authorities. Microsoft, for example, ran a campaign with National Geographic to mark International Women’s Day. On the channel’s Instagram, photos of women in scientifically creative careers encourage talented young people to do the same;
- customer testimonials: the successful experience of third parties always positively validates the quality of a company’s products and services. Encouraging and ensuring that such views reach potential buyers is essential;
- company employees: the concept that employees have about the company they work for is a strong influencer. Therefore, working with satisfaction and organizational culture is essential so that the image of the business also speaks for itself; and
- successful case studies, research and statistics: in addition to arguments, performance measured in numbers is essential for convincing a purchase.
Harvard Business Review published in early 2018 a study conducted by Bain executives that brings a pyramid of B2B values based on the one suggested by Maslow for individuals.
In it, more than 40 elements would form the relevant factors for a company’s purchase decision.
At the base of the pyramid, elements such as reasonable price, ethical standards of the company, technical specifications and regulatory compliance of the sector.
On the next base, issues such as potential for cost reduction and better performance for being an innovative item, having quality and scalability.
Ease of doing business
Following, values such as productivity, access and relationship with the supplier. Accessibility, transparency in processes, reduced purchase effort, response time, variety of products, etc.
At the penultimate level, more subjective issues such as design, aesthetics, reduced buyer anxiety, fun and extra benefits.
Value of inspiration
At the top of the pyramid, elements such as optimism, social responsibility and business vision.
It is important to note that the base of this pyramid has objective aspects and is linked to company interests and needs, but as it goes up, even the emotional factors of the buyer come to influence the choice.
Some buyers need to conduct high-value purchases or those with major business impacts. If a supplier manages to minimize the effects of this pressure, it will certainly be more valued than its competitors.
Considering the abundance of influencers and elements of value that individuals and companies take into account in their decisions, it is obvious that it is essential to make a detailed study of the profile of buyers.
This understanding will ensure that e-commerce produces strategies in the marketing mix that are much more aligned and more likely to convert.
Marketing mix applied to virtual commerce
Since concepts such as the Maslow Pyramid are coming to the light of studies again, there is nothing more fair than also bringing the 4 P’s of Marketing from the perspective of online commerce.
B2B and B2C e-commerces need to deal with the distance between their potential buyer and the product in question. In a traditional purchase, it is possible to evaluate the condition of the item in person, but in the online environment, this step needs to be properly met.
When meeting the audience, navigation solutions in the virtual store, such as photos at different angles, the possibility of enlarging them, the option of demonstrative videos and even an online tour to analyze their characteristics, depending on the product, can be incorporated into the experience.
When simulating a car configuration on the Volkswagen do Brasil website, for example, the customer can select a virtual tour by the chosen model.
A QRCode is generated, and when accessing it with a smartphone and 3D glasses, a complete view of all the characteristics of the vehicle is presented, eliminating in an innovative way, the distance between the customer and the product to be purchased.
The 4 P’s were originally spelled in English, and therefore Placement, it would not be just a square, but a means of placing the product for sale.
With this description and considering the virtual environment, the product distribution strategy could also include social networks and other channels that sell different brands.
This choice, however, must consider the audience that needs to be reached and how this type of channel would influence the brand positioning.
For B2B e-commerce, authority is an extremely important element, and an exclusive sales channel on the website is crucial. B2C companies, however, can alternate their own e-commerce with sales channels of representatives, for example.
This pillar of the marketing mix manages how ecommerce products are best presented to your audience.
Strategies such as content marketing and tools such as email marketing, social media, SEO, hashtags and many others can be used intensively considering the environment in which e-commerce is inserted.
For them to be even more efficient, whether for B2B or B2C, their actions can be automated, guided by the use of Big Data and also have their performances analyzed by metrics and KPIs of marketing.
The pricing strategy is naturally fluctuating and needs to follow market trends, be used to stimulate the acquisition of new customers or to strengthen the relationship with those already loyal.
You should also consider your competitive potential compared to other e-commerce in the market, but always respecting its positioning.
That means to say that a B2C ecommerce that acts with an audience with great purchasing power and loyalty to the brand cannot make sales that popularize its products.
Another point that pricing should consider is that the maintenance costs of this sales channel tend to be lower, as well as the fact that the acquisition made through it has some disadvantages for the customer, such as the need to wait a period before receiving its products. .
Thus, the price practiced in e-commerce can also be more attractive than that of their own channels, or, at least, have other advantages that make it as interesting as the others.
Also addressing the presentation of prices in B2B and B2C e-commerces, those who carry out corporate sales tend to make the values of their products available only after registration and progress in the purchase process.
This is because the customer must first understand the added values of products. In addition, higher volume acquisitions may be negotiated at different prices.
In B2C, the price is one of the main influencers of the purchase, and they are usually presented to attract more customers. This does not prevent, however, that special values are practiced for loyal customers and enrolled in discount programs.
In summary, a marketing mix can be applied to both niches, but its effects and adjustments will depend exclusively on the characteristics of online businesses.
Now that the pricing strategy has been mentioned, it is possible to go into the questions regarding the average tickets of B2C and B2B without having shallow questions such as which one is more profitable or better.
Average shopping ticket
The volume of transactions in B2C and B2B are totally different, as well as the average value of their products
. So, by obvious conclusion, the profit margin for your products is also totally different.
According to Forrester Research, the average sales ticket for B2B e-commerce is 3 times higher than B2C, and perhaps for this reason, the buying journey in this market tends to be longer.
Thus, in addition to the average values of purchases, other indicators also need to be monitored more strongly by virtual businesses focused on corporate purchasing, such as:
- Customer Lifetime Value (CLV), which tracks the value of the customer during the period in which he makes acquisitions in the company;
- Customer retention rate, which analyzes the ability to keep customers won by making regular purchases;
- Conversion rate, which tracks the number of visitors to ecommerce, and how many of them actually completed the purchase; and
- Customer success, which analyzes how well the customers’ needs have been met.
Together with the monitoring of the average sales ticket, these indicators provide an overview for the management of strategies for extending the relationship, which is essential for B2B businesses.
B2C’s profit potential is greater when its sales volume is increased. This does not mean that quality and loyalty indicators are not important.
Some of them are:
- conversion rate, since the more sales, the better the business results;
- new visitors, which accompanies the oxygenation of the customer base with new buyers;
- frequent visitors, which analyzes loyal and repurchase customers;
- number of purchases made, which indicates the amount of sales closed regardless of value, but which benefited from the ecommerce infrastructure and maintenance costs;
- total sales value, which accompanies the billing itself; and
- abandoned shopping, which assesses the number of abandoned carts before the purchase is completed.
The latter, as well as customer satisfaction, need to be repeatedly analyzed for the most effective customization of the process, thus ensuring that no reason for withdrawal occurs again.
Decision day for the purchase
Thus, we have, on the one hand, the needs of customers, and on the other, the indicators and parameters of ecommerce management that guarantee their results.
So, where are they? In the purchase journey of the individual or corporate customer provided by the e-commerce experience.
As already mentioned, the average ticket for corporate purchases is higher. Even if a buyer is negotiating ballpoint pens, the quantity purchased will be much greater than that of a B2C customer, who needs only a few of them to solve their needs.
Thus, they act differently in the process, and these nuances need to be instilled in the purchase journey so that the experience favors the conversion of the sale.
Elements to enhance the B2B shopping experience
An e-commerce needs to configure its entire process, interactions and virtual solutions based on the characteristics and needs of its potential customers.
Some tips are:
Consider that the customer may need more advanced knowledge
A corporate buyer needs to assess whether the products offered meet the specifications and minimum requirements that your company requires.
Thus, more complete product descriptions, blogs with advanced content and online support can be essential for a good experience.
Improve e-commerce performance
Order processing must be agile, demonstrating that the company’s online and physical infrastructure is robust and ready to meet customers’ needs.
In addition, for the e-commerce user experience, this can also mean security and reliability in the online environment.
Think about the visual composition and fluidity of the process
The way products are presented and the purchase process must be easy to understand and manage.
This is one of the most relevant points of the e-commerce user experience considering that they are designed for the customer to make their purchases autonomously.
Other elements such as adaptation to different devices, content optimization tools and virtual intelligence robots also add to the experience and purchase journey, which once installed, use the database to propose offers and products compatible with the profile and history of customer purchases.
Elements to enhance the B2C shopping experience
The purchase of the final consumer has more influence on his emotions, and when the customer realizes that products and services are chosen to meet or even anticipate his needs, he is more easily converted.
Invest in service customization
It is not just about calling the customer by name. With a well-crafted Big Data, it is possible to identify shopping trends and create personalized offers according to the profile of each buyer.
However, it is necessary to create a balance between technological solutions and humanized service in order to bring the company and customer closer together and identify them.
Offer more than the convenience of shopping without leaving your home
E-commerce needs to intensify its other qualities, and not just the convenience of buying and receiving the product at home.
This can be developed with content strategies that guide the customer and incentives that make them participate in communities and brand events, even if in person, with other individuals in the same interest group.
Thus, more than buying a product, the customer can be included in a social circle of people with the same interests and exchange experiences.
Educate buyers and focus on their full satisfaction
Promoting the feeling of belonging is a very efficient strategy, but in addition to that, it is necessary to share knowledge with customers so that they are increasingly sure about their acquisitions.
The more nourished and well-informed about your needs and solutions, the better your choices and chances of satisfaction.
The exchange of information in the after-sales service is also equally important so that the customer’s success is assured and the anticipation of his new demands are mechanisms to strengthen the relationship and generate new business.
With that, it is clear that there is no B2B e-B2C e-commcerces war, none of them is better or worse than the other if they are properly managed according to the needs of their target audiences and business success indicators.
For your base planning, while one will focus its efforts on sales volume, the other will invest in managing customer relationships and sales with a higher profit margin per product.
It is clear that, in addition to these strategies, issues such as the entry of new competitors, the opening of new markets, the launch of products and elements that involve the seasonality of the niche will refine and personalize its actions.
The approach of Christmas and other events that increase sales at the end of the year, for example, must have a specific strategy and according to the performance of e-commerce so far.
Would you like to know some tips on how to work your e-commerce for Christmas? Check out what some e-commerce experts suggest.