B2B vs. B2C — what’s the difference? Tricky question. But, let’s sort this out with a basic example;

Alibaba is a B2B eCommerce company | Amazon is a B2C eCommerce company (and, B2C too).

  • B2B eCommerce is selling products and services from business to business.
  • B2C eCommerce is selling products and services from businesses to customers.

Simply put, in the corporate world, this rivalry of businesses exists — B2B vs. B2C.

Source: Statista

After thorough research, we figured out that some are praising the B2B eCommerce, while others were witnessed favoring the other one i.e. B2C eCommerce.

Trends in Support of B2B:

  • Some say that B2B has taken over B2C — but we need to figure out how true is that.
  • B2B is reaching a market value of $7.7 trillion as opposed to B2C, which is still at $2.3 trillion.
  • 74% of B2B buyers do follow deep research online before finally making their purchase.
  • 93% of B2B buyers are willing to purchase the products and services online.

Trends in Support of B2C:

Well, scrutinizing the trends, it is believed that both have their own markets — which is growing and chosen by the population based on their needs and requirements.

B2B vs. B2C: Who’s going to win? Or, Has Both Their Fair Share of Market?

The trends are changing, and so is the eCommerce. With time, my company has seen tremendous alterations in the eCommerce industry.

It is important to understand how both B2B and B2C differ — to make a decision and understand how both have their own importance in the eCommerce sector.

B2B vs. B2C — The Key Differences

Here are the basics of these eCommerce sectors:

  • B2C [Broader market, emotionally drive, and prioritize brand awareness].
  • B2B [Niche market, rationally driven. And prioritize lead generation].

Let’s explore some key benefits to understand which does what.

1. Coverage of Audience

The prime and the chief difference between both these eCommerce industries is their ‘audience.’ B2B customer range is much narrower than the B2C. B2C sells directly to the customers and B2B to the businesses.

Does this limit the business of B2B? Many say, ‘yes it does,’ however, the opposite is actually the truth. Of course, there is a set number of buyers — like ad agency owners or VPs of startups — however, that doesn’t limit the business of B2B eCommerce.

B2C tends to target a broader range of customers, including music lovers, kids, moms, sports adorers, and such a similar audience. The range of this market is huge.

Customer retention is vital in B2C after customer acquisition. The stepping stone in the buying cycle is attracting more customers and sustaining them. Plus, the ultimate goal is to promote brand awareness. On the other hand, B2B focuses on a much narrower audience, but when that hits the bull’s eye brings in a lot of dividends.

B2B eCommerce is accelerating — Forbes predicted this eCommerce growing to $6.7 trillion by 2020.

2. Product Specifications

Product detailing is different in both the eCommerce sectors.

Since the buying behavior of both the B2B and B2C are different, it is important to consider the product specifications.

In B2B, the purchase procedure is based on the informed decision, which, of course, is time-consuming. It somehow complicates the ‘decision making’ for the consumers, as there are multiple decision-making steps involved in this process. Product detailing, therefore, is vital when dealing with B2B business — conversion is time-consuming here.

Did you know that approximately 70% of B2B buyers watch videos to make a final product purchase?

So, what does B2B eCommerce sites emphasize for making it a successful business?

Product videos, thorough content, case studies, detailed explainer videos, and buying how-to guides.

In B2C, the purchase process is unstructured; it’s spontaneous. Why?

Because the entire decision relies on the consumer. Hence, the buying process aka the decision-making process is not bound by time. However, it depends on the user or the consumer, how much time he/she is going to consume in buying the product.

So, what does B2C eCommerce sites emphasize for making it a successful business?

Crisp and short product videos, features, and main points of the product, real product images for the customer to decide, customer reviews, and ratings.

3. Customer Support — Interaction Stages

Let’s talk about B2C first — what does a customer have to invest in when purchasing the products online?

NOTHING, right? Or, just the time, we can say. Their purchase decision is barely dependent on any external factor; hence, they are not answerable to anyone.

Customer support is limited at this level — as there would be certain queries that might come from the customer’s side. And, that can be solved in minutes.

Majorly, B2C must include:

  • 24/7 customer support, to solve or answer the queries of the customers.
  • Post-sale team to manage the complaints or returns.

Now, moving on with the B2B — it involves bigger orders. So, what does a B2B needs to invest in? Well, they need to be very well-informed about the resources and products involved in the business.

Majorly, B2B must include:

  • 24/7 customer service to resolve business queries.
  • Post-sale customer service to handle the service-related questions and reorders.
  • Live chats, video chats, 24×7 chat support to answer all business-related queries.

4. Call-To-Action — Crisp and Precise

Marketing rule for both B2B and B2C differs. In B2B — the CTA is what your patrons really wish to hear. That could be the advantages or highlights of the products for the business. CTAs should be clear, concise, and precise to attract the buyer’s attention. Also, mention how your product will benefit your patron’s business.

Example- Super comfortable furniture for your workspace for utmost employee productivity.

In B2C — the CTAs in B2C revolve around how well the product will benefit the individual consumer. The CTAs must be crisp and to-the-point, mentioning the benefits of products for individual customers.

Example- Beautify your home, as you bring home this comfy advanced furniture.

Did you see the difference?

While there is an emotional-touch in both the CTAs — still B2B emphasizes more on increasing the productivity of the employees, which is businesses desire. On the other hand, B2C focuses more on guiding customers towards enhancing their homes using their furniture.

5. Quantity Capacity

Be it the minimum order quantity or the maximum — it will differ in both the B2B and B2C eCommerce platforms. MOQ has to be addressed to convert the audience into the leads.

How does the requirement differ in both the B2B and B2C? Well, a B2C would need an option to buy ad single product. However, it should not be the case with B2B.

What should be the design of Minimum Order Quantity in B2B?

  • Need to set constraints for MOQ for every product listed on the site.
  • MOQ is required for packaged goods.
  • Least amount required to complete the order.

What should be the design of Minimum Order Quantity in B2C?

  • No constraints in B2C for maintaining any MOQ.
  • It may include the maximum quantity barrier, though.
  • Notification on surpassing the maximum value.

Did you see the difference there? Both these eCommerce platforms have such minor differences, which has the capacity to bring the best in each business type.

6. Pricing Model

So, how does the pricing model differ for both the eCommerce platforms?

Well, in B2C, the pricing is pretty consistent, without being unfair towards a certain group. The difference lies only in the discount coupons, sales (seasonal and clearance), and other buying offers. The motive is to sustain transparency in the process.

B2B relies on a very special pricing model — which is based on the quantity and frequency of the orders done on your site. For building a pricing model for a B2B eCommerce platform, you will need to work on supplying the customer-based products. Also, it is based on customized product stock for bigger and larger client orders.

In both the pricing models, there is a slight difference, and that’s what makes both these platforms successful in building a better eCommerce business.

7. Checkout Process’s Intricacy

In B2B, the checkout option should be combined with the live human support and highly programmed checkout steps. Human interference is mandatory to turn any other business positive for your business and products.

B2B checkout must include:

  • Phone calls and video chats
  • Multiple payment options, including credit card, procurement punchout, and other such options
  • One-click reordering structure

In B2C, the customers should be simply directed towards the ‘Add to cart’ option followed by a ‘Thank you’ message, which is vital to make your customers feel special. It would be better if you can make this message more personalized, using their name or some other detail.

B2B checkout must include:

  • Seamless UI and payment gateway system
  • Secure multiple payment options, including debit cards, credit cards, CODs, and wallets.
  • Option to ‘apply coupon’ that helps in getting them some discount on the actual price.

8. Lifecycle Duration

There is a major difference in the lifecycle duration in both these eCommerce platforms.

B2B buyers will buy, and keep on buying from you for a very long time. It is all about ‘’satisfying their business needs,’ and once that’s done — once they have started to realize that you are satisfying their business needs — they are not going to go anywhere.

So, the sole motive for any B2B seller is to impress the buyer for the first time, and the rest will be done automatically, based on how well you sustain the quality of your services and communication.

B2B buyers will barely switch until there are any advancements in the products/services, without which their work will probably suffer. However, it could be a little difficult for the sellers to acquire customers in the beginning.

On the other hand, B2C buyers are not looking for long-term customers. They are just waiting for their customers to make an instant buy on their products. This eCommerce platform won’t get as many as bulk orders from the same customers. Also, the chances of repeating customers are not frequent in this business.

9. Homepage has to be Outstanding — But different for both

That’s what’s going to set the first impression on your customers, right.

Be it the B2B or B2C — the homepage has to be designed and designed well.

B2C — Well, the ultimate motive of B2C sites is to gain customers, and attract them. One needs to create a strategic homepage that targets the customers. Also, the homepage must speak in favor of customers.

The B2C homepage must include the following for performing extraordinarily:

  • Valid discounts
  • Features running sales
  • Showcase trending and new products
  • Attractive CTAs
  • Clickable buttons for all the products
  • Advantages of products

B2B — Here’s the motive to attract the businesses instead of customers. So, the homepage should mention all benefits of products that can solve the problems of their businesses. Since the aim is to attain other businesses and sustain them for longer, the homepage needs to focus on such content — the informative content will make a good homepage for B2B eCommerce platforms.

The B2B homepage must include the following for performing extraordinarily:

  • Write a brief section about ‘why choose us’
  • Run carousels displaying core features of all products
  • Demo videos
  • How-to-guides
  • Thorough information about the products

The Takeaway Message

B2B and B2C are different in many aspects. To survive and sustain these businesses, it is essential to focus on the fundamental elements of each platform to engage the right kind of audience and keep them.

There is a big difference in the underlying motivation to reach the customers. For instance, the homepage has to focus on their respective content, buying motivation is different, CTAs has to be different.

So, all you need to understand is the basic differences of both businesses to get into the further details of both the eCommerce platforms.

Also, scrutinize and hire your development team prudently — as ‘will you get to reach the right audience’ really depends on your online presence. So, build a seamless base for your eCommerce business — be it B2C or B2B — utilizing the skills, expertise, and knowledge of a trained and certified development team.