B2C? B2B? What’s the Difference?

When it comes to eCommerce we frequently hear two phrases used: Business-to-Consumer (B2C) and Business-to-Business (B2B). The lines between a consumer and a business can get a bit blurry when what it is you sell is used by both or the purchasing behavior of your customer makes it look like the other, think buying on account as an example.

To make it a little easier to understand our perspective on which is which we’ve outlined the following decision drivers:

Business-to-Consumer (B2C)
• RETAIL audience – Businesses selling to end customer
• Registering new customers
• Communicate product and company information
• Lots of imagery, Loyalty Points, Social Media, Product Reviews, etc.
• Primary Design Challenge: Engage the visitor with interesting content
• KPI: Number of site visits, new customer adds

Business-to-Business (B2B)
• WHOLESALE audience – businesses selling to other businesses
• To help existing customers refill their supplies quickly
• Place orders, Check invoice status, View credit status
• Selling to one account with many authorized buyers
• Primary Design Challenge: Efficiency of re-order
• KPI: Conversion rate of existing customers to online self-serve
• Efficiency is the key design imperative over aesthetics

While it may be possible to use an eCommerce site designed to satisfy the needs of B2C transactions the B2B buyer is likely to feel frustrated when that is the approach to the eCommerce site. Additionally, out of the box B2C eCommerce solutions are not likely to not accommodate ERP integrations. Automated integration with the back office is critical when you are doing in high order volumes.