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Catering for both B2B and B2C audiences

By Jessica Marshall on Fri 27 October 2017 in Web & eCommerce

You may think that you can implement the same marketing methods for both your B2C and B2B audiences. Or, maybe you think that you have to choose between your B2B and B2C clients when creating a website. But it doesn’t have to be that way… 

Think about it – B2B and B2C relationships and transactions are completely different, so why would you treat them the same online? And is it possible to cater for both? 

Marketing and selling to a B2B audience is going to involve you implementing different techniques than what you might do to get your B2C customers buying from you. By starting with getting your website right, you can cater for both in a fairly quick and effective way…without spending tonnes of money.  

eCommerce Site or Trade Portal? 

The term ‘eCommerce’ typically resonates more with people in the B2C world. In B2B, the term ‘trade portal’ is used more often than eCommerce, and means that you can allow your trade customers to log in to see useful information including their special pricing, stock and purchase history.  

B2B buy online too!

Before you say it, we’ve heard it a thousand times. B2B do buy online, and that’s that! Research shows that two thirds of B2B companies are already online. In fact, there are hundreds of sales being processed online every minute across B2B online platforms, and figures show that a huge 70% of B2B transactions are actually generated through eCommerce.  

And let’s face it – there’s no excuse for not having an online presence, no matter who you target. In order to be seen as a trustworthy brand, having a website is the first step towards confirming your credibility, and offering your customers a way to easily buy from you at a time that’s convenient for them is expected. 

How are my B2B & B2C customers different?

 Before you start trying to figure out how to cater for both, we need to address where they differ. More importantly, we need to see how these differences translate into their online needs. You can see from the table above how the behaviour of these audiences differs. It considers order frequency, order value and even the differences in the level of engagement between the two. The results indicate that not only are your B2B clients important to consider from a financial perspective, but that they’re actually looking for pretty much an opposite experience to your B2C clients when browsing your website.

B2C transactions are usually one-off purchases with a higher flow of customers. This shows that B2C relationships are purely transactional. On the other hand, B2B organisations have more personal relationships with their customers. B2B is usually described as relational. This is due to the repetitiveness of the transactions, longer selling cycle and larger purchases. Building up a rapport with these customers is pivotal to B2B success. 

Acknowledgement of these differences can impact the success of your eCommerce website and/or trade portal. When B2B customers come to purchase products, they may enjoy a similar experience as B2C but with personalisation through an online trade portal. This gives them access to their prices, discounts and special products, making the process quick and easy. 

What can I do to cater for both? 

If you have customers from both worlds, you can make a start by tailoring your website to focus on your most prominent customer. Who is your key persona? Who contributes more to your bottom line? If it’s a pretty even split, then likelihood is that you don’t want to cut out one or other. But if 80% of your sales come from B2B, focus your eCommerce website on them by implementing functionality that enhances their customer experience.

What eCommerce solution will work for me? 

If you’re looking to cater for both, you need to find a solution which enables you to have a B2C web shop with a personalised trade login for your B2B consumers. This will not only allow you to keep them both sweet, but will ultimately benefit your bottom line!