B2B vs B2C Ecommerce Software: What’s the Difference?
While many ecommerce platforms combine consumer-focused online stores, these represent only a niche in the overall market for modern solutions in this area. Many companies in the B2B (Business-to-Business) market rely heavily on advanced e-commerce platforms to meet all of their needs on this front, and recent trends tend to lean heavily towards this case. use, as opposed to B2C (Business-to-Consumer). A B2C e-commerce platform has many shortcomings compared to a platform designed specifically for the B2B market. Starting with the right startup solution is essential if you want to ensure that you present your business in the best possible light.
Target a longer process
B2B transactions tend to be very different from B2C transactions, especially when it comes to the overall length of the process and the relationship between a supplier and their customers. A buyer in this field is usually not interested in one-off transactions, but rather seeks to establish a long-term relationship with a few selected suppliers whom they know to trust. Each purchase is usually preceded by extensive research, discussions with key members and business partners, and negotiations with the seller. A standard B2C platform cannot take these factors into account from afar.
It also extends beyond the purchase itself. A typical B2B transaction often involves a long-term partnership with personalized support, loyalty programs, discounts for repeat buyers, etc. While some of these features can be found in some of the popular B2C ecommerce platforms in today’s market, they are often not in depth enough to meet the average needs of the B2B supplier-buyer relationship. Even when they do, they may require extensive customization to get to this point instead of B2B e-commerce software solutions designed to meet these needs from the start.
Increased emphasis on personalization
A B2B store needs to have a much more personalized presentation to capture the interest of its customers. Items such as personalized catalogs and price lists or even a unique presentation of available inventory adjusted for each buyer are not treated as luxury features but as the basic industry standard. Most B2C ecommerce platforms approach personalization differently, trying to dynamically change their presentation to customers by analyzing their interaction with the store.
In a B2B environment, you can expect a buyer to have already done their research regarding what they want to buy and the terms they have for the transaction, and you will want your presentation to be as close as possible to these expectations. This requires advanced controls that are not often found on B2C platforms, except through third party plugins. Even then, the end result will never be as good as what a B2B platform can offer, and it can be done with minimal effort on the part of the store owner.
The price structure of a B2B store is very different from what one would get from a B2C store. Due to the long-term nature of these business relationships, items such as volume purchase discounts are the norm. Buyers can also negotiate their pricing terms in advance and expect this to be reflected in their shopping experience. This can sometimes be fine-tuned in a B2C platform, but with much less granularity, and often at the cost of having to go through steps. With a good B2B e-commerce platform, these adjustments can be made on the fly for every affected customer, and they’ll be instantly reflected across the storefront.
Unique workflow for each customer
The buying process for B2B customers is longer and more complex than what an ordinary consumer typically goes through. Every business has its own set of rules for working with vendors and suppliers. It’s important to integrate them into your storefront, instead of requiring manual adjustments by a human operator for every purchase. For example, a specific customer may require the approval of two or more members of the company’s management team before an order can be submitted. With the help of a B2B e-commerce platform, you can integrate this requirement directly into the buying process. This will not only make things easier for you as the store owner, but it will also give your customers a streamlined process that will save them time and money. This is often a deciding factor in choosing the right B2B e-commerce platform.
Easy integration with corporate infrastructure
A B2B store often has a much more complex infrastructure than a B2C store, involving things like CRM, accounting systems, warehouse and inventory management tools, etc. Again, this is sometimes available on B2C platforms, but the level of customization they typically offer is far below what you would need to meet your customers’ expectations. Many B2B ecommerce platforms are designed to offer native integration with popular solutions in all of these areas with just a few clicks, without forcing you to take things out of the platform itself. This can greatly simplify the system management requirements and allow you to easily process more complex orders.
Detailed specifications instead of heavy promotion
As we mentioned earlier, B2B customers usually know what they are looking for in advance. When they reach your store, they won’t be drawn to flashy ads or other promotional materials. Instead, they seek to confirm that your products meet the requirements of their current project. To that end, you should be able to offer easy access to detailed data sheets, advanced search engines that can compare different features of the products you’ve listed, and a more in-depth overall view of everything you’re selling. Getting to this point with a B2C system requires heavy customization. In some cases, this is not even possible without modifying the system itself, in which case you might as well switch to a dedicated B2B solution.
Ultimately, the difference between a B2B and B2C ecommerce platform is too great to justify using the latter when you have many viable options in the B2B marketplace. Choosing the right B2B e-commerce platform can help you focus on setting up your store, organizing your products and their descriptions, and all the other important factors that are relevant to the business itself, rather than tinkering with a system that will require constant adjustments. to meet your needs.