When it comes to eCommerce, businesses generally fall into one of two categories: business-to-consumer (B2C) or business-to-business (B2B). Both have their own unique challenges, but B2B eCommerce is generally considered to be more difficult to optimize than its B2C counterpart. Why is that? Let’s take a look at a few of the reasons.
Longer Sales Cycles
One of the biggest differences between B2B and B2C eCommerce is the length of the sales cycle. In B2C, customers are typically buying products for themselves or for immediate consumption. They’re not as concerned about things like price or long-term value because they just want to make a purchase and be done with it.
In contrast, B2B buyers are usually looking at products that will be used in their business, which means they need to take a number of factors into account before making a decision. They’ll need to consider things like price, but also things like long-term value, compatibility with existing systems, and more. All of this means that B2B sales cycles are typically much longer than B2C sales cycles.
B2B buying habits tend to be repetitive, conservative, and predictable which presents unique challenges when it comes to B2B vs B2C eCommerce. B2B orders can be more complex with custom orders, negotiated pricing terms, and advanced products to manage.
More Complex Products
Another big difference between B2Cs and B2Bs is the complexity of the products being sold. In most cases, B2C products are going to be simpler than B2B products. That’s not always the case—there are certainly some complex consumer products out there—but it’s usually true.
The reason for this is that businesses tend to operate at a higher level than individual consumers. They have more complex needs and they’re often looking for products that will integrate with other systems they already have in place. As a result, the products they need tend to be more complex as well.
Many B2B products are intended for commercial use and therefore the buyers will be businesses. Some B2B products can only be purchased with a business license while most B2C products are generally public facing.
Unique Purchasing Processes
Purchasing processes are another area where B2Bs tend to differ from B2Cs. In a lot of cases, businesses will have their own unique purchasing processes that need to be taken into account. This could involve anything from approvals and sign-offs from multiple people to working within strict budget restrictions.
In contrast, individual consumers usually have fewer restrictions when it comes to purchasing decisions. They may need approval from others in some cases, but usually not to the same extent as businesses do. As a result, their purchasing process is generally much simpler and easier to accommodate.
Some B2B transaction will use payment terms to help get orders processed even before payment may need to be collected. Since B2B buyers are usually repeat purchasers, most businesses have working relationships and open communication lines with them which allows for higher levels of trust when it comes to payment. B2C brands almost always require payment upfront. The communication lines can also be used to help create custom orders and deliver promotions or discounts to customers.
Higher customer expectations
Finally, it’s important to note that customers often have higher expectations when dealing with B2Bs than they do with B2Cs. This is partly due to the fact that businesses deal with other businesses on a regular basis, so they’re used to a certain level of professionalism and customer service. They expect things like prompt responses to inquiries, quick turnaround times on orders, and easy-to-use websites and ordering systems. With more on the line, buyer preferences become more saturated.
In contrast, many consumers are less concerned about these things since they’re not dealing with other businesses on a regular basis . As a result , they often have lower expectations when interacting with B2Cs. All of these factors combine to make B2B eCommerce more challenging than B2C eCommerce. It’s important to keep them in mind when designing and implementing your own eCommerce solutions.
B2B buyers often expect white glove service when they are making such large orders. They want their hand to be held from first click to delivery and the process should repeat over and over. Many B2C buyers can educate themselves but B2B buyers require a bit more TLC.
While there are certainly challenges associated with B2B eCommerce , there are also opportunities. By understanding the unique needs of businesses , you can design an eCommerce solution that meets their needs and helps them overcome some of these challenges. With the right approach , you can find success in the world of B2B eCommerce . What do you think ? What other challenges would you add to this list ? Let us know in the comments below ! Thanks for reading !