In the B2B (Business-to-Business) eCommerce setup, the business sells to another business, which then might offer the services/products to end-users. On the other hand, in a B2C (Business-to-Consumer) setup, business is selling to the end-user directly without intermediary involvement. The most notable difference between B2B and B2C is the target audience, which, in turn, becomes the base for further customizations.
Another way to put it — B2B customers purchase to improve the business, and B2C customers purchase with the intent to gain personally. Alibaba is an example of a B2B eCommerce company, and Amazon is an example of a B2C eCommerce company.
Though they fall under the same parent business model, i.e., eCommerce — the customer experience they offer differs. The potential customers should get an idea of your business model as soon as he lands on your website and app.
Thus, the difference between B2B and B2C should be clear before you step into the digital commerce business. Here’s a detailed insight into each of these differences and how you can make efforts to offer an experience that leads you ahead of the pack.
7 Key Differences Between B2B and B2C eCommerce Platforms
B2B vs B2C digital commerce setups are a mixed bag. You will have to consider the audience’s needs, preferences, and interests to attract their attention.
These considerations differ for B2B and B2C as the target audience changes. Let’s understand what is the difference between B2B and B2C in detail.
1. The Product Detailing
There is a difference between B2B and B2C buying behavior which should be taken into consideration when working on product detailing.
The B2B purchase process is more of an informed decision and takes time. There is more than one decision-maker involved across the organizational hierarchy, which complicates the decision-making process. Thus, product detailing is imperative for a B2B business where conversions take time.
70% of the B2B buyers and researchers watch videos throughout their path to purchase.
B2B eCommerce websites need to focus on:
- Buying guides
- Product videos, explainer videos
- Articles and blog posts
- 24/7 customer support
- Case Studies
On the other hand, in B2C platforms, the decision-making process is spontaneous as it solely depends on the end-user. Thus, product detailing should be focusing on:
- Reviews and ratings
- Product videos
- Product features and highlights
- Clear, high-resolution images
2. The difference in CTAs (Call-to-Action)
The thumb-rule of marketing — you say exactly the things that your customers want to hear, i.e., how your product benefits them. In B2B, the actionable content should revolve around how the product would benefit your customer’s business.
For instance, If you are selling office chairs for a new office setup. The B2B business example for CTA can be something like this:
“Comfortable chairs for ensuring employee productivity.”
On the other hand, the actionable content for a B2C eCommerce brand should revolve around how the product would benefit your individual customers.
Following the above example, the CTA for B2C customers can be:
“Decorate your living room with these modernly designed chairs.”
However, the common thing that binds B2B and B2C businesses here is that the actional content should be human-centered, i.e., should carry an emotional connection.
3. Homepage Design
The homepage design is where the fundamental difference between B2B and B2C can be inferred.
The ultimate motive of B2B eCommerce platforms is to attract other businesses that can, in turn, lead to forming a long term alliance. The main focus is on solving business problems. That means the homepage does not need to include ultra-flashy design but should instead look informative.
A B2B homepage should:
- Focus on demonstrating a demo in the center
- Run carousels that represent products with core features
- A “Why Choose Us” section to trigger the target audience’s decision
B2C websites aim to drive conversions. For that, a much-thought-about strategy needs to fall into place that helps in enhancing the B2B eCommerce user experience.
The features of the B2C homepage should include:
- Highlights on running sales & valid discounts
- Running carousels for different trending products
- Simple “clickable buttons” to product pages
4. Level of Customer Support
B2B eCommerce platforms involve bulk orders. A business investing a larger part of their resources needs to be well-informed. That is why; B2B business model follows “First Contact Resolution”, i.e., providing a satisfactory resolution before hanging up.
Significant elements that B2B eCommerce developer should include:
- A 24/7 customer service to answer business queries
- Live chats and video chats to answer business-oriented FAQs
- After-sale customer care that handles reorders and concerns
The B2C customer tends to spend less than a B2B customer as the order’s volume is a differentiating factor. Their decision is self-driven without them being answerable for it. Customer service is essential for both B2B and B2C, but for the latter, queries are limited and get solved in a matter of minutes.
Significant elements that B2C eCommerce development efforts should include:
- A 24/7 customer support to answer the common queries
- A post-sales system that handles the returns/complaints/exchanges
- Availability of self-service bots that can handle the issues through AI
5. The Checkout Process
The last step of the customer journey is the checkout process, where, again the difference between B2B and B2C should be visible.
In a B2C business setup, the flow is simple, i.e., smoothly navigating a customer to the cart, payment gateway, and the subsequent acknowledgment.
Significant elements that a B2C checkout should include:
- Availability to change the quantity/add/delete product from the cart
- Include as few steps as possible so to avoid cart abandonment
- Include all the payment options, i.e., credit cards, debit cards, wallets, CODs
- The “Apply Coupon” section should be a prominent part of the checkout interface
For B2B websites, the checkout process should be an amalgamated version of automated pre-programmed checkout steps and live human assistance. This human intervention is essential to make a business believe in your business, which helps convert successfully.
Significant elements that lay down the difference between B2B and B2C should include:
- Ability to change the quantity – add/delete products
- Demos, phone calls, and video chats should be an active part of the checkout process
- Payment options such as pay on credit, procurement punchout, credit cards, ACH payments, and even paying through cryptocurrencies should be made possible
- A one-click reordering system for a seamless long-term customer-business relationship
6. The Catalog & Pricing Model
If the difference between B2B and B2C eCommerce business is analyzed — B2B works on the wholesale model where — quantity is more and the price per item is comparatively lower.
Also, the pricing per item decreases with the quantity increasing. The running discounts are fewer, as the price per item is already at its best-listed price.
The dynamic pricing model for B2B should focus on:
- Customized pricing for loyal customers
- An automated pricing calculator that changes the price with changing quantities
In a B2C eCommerce platform, the pricing is consistent, and so the per-item price does not get affected by changing quantity. The only customizations in the B2C pricing model come in the form of first-time purchase offers, discount coupons, seasonal sales, and clearance sales.
Thus, the dynamic pricing model for B2C should focus on:
- Maintaining transparency and consistency of the price
- Enlisting discounts and offers on product pages and checkout pages along with T&C (terms and conditions)
7. Minimum/Maximum Order Quantity
Minimum order quantity (MOQ) is the main requirement that any B2B eCommerce platform needs to address. Buying a single item should not be an option on the B2B eCommerce website, unlike B2C.
Requirements for designing MOQ for a B2B website:
- Set a parameter for “minimum order quantity” per product
- Include “minimum order amount” parameter required to complete an order
- Set “quantity in multiples” requirements for products sold in packages
There is no minimum order quantity parameter when placing an order on a B2C platform. However, there is this maximum order quantity barrier that needs to be considered.
As soon as the order exceeds a set value, an alert message appears stating that the order quantity has been exceeded.
Requirements for designing MOQ for a B2C website:
- Set a parameter for “maximum order quantity” per product
- Generate an alert message once the order quantity exceeds the set quantity
Here’s a summarised table that highlights the differences between B2B and B2C eCommerce websites.
|1. Target Audience||Other businesses||End-users or Consumers|
|2. People involved in the decision-making||Researchers, managers, sales representatives, brokers||End-users|
|3. Purchase Quantity||Bulk orders||Small orders|
|4. Pricing||Dynamic (changes with increase/decrease in quantity)||Consistent|
|5. Customer Service Assistance||Throughout the stages of the customer journey||After-sales or pre-sales assistance. Usually one-time.|
|6. Product Detailing||Case studies, product videos, explainer videos, buying guides||Product videos, features, discounts available|
|7.CTAs||Business-centric (how the product will benefit the business on the whole)||User-centric (how the product will benefit the individual)|
Understanding the listed differences between B2B and B2C eCommerce websites/apps is imperative before designing the digital experience. The difference in the design elements will help your target audience relate with you, which, in turn, will also help build trust.