Selling to businesses and consumers? Reasons to Keep Your B2B and B2C eCommerce Stores Separate
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Many businesses today sell in both the B2B and B2C sectors, such as manufacturers and wholesalers. And while both have similarities with respect to online eCommerce, there are several key differences that set them apart.
Whereas B2B focuses solely only on businesses, the B2C segment is entirely consumer-based. And each group makes purchasing decisions for different reasons; is motivated to buy based on different factors; and has unique expectations.
This is critical in developing your eCommerce store for both groups — and the key reason why you need to keep your B2B and B2C stores separate — because in order to effectively serve to each group’s needs, each portal will need to have different features and functionality based on their unique expectations and reasons for buying.
4 Reasons to Separate Your B2B and B2C eCommerce Stores
1. Customer personas are different.
Personas represent a detailed profile of your ideal customer as to their wants, needs and buying behaviours. They are vital to effective customer targeting, to improving the customer experience, and to optimising your overall marketing strategy. Whereas B2B customers tend to make value-driven purchasing decisions based on logic and research, your B2C customers are more likely to make an impulsive purchase based on emotion.
2. The approach to selling and marketing is different.
Although some lines that may blur a little, sales and marketing strategies for your B2B and B2C customers need to be unique. That is because B2B customers tend to form long-term, well-established relationships with vendors; make purchasing decisions based on logic and research (and with input from multiple decision-makers); and require more complex product detail — all resulting in a longer buying cycle. Your B2C customers, on the other hand, are known to make buying decisions in-the-moment; based on emotion rather than logic; and on a one-off basis, resulting in a shorter buying cycle.
3. Order size, frequency and volume is different.
B2B products tend to involve larger orders, less often, or at higher price points with less overall sales volume, whereas B2C products tend to involve smaller order sizes at lower prices but with higher overall sales volume. B2B eCommerce stores also need to provide a way to take recurring orders from their B2B customers.
4. Pricing and payment structures are different.
Pricing for B2B customers usually involves negotiated pricing, tiered pricing and product-specific promotions that are dependent on a variety of factors, whereas B2C customers generally pay a fixed price that is the same for each of them. In addition, your B2B customers need to have a way to generate an invoice or credit, but your B2C customers simply pay directly at the time they buy, generally through a variety of payment methods.
Different customers. Different needs. Different stores.
Your B2B and B2C customers have different needs, each with unique motivations and buying patterns, so it makes good sense to keep your B2B and B2C eCommerce stores separate. Of course, should your company’s own approach to eCommerce and pricing be similar for both markets, then it might be feasible to utilise a single online store.
With an ever-increasing number of B2B and B2C online shoppers, companies are rigorously turning to digital eCommerce to connect with their customers and increase sales. If you are one of them and you sell to both businesses and consumers alike, it’s best to keep your B2B and B2C online stores separate in order to maximize the effectiveness and ease of use of your eCommerce business.