The blurring line between B2B and B2C buying continues to be one of the most popular topics in e-commerce. When we know that B2B consumers have begun to expect a B2C-like experience online, should we just use one model?
Not quite. A B2B buyer is not the average online shopper looking for the best deal on a new pair of shoes. No, B2B buyers are not leisurely browsing commercial furniture or appliances; they don’t “window shop”. Instead, B2B buyers are more directed, want real details about your products and services, and want to build long-term relationships.
The B2B Buyer vs the B2C Shopper
Business buyers are sophisticated and may even understand your products better than you do. They:
- buy products to stay profitable, competitive and successful
- are far less likely to succumb to impulse buying behavior
- have a high interest in educational content about the products and services they buy
- negotiate pricing contracts
- may place frequent repeat orders
- need access to purchase history and account activity
B2C shoppers are increasingly tech savvy and are usually looking for the best price. They:
- are less directed and spend free time browsing their favorite e-commerce websites
- are heavily influenced by shipping costs
- often make impulse purchases (especially when there is free shipping available)
- do not negotiate prices, but instead research the competition prior to making a purchase
- are less brand loyal and more likely to buy from a competitor based on price alone
- often choose guest checkout—access to order information after the order has shipped is less important
Where do they overlap? Both want:
- high quality customer service
- an easy-to-use and well designed online experience
So, when building a B2C-like experience to meet the demands of your B2B buyer, remember that in additional to beautiful images of your products you need comprehensive details about the product’s specifications, that your platform should simplify access to user information, and that your customer service contact information should be prominent. Don’t lose B2B buyers with an e-commerce experience that is too sparse for their needs.