What’s the difference between B2C and B2B e-commerce platforms?
At a glance, there might not seem to be many differences between B2C and B2B e-commerce. After all, doesn’t it boil down to simply selling products through a web store? While that is true in essence, the reality is a little more complex.
The basic needs that a web store has to meet are the same for consumers and professional buyers alike: They need an online sales channel that’s available 24/7. But that’s where the similarities stop.
Professional buyers have a number of additional needs that business-to-business (B2B) web stores have to meet in order to provide a viable alternative to simply calling, emailing or even faxing your sales department. This includes:
Consumer, or B2C, web stores offer a standard price for each product — often with bulk or member discounts. In contrast, many B2B companies have come to individual pricing agreements with their clients, and that needs to be reflected in their online sales channels.
Single buyers vs. decision-making units (DMUs)
Consumers often make purchasing decisions by themselves, or maybe in collaboration with one or two others. Professional procurement, on the other hand, can be much more complex, and this complexity can be difficult to reflect in B2C web stores. B2B e-commerce platforms are specifically designed to support various roles so you can safeguard your client’s procurement processes and decision-making unit (DMU) structure.
Product search functionality
While consumers may search based on a brand name or product description, seasoned B2B buyers often search using article numbers to ensure that they get exactly the right item. Depending on their industry, there may only be one specific part suitable for their business needs. B2B web stores are designed with all of these search needs in mind.