B2B marketing is extremely complex. Often seen as inferior to the big-advertising-budget, consumer-facing, ecommerce B2C world, B2B marketing is considered dull, boring, and behind-the-times.
Nothing however could be farther from the truth. B2B marketing is making strides in advertising, ecommerce, account-based marketing, and more. Though many in the industry may not want to admit it, B2C marketing today is, in comparison, easier.
Whereas B2C marketers just need to get to know and accommodate each individual consumer, B2B marketers need know the whole family,
This is something B2C ecommerce still hasn’t got right, despite all the years of trying. How many of us have ordered something on Amazon for a family member, only to be recommended a product based on that purchase that has no relevance at all to what we like?
Because so many stakeholders are involved in the purchase decision-making process, B2B ecommerce requires a more creative, long-term approach to marketing communications. It requires knowledge of customer needs and wants, data on who is related to whom, and relevant content at every stage of the customer journey for each customer type.
With customer experience, customer service, and customer relationships now the biggest competitive differentiators, here are a few things we think B2C ecommerce marketers can learn from their B2B ecommerce counterparts.
1. Provide as much product detail as possible
A B2B purchase is well-researched and extremely considered. It involves many different individuals, each of whom have different reasons for buying, different reasons for deciding to purchase, and different needs in terms of the information they need to make that decision.
Because of this, B2B organisations try to provide website visitors with as much information as possible on their product or service.
This is something many B2C ecommerce companies lack. Consumers can often browse a number of different websites, trying to track down information on the product they want to buy.
B2C ecommerce organisations need to better anticipate the information a buyer needs to make an informed decision about the purchase, as well as providing additional content like rich media to ensure information is easy to find and digest.
2. Identify where someone is in their buyer journey
Many B2B organisations have followed B2C’s charge towards personalisation and automation. B2B organisations use content viewed to identify where in the purchase cycle a website visitor might be, and then automatically serve relevant content at the right time, in the right place, on the right channel to entice visitors to make a purchase.
B2B companies seem to be doing better than B2C companies. There are many occurrences of retailers offering customers a discount on products they recently purchase, or sending basket abandonment emails weeks later. Not a great advertisement for personalisation or automation!
Over the past ten years, B2C organisations have prioritised lowering costs (product, supplier, delivery) and automating customer service. They've done this to increase margins. But for some this has come at the expense of getting to know the customer and delivering an excellent digital experience.
B2B companies have stronger relationships with their customers. As a result, they excel at providing a superior customer experience.
B2C ecommerce teams need to think like the B2B marketer. Where is this visitor in the sales journey? How can I help them take the next step? What content to do I need to create and deliver to help them make their decision?
3. Improve the way people pay
In the world of B2B, organisations traditionally pay offline by invoice based on payment terms agreed at the time of signing a contract. This could be made up of six equal instalments, or a deposit followed by final payment on delivery of the product or service, or whatever is agreed between the two parties.
In the most part, B2C ecommerce works through full payment at the time of purchase.
But why does it have to be like this? Many younger customers don’t own a credit card. When looking to purchase a high-value item, some consumers will be put off being faced with paying for it in one payment. Why can’t consumers pay in instalments, too?
The technology to do this exists for B2C ecommerce retailers – Afterpay being a good example, where consumers can split their payment into instalments - interest free.
Implementing instalment payment methods, such as Afterpay, can help B2C retailers drive bigger baskets, higher conversion rates, and more satisfied, loyal customers.
Codehouse deliver B2B and B2C ecommerce websites
We’ve spent over a decade working with companies in the retail industry, and numerous industries that span the B2B sector. We've helped them launch or transform their ecommerce business, integrate various payment gateways and systems, map user journeys, support content-driven personalised experiences, and get results.
If you’re a retailer looking for a new ecommerce platform, or working in the B2B sector and looking to launch a D2C ecommerce operation, we can help.
To talk B2C or B2B ecommerce, get in touch.