In this blog post, we dive into how a B2B e-Commerce business differs from a B2C e-Commerce business and what best practices to optimize your B2B webshop.
Purpose of purchase?
The B2B customer buys from you to create (financial) value for their company. It is most often about making more money, saving money, or investing money in something that will create value in the long run. The B2C customer buys to meet a personal need.
The buyer's process - logic or emotion?
The B2C customer's purchase is driven by factors such as desire, motivation, and personal feelings. The situation is different for the B2B customer who has put on its professional cap before purchasing. The trade is part of the B2B customer's job, and therefore there will hardly be a high degree of emotion involved.
To ensure that the investment in your product/service creates the intended value for the company, the B2B customer's purchase will instead be more rational and based on concrete facts and information.
The buyer's process – carefully considered or impulsive?
The purchasing situation will far more often arise impulsively for B2C customers. Their purchases are, as previously mentioned, driven by desire, motivation, and emotion, and if an emotional need suddenly arises, they will be inclined to respond to it.
For B2B customers, the purchase decision rarely arises impulsively but is instead carefully planned by the company's needs. More time and energy is often put into finding the right product at the right price and generally assessing whether the investment is worth it.
The buyer's process – one or several decision makers?
When a B2C buyer's process occurs, only one decision-maker buys a product to meet a single need - namely his own.
In a B2B buyer's process, several decision-makers are involved - e.g., people higher up in the company's hierarchy who must approve the purchase and people from other departments who want to make their wishes and needs known. Therefore, the product/service must meet several different needs at the same time as it must be clear why the purchase is worth the investment.
Now we have clarified that the buying process differs from B2B to B2C customers. In the following, we will dive into the 5 best practices for optimizing your B2B webshop.
1. Detailed product information
In a B2B trade, the order value is often higher, and as mentioned earlier, the purchase decision is made on a more informed basis with more decision-makers inside. To be convinced that your products/services are worth the investment, your customer needs a high level of information. Clear and in-depth product information is therefore crucial in a B2B buying process. Suppose your customer does not get the necessary information. In that case, they will lose confidence in you as a supplier simultaneously as finding it more difficult to justify the purchase and thus get it approved from above.
To meet your customer's need for information, you can consider producing explainer videos of your products - a survey shows that 70 percent of B2B customers watch videos during their shopping journey. With explainer videos, you can give your customers a brief and accurate insight into what they get when they buy your products/services. Thus, they get the requested information easily and clearly.
In addition to explainer videos, it may be relevant to produce blog posts and customer cases. It will give your potential customers a deeper understanding of what value your product creates in practice. Often a customer will be more reflective, and they will thus get a clearer picture of why your products/services are valuable for their particular company
2. Simple and informative website design
Your purpose is to attract companies that, in the long run, can become repeat customers. As previously mentioned, this requires that they have access to in-depth information about your products/services. Therefore, your webshop must provide the customer with relevant information in an easy and accessible way. The webshop should have a simple, clear, and informative design rather than visually beautiful.
3. Customer-specific prices
When you run a B2B e-Commerce business, the amount of what you sell is often greater, while the price of each product is lower. Usually, the price decreases as the quantity increases. There will rarely be extraordinary offers on your products/services, as you are already selling them at a reasonable price.
In addition, your prices are rarely fixed, but instead negotiable and based on an agreement between you and the individual customer. Your customers will be greeted by different prices depending on your future agreements, purchase history, etc. It is therefore crucial that your e-Commerce platform supports customer-specific prices and assortments.
Fiftytwo’s webshop solution 52eSELLER has a ready-made ERP-integrated B2B setup, which i.a. supports customer-specific prices and assortments. The webshop comes with a web and mobile self-service solution, making it possible for the customer to complete an order themselves, check the order status, and see previous invoices. Read more about 52eSELLER here.
4. Minimum order size
As a B2B webshop owner, your business model, as previously mentioned, is based on you selling a larger quantity of goods but at a lower price per piece. It is, therefore, necessary that you address a minimum order size on your webshop. It should not be possible for your customers to exclusively buy one product at a reduced price. Let's say you sell notebooks for business use. Because you order a larger quantity of notepads at home, you get a reasonable price from your supplier, allowing you to sell the notepads at an excellent price to your customers. If your customers buy a few notepads, you will quickly lose your business foundation at the same reasonable price.
5. More delivery options
On a B2B webshop, it should be possible for the customer to have its order delivered to several different delivery addresses. It may, for example, be that the customer has departments in several places in the country and therefore wants half of the products to be sent to Aarhus and the other half to Copenhagen. Therefore, you must make sure that your B2B webshop supports this feature.
How can we help?
At Fiftytwo, we have several years of experience delivering webshop solutions that support B2B and B2C businesses. Whether you cater to a B2B or a B2C market, we can help you get a webshop that supports all the requirements for a good customer experience. If you have any questions, you are very welcome to contact me.