The Similarities and Differences in B2B and B2C Digital Selling

There has been a lot of speculation in recent years around the digital business-to-business model (B2B) versus the digital business-to-consumer model (B2C), in terms of scope, customer acquisition, and retention, pricing, products/services, and most importantly, profitability.

Business to Business

Business to business, or B2B sales, is related to the selling of products/services from one business to another. B2B sales relationships have a longer lifespan, as the processes involved in closing a sale are lengthier.

Business to Consumer

Business to consumer, or B2C sales, is related to the selling of products to an individual customer. The B2C sales cycle is shorter, as the customer is encouraged to purchase the product on the spot.

It is easy to identify the business type based on the kind of customers a company attracts and caters to. Most business units follow one of two business models on the basis of the type of customers they engage.

In terms of B2B, consider Salesforce, whose primary customers are businesses in need of a CRM solution. On the other hand, B2C companies are those that directly reach out and sell to individuals.

Here, we’ll dive into some of the main differences and similarities between B2B and B2C e-commerce digital selling.

And there are plenty of differences, but one radical alignment is that selling always revolves around the customer. Since the customer is paramount, the first item on any business’s agenda is to adopt a sales process with omnichannel technology tools to improve your customer experience. 

1. Customer Profile and Market Size

At its most basic level, a B2C company sells its commodities directly to the customer, whereas B2B company’s products are sold to another business.

In the B2C space, the target audience is far broader and the greater focus is placed on customer acquisition, whereas B2B’s bread and butter is customer retention.

B2B e-commerce is certainly on the rise, with Forbes valuing it at $6.7 trillion by as early as 2020.

2. Buying Decision and Supporting Content

B2C purchases require a smaller upfront cost and the refund policy is likely simple, therefore providing a much shorter buying cycle.

The supporting web content that educates the B2C customer on the product is enough to lead to a purchase decision.

B2B, on the other hand, gets significantly more complicated since the B2B research and buying process is more rigorous.

The implementation process operates on a larger scale. The B2B purchase cycle is much longer than the B2C decision process. Therefore, it requires much more nurturing and close attention.

3. Customization and Payment Flexibility

For B2C, there’s often a uniform price for all customers and the standard payment options.

But B2B businesses consider the Configure Price Quote (CPQ) model or volume-based discounts as incentives and host additional options, like purchase orders, payment on credit, budgeting workflows, etc. for large clients buying a large order.

 4. Commerce and Infrastructure

At a more advanced level, B2B businesses offer groups of products customized to different companies.

The system selects relevant products to display when a customer logs in. This simplifies the process for business customers, as they do not have to peruse a complete catalog.

B2C businesses, on the other hand, offer their products with a clear description and a categorized search.

5. Engagement and Conversion

In B2B selling, if a seller successfully demonstrates that the value generated by a product or service far exceeds the cost of acquisition, then the prospective buyer will be more inclined to opt-in.

On the other hand, B2C audiences tend to make purchases based on how established a brand is and how it appeals to consumers’ personal desires and value systems.

While the differences between B2B vs B2C digital selling are significant, there are also many similarities. Here are just a few.

1. Effective Sales Process

Right from lead generation to the elongated process of engagement and more nurturing, both B2B and B2C sales require a unique sales process, a well-defined approach, and strategy in both showgrounds.

2. Outstanding Customer Services

Your deals do not end when a sale is made. Customer service is vital regardless of the type of selling in question. You need to provide effective services even after making the sale in order to build a long-term relationship with each client.

Therefore, it is important for both B2B and B2C businesses that their customer or organization consuming their products and services have the ability to reach the service team and receive topmost priority.

3. Multi-channel Matters

A mass of B2B and B2C buyers spend their time on similar channels. They rely on YouTube for educational content, and on and mediums like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook for social engagement. The instances may be different, but both parties can be found in the same places.

4. Entail Alignment With Marketing

B2B and B2C sales both require a robust alignment with marketing. If marketing communications are weak, offline or online, your potential customers will shy away.

Key Takeaways

Changes in technology and customer behavior are smudging the line between B2C and B2B selling.

Establishing excellent and meaningful customer experiences at all stages of the sales cycle, building an emotional connection on top of your product’s functionalities, keeping your brand relevant to your core audience, and enabling convenient customer engagement through multiple channels such as mobile and web are key focus areas in both B2B and B2C markets.

Whether your end user is a single customer or another company, Docmation can help manage, monetize and optimize your digital business as you continue to grow.

We take responsibility for recurring billing, payment processing, third-party integrations, and more – all on the powerful Salesforce B2B Commerce (CloudCraze) platform.