B2B vs. B2C eCommerce. Which Solution Is Right For My Business?

B2B vs. B2C eCommerce: Which Solution Is Right For My Business?

3 minute read

B2B vs. B2C eCommerce: Which One Is Right For Your Business?

As more buying moves online, businesses (no matter what they sell or what method they use to sell - distributors, wholesalers, direct) must invest in an eCommerce platform that serves their particular customers. Let’s break down two types of eCommerce platforms and how to determine the right one for you:

What is B2B eCommerce?

Business-to-Business is simply defined as a form of transactions between businesses, such as one involving a manufacturer and wholesaler/distributor or a wholesaler/distributor and a retailer. Business is conducted between companies rather than between a company and individual consumers. Both B2B and B2C customers have an expectation of having part (if not all) of their buying experience online. They are used to going on their phone or laptop for their personal purchases. They except that same level of convenience when purchasing for their business as well. But what is different - vastly different- is the data that needs to be made available and the processes that need to be supported for B2B sales.

B2B customers, often well-informed and experienced, expect comprehensive product details and personalized site experiences. They require access to negotiated pricing, precise shipping costs, and current delivery updates to make informed internal commitments. Additionally, these buyers prefer payment terms like Net 30 or 60 over credit-only options and value the convenience of reordering customized products without repeated configurations.

B2B websites should cater to these needs by offering detailed technical information and customized account data upon login. Features such as one-click reorder, access to account information like AR aging, order history, and invoices enhance their buying experience, fostering convenience and encouraging repeat business. This approach ensures your site meets the expectations of seasoned buyers, making transactions smoother and more efficient.

B2B vs B2C eCommerce

Business-to-Consumer sites tend to be more marketing-driven and optimized for search. These sites draw in new users and capture the buyer's attention. You focus more on how customers can find your products and market to somebody who has never seen them before. B2C customers want an easy buying and checkout process, including delivery information, without being forced to create an account Consumers want to access your website, purchase an item, and get out. They should see the pricing and availability of items without logging into your site. B2C customers don’t have payment terms and are typically more interested in credit card transactions and even the “Buy Now, Pay Later” options from Fintech partners such as Affirm, Klarna, and even PayPal.

Online Digital Catalogs and Their Benefits to eCommerce

Some companies take an hybrid approach to designing their commerce site. A hybrid site is open to the public but might not directly sell to the consumer, but it operates as an online digital catalog. There are many benefits from an SEO perspective to this approach. For example, if a customer is browsing for a product online or an item number or manufacturer item number, the search engine will crawl the web and take them to the site. The consumer can browse products online but ultimately must have a login to purchase the product or view pricing information.

There are many ways your commerce site can be designed depending on your customers' expectations. Some of the things pointed out above can be found in both B2B and B2C sites, so there is no hard and fast rule on one vs another. It comes down to the user experience you want for your customers or prospects. The important part is to work with a company that understands this, is not rigid in its design capabilities, and is open to working with you to create an eCommerce solution that fits your business.