When designing a store, it's important to consider the distinction between B2B and B2C. What are the differences between the two and the historical reasons for them? What can we learn from them?

B2C caters to individual customers, while B2B serves businesses of varying sizes, facilitating their procurement of supplies, raw materials, and services. Consequently, these two types of stores require different features. Fortunately, the SAP B2B and B2C accelerators include most of the essential functionalities for each:

Key B2B features

  • Organization management
  • Spend control
  • Customer account management
  • Quote negotiation
  • Volume and customer group pricing
  • Order replenishment and approval
  • B2B-specific checkout
  • B2B Order Forms
  • Future stock availability
  • Punch Out functionality

Key B2C features

  • Buy online and pick up in-store
  • Streamlined checkout options
  • Cross-selling capabilities
  • Integration with social networks
  • Google Analytics, Shopping, and Local integration
  • Customer reviews
  • Configurable products
  • Customer support capabilities
  • Ticket creation
  • Self-service order cancellation and returns
  • Potential promotions

In the past, B2B storefronts often prioritized functionality over design, CX, and overall aesthetics, assuming that organizations making purchasing decisions were less influenced by visual features and trends. However, this mindset is changing rapidly. Increased competition, lower switching costs, and evolving demographics within organizations have led B2B e-stores to catch up with their B2C counterparts.

Prominent B2C features that are now becoming commonplace in B2B include:

  • Mobile sites
  • Omnichannel
  • Smooth checkout processes
  • Quality of design, ‘look and feel’ of the site

With that said, B2B sites will always have unique needs:

  • Early login for verified and logged-in users to access pricing securely
  • Multi-dimensional variants for bulk ordering across product variations
  • Quick/spreadsheet ordering using SKUs or CSV file imports
  • Replenishment orders for automated restocking
  • Commerce quotes embedded in the site for price negotiation
  • B2B organizational and unit structures for safety and purchase control
  • Budgets and cost centers to set spending limits and thresholds for control purposes
  • B2B self-service account management to manage company accounts on the site

While B2B and B2C storefronts will always differ in appearance and functionality due to their distinct audiences, embracing certain quality-of-life and CX features from B2C sites is the next step in the evolution of B2B e-commerce. 

Although B2B customers may not prioritize these features as much as private consumers, proactively enhancing B2B sites to incorporate them is a smart move to ensure optimal client retention and satisfaction.

Elision is happy to help you with your tech stack

Elision has and is currently working with a number of B2C and B2B retailers alike and has the experience, knowledge, and technical ability to assist you in your digital transformation. Whether you are a representative from a highly specialized B2B organization, in charge of a B2C retailer with a wide array of products or even if you are at the start of your digital transformation journey and are not sure what solution best suits you Elision would be glad to assist you.

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