When it comes to purchasing online, there seems to be a very loud difference between ‘online shopping’ and ‘online business’ – basically the difference between B2C and B2B, or ‘the heart and the head’.
So what’s the difference?
B2C we see as a more piecemeal affair – a slower, softer process with the consumer either purchasing on a whim or researching an item, comparing prices, maybe needing a bit of online chat hand-holding and eventually adding to cart.
B2B we see as hard-headed and anonymous orders and shipments of large quantities based on figures; a faceless exchange of autogenerated invoices and dispatches.
But with all the spokes to Magento’s wheel and with all the related apps and extensions available, are these two formats really so different in the ever-evolving eCommerce landscape? If consumers want a boutique and personalised shopping experience, surely businesses might want that too – just in larger quantities?
Applying B2C intelligence to your business
Fashion consumers love the ‘shop the look’ function – couldn’t this also be applied to B2B where products are curated for your specific business? And everyone wants a smooth online transaction – just because trade has a few other hoops to jump through with accounting and inventory software compatibility, that doesn’t eliminate the need for a friendly and stress-free ordering experience.
B2B could learn something from evolving B2C shopping habits as this consumer is the ultimate recipient of the product your business is selling. It may not end up in the consumer’s hand directly, but it will eventually, and it is these consumers who will (or won’t respond) to your eCommerce online marketing strategy.
Admittedly, B2B sites don’t have to lure customers and convert them in a unique visitor way – B2B custom is generally conducted during business hours and with repeat custom so the need for one-on-one help out of hours is slim – but it’s an interesting avenue to pursue, knowing all the algorithmic tricks up Magento’s sleeve.
Get creative with Magento
If you run a business using Magento, think about how B2C offerings could translate, as a stockist or a supplier. Perhaps your supplier could curate exclusive gift packs based on your customer data? You could create customer or business log ins that offered equally personalised but differing product configurations to target the audience precisely.
Customise and personalise
Two of the major considerations for the future of eCommerce is customisation and personalisation, both of which Magento can be steered to deliver. Just as the individual consumer wants to experience these, B2B will become more inclined to want this too, considering the range of online stores in existence today, from handmade Etsy shopfronts to the big box merchants.
If you use Magento ecommerce, think about peeking over the fence and seeing if you can pick up some tips from the otehr side to apply to your next transactions – whatever they may be.
Originally published 30 November 2014