Having an ecommerce store itself is a big advantage for your business. But, in today’s competitive age, should you remain bound with either B2B or B2C?
It’s time to come out from this ‘either-or’ situation and draw a roadmap for a unified B2C and B2B website. Certainly, you will gain big after making your Ecommerce website capable of handling B2B and B2C operations. Sounds interesting? Okay. Let’s start from scratch and see the Advantages and Disadvantages of B2B and B2C models from the perspective of eCommerce.
B2B and B2C in eCommerce- Two Sides of the Same Coin
Until recent years, we considered B2B and B2C as separate business models. The reason is simple- both have different marketing tactics for different targeted audiences. But, the advent of eCommerce B2B has simply filled the gap between them. Today, lines between B2B and B2C models in the eCommerce world are blurring at a fast pace and we used to believe that both are two sides of the same coin.
Let’s discuss the pros and cons of eCommerce B2B and B2C business models now.
Advantages of B2B eCommerce Business
In today’s internet-driven world, a major part of the B2B business is going online. As predicted by Forrester in The B2B eCommerce Playbook For 2019, B2B eCommerce will be accountable for 17% of the total B2B sales in the USA by 2023. This sums up to $1.8 trillion.
Here are the key reasons for this phenomenal growth in the online B2B business. We can also consider them as the benefits of eCommerce B2B business.
• Reduction in cost and time- Self-service is a norm in the B2B eCommerce domain. With the growing popularity of B2B eCommerce across the world, it is apparent that your B2B buyer will prefer to search and buy products online by themselves rather than standing in a queue to be responded by the salespersons.
Such a self-service is a win-win concept for both parties. Your customers find it convenient to access and purchase products as per their requirements, and you can cut down costs on overheads and workforce significantly.
• Increase sales opportunities- A B2B website can readily bring new customers to your business. What’s more fascinating is the fact that B2B buyers get younger over time with the advent of startups. The newer audience is tech-savvy and spends more time on surfing to find the right B2B partner. They can take decisions quickly, and if your business is present online, chances are high that they will remain loyal to your firm for a long time.
• Database advantage- We live in a data-driven age. These days, every business relies heavily on data irrespective of a B2B or B2C model. Now, the online B2B website can fetch useful data for you to make crucial decisions.
Almost all B2B eCommerce stores are connected with a CMS, which means that you can remain updated on purchases and other information of customers on the move.
• Rapid Payment- In B2B business, on-time payment plays a vital role in streamlining business operations. Though merchants offer a debit facility for a month, they want to make the payment process as fast as possible. Here, online payment methods can help them out.
Customers can readily pay through various payment gateways available on your website. It makes both you and your customers comfortable to keep the payment process quick and secure.
However, it does not mean that having a B2B website is a panacea for all business-related problems. Here are the key disadvantages of B2B websites.
Disadvantages of B2B eCommerce Business
Complex journey for customers– Though B2B eCommerce has opened the doors of sales opportunities, many merchants still prefer to sit on the fence. It makes the eCommerce B2B customer’s journey way more complicated than B2C business and offline B2B business.
B2B products need customized quotes and multiple configurations in a fairly visible manner. It helps the customers to make informed decisions. If the merchants fail to implement it, customers may find it inconvenient.
High competition– Isn’t it easier to start an online business nowadays? Well, this fact gives rise to fierce competition. You need to apply all techniques to deal with increasing competition and thrive your business online.
SEO optimization and digital marketing for your business website can be some useful options to target customers. It can help you get a higher ranking for your Ecommerce 2 website on Google SERPs.
Absence of timely services- An eCommerce B2B website can give your customers the freedom of discovery, choice, and the like. But, you just cannot skip the presence of sales representatives. If your website lacks the customer service section, people may not return to your website.
You need to arrange for providing timely customer support to facilitate your customers to make a decision in favor of your products.
We can overcome these advantages by integrating technological advancements on the B2B website. But unfortunately, many B2B website owners are yet to consider these cons and come up with their solutions.
Now, let’s move to the pros and cons of the B2C eCommerce business.
Pros and Cons of B2C eCommerce business
Since the prevalence of eCommerce concepts across the world, the B2C model has remained the most successful. Many B2C startups have become big global players thanks to the eCommerce boom. B2C business is easier to start than its B2B counterpart and offers some advantages to the online retailers.
Advantages of B2C Ecommerce Website
1. You can reach a huge audience worldwide.
2. It is easy to convert visitors into customers.
3. You can readily set up the online store using top eCommerce platforms like Shopify and Magento.
4. Small and mid-size businesses can grow quickly through this model.
Disadvantages of B2C eCommerce Website
1. A lot of struggle to survive and thrive in a cut-throat race.
2. Website needs to be capable of handling multiple orders at once.
3. Low value of orders keeps the margin lower than B2B website.
4. It is difficult to get repetitive customers and need to invest more in online marketing.
Finally, let’s discuss the combination of these two concepts- a unified Magento 2 website.
Benefits of Unified Magento 2 Website- Where B2B and B2C Combines
Let’s face it! Building a B2B website is a costly affair. You need to spend a lot of time and effort to make up and running the B2B website in the eCommerce domain. But then, if you have an existing B2C website, you can readily expand it toward B2B at a reasonable cost. It has many advantages, such as:
1. Universal management
As we discussed in the first part of this blog, when it comes to the online platform, B2B and B2C models are not much different. They share common characteristics online and therefore, it is easy to manage them with the help of a unified database. It significantly improves your efficiency and boosts your business.
Here are the major benefits of unified management:
1. Single catalog and almost the same inventory management.
2. Minimal technical tweaks and glitches because all codes and themes are within a single website.
3. SEO optimization is easy and convenient for both models.
4. Focused approach on brand promotion.
2. Boosts Sales
In the B2B model, you sacrifice profit to get a large order volume. But then, you can target big customers who can give you business for a long time through frequent purchases. In a way, B2B is beneficial for a long period.
On the other hand, as a B2C retailer, you can maximize the price by eliminating middlemen and sell directly to the customers. However, you can sell in a small volume and it is necessary for you to reach a vast audience to compensate for less order volume.
Unified B2C and B2B websites can make it possible to reach both types of customers and maximize opportunities.
A unified B2C and B2B website makes it possible to target both and maximize your sales opportunities.
3. Improves Customer Experience
A unified B2C and B2B website is ideal to address all types of customers. As a customer-focused website, it enables you to take every step necessary to improve the customer experience. What’s more, it facilitates you to treat your B2B customers as retail consumers and give them a more personalized experience. You can give them quick and easy purchasing options in a customizable way like you do in the B2C model. Also, you can keep the price affordable for both types of customers in a unified site.
How Magento 2 Favors You to Bring First Unified Store?
Magento 2 is designed to keep the B2C experience in mind, and therefore, it is in the best position to adapt to the changes in B2B eCommerce trends. In other words, if your Magento 2 store is capable to attract a lot of people, it can invite a bunch of people who can give orders in bulk.
Here are key characteristics of the Magento 2 platform to bring a unified store.
1. Catalog capacity is huge
Rich features related to the catalog enable Magento 2 to overtake other platforms like Shopify or BigCommerce. For example, Magento 2 supports 6 product types; all are built with a bunch of dynamic attributes. It enables you to control the price, stock, categories, and the like.
2. Inventory-related features
MSI or Multi-source Inventory is one of the most distinguished and noticeable features of the Magento 2.3 version. Merchants can create unlimited sources on the basis of inventory strategies and customer demand, assign product quantity to specific sources, and keep track of multiple inventories, thanks to this excellent feature.
This feature is even more useful to split the B2B and B2C sources if you want to build a unified B2C and B2B website. It helps you manage the catalog for different models more efficiently and conveniently.
3. Flexibility in segmentation
Customer segmentation is essential to get the insight of various customers. It can give you actionable insights to grow your business. You need to provide the right information to the right people at the right time to increase the conversion rate and customer base.
Magento 2 offers a straightforward and yet flexible customer segmentation. You can readily classify your customers into various groups that have some common features. In other words, it is advantageous in a unified B2B and B2C website in the following way.
Geographic- Based on the country, climate, etc.
Behavioral- Based on the visitor or customer’s behavior and activities on your websites like page view, order history, and preferred payment method.
Demographic- Based on age, job title, education level, etc. of your customers.
Lifestyle- Based on contacts, community, and culture.
After grouping customers, it is easy to show them personalized offers dynamically in wholesale and retail segments.
Also, it is possible to offer personalize pricing to your special and repetitive customers once you bring a unified B2B and B2C website.
It is fair to mention that though Magento 2 has excellent built-in features, you need some advanced features to grow your first Magento 2 store. Along with this, you should consider keeping your store ready for B2B operations.
You can opt for the all-in-one Magento 2 B2B Package offered by Solwin Infotech. Send us your requirement at email@example.com. Our certified Magento developers will come up with a seamlessly running website by integrating customized Magento 2 themes and Magento 2 extensions for your online business.