Most significant differences between a B2B platform and a B2C store

28.07.2018 Angelika Siczek

There are some notable differences between B2B and B2C sales. The fundamental one is the number of transactions that platforms supporting individual solutions need to process. In the case of B2C, it is necessary to handle many small transactions and the purchasing process is usually much simpler. In the case of B2B transactions, their volume is usually much smaller, while the value of a single shopping cart exceeds the one that occurs in the B2C store significantly. Therefore, the purchase process and requirements are also different.

Najważniejsze różnice pomiędzy B2B a B2C


The purchasing process looks different in the case of these two sales methods. In B2C stores, orders can usually be placed by users who are not logged in, and the creation of an account, if the user expresses such a wish, is part of the purchasing process. The situation is quite different in the case of B2B, where access to the store is limited very often. Creating an account usually requires sending documents confirming company data and the rights of the person to place orders. Only after creating or activating the account by the administrator, the user has the option of making a purchase or placing an offer to purchase.


Appearance is a factor that considerably distinguishes both platforms. In the case of B2C, extensive graphic design and large images of products are used to induce the user to buy. Product descriptions are usually well-developed and provided with an appropriate marketing message, so as to provide a large amount of information about the product, encourage purchase and support the positioning of products in search engines. In the case of B2B, stores are very often not positioned, and their task is to serve customers who already know the company’s offer well. The appearance of such a platform is definitely of secondary importance. Category cards are often presented in tabular form, and the graphics are much less important. Product descriptions are also limited very often in favor of tabular data or with the complete omission of product cards in the store. The basis is the speed of reaching a given product and filling the shopping cart.


In case of a B2C store, the main implementation goal is encouraging users to buy with an attractive form of presentation and brand creation in a way that most users will remember and want to shop there in the future. On the other hand, the goal of B2B platforms is maximizing improvement and automation of the shopping process by the customer. The system is designed to relieve traders of handling telephone orders and the need to manually enter orders into the system.


Payment methods are another element that differs B2B and B2C platforms. In a typical B2C store, the final stage of the purchase process is payment for selected products. It usually takes one of several basic forms of payment, such as a traditional transfer, cash on delivery, PayU or PayPal payment gateways or more sophisticated forms like One Click Payment or Apple Pay. In the case of B2B transactions, this process is much more complicated and should give the opportunity to pay by deferred payments and buyer’s credit. Very often, the final price of a payment is not known at the stage of ordering, because the order may be offered first or the exact price of transport may not be known at the time of ordering. Due to the above, payment for the order may be possible only after the order has been confirmed by the administrator.


The B2B discount process is much more complicated. In the case of B2C, the discounts are aimed at encouraging the customer to make further purchases or even sales in the cycles of lower demand for the product. These goals are implemented by using discount codes or discount rules on a cart or catalog, sometimes a free delivery is also offered to the customer as part of the promotion. In the case of B2B, very often, product prices are assigned individually on the basis of relations and orders placed earlier. There is often a need to segment customers depending on the volume of orders placed. Discounts, if they occur, are usually personalized, in the simplest version they are broadcast at least to a group of clients. In addition, orders may be subject to additional individual negotiations and be offered.


In the case of B2C stores, customers usually have full access to the offer. The situation is completely different in the case of B2B platforms where access to the offer is often limited depending on the client. In the most basic form access to prices is limited for clients not logged in, however, access to specific categories or even individual products is very often limited. There may also be a need for the parent user within the structure of the given company to limit access to the offer for specific sub-accounts. In the case of B2C stores, the offer is expressed in gross prices, while in B2B it is in net prices.


In the case of B2C stores, there is a large number of users placing relatively small orders, and the cost of their service and acquisition is relatively small. Users usually create the accounts themselves or place orders without creating an account. This is completely different in the case of B2B, where the number of users is limited and the cost of obtaining a single client is high. In this case, it is often necessary to contact the seller and the customer at the stage of creating a user account. The structure of created accounts is also complicated, many users with different levels of space and permissions often have access to a single company account. Very often, individual users have a budget limit set and a link to the cost center.
Of course, the above-mentioned differences between B2B and B2C platforms are just the basic and most visible elements. B2B platforms are usually much more difficult to implement, including the automation of many enterprise processes and using solutions on the borderline of e-procurement.

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