Over the past four weeks we’ve explored the question of whether the B2B and B2C eCommerce experiences are converging. Through evaluating shopper marketing and how people shop in a B2C world, to the B2B application and replenishment buyer hopefully I’ve shed some light on fundamental differences in purpose between the two experiences. While there is no arguing that some B2C eCommerce practices over the years have carried over to the B2B (and for that matter, all eCommerce) experience, those points of convergence are surface-level. Visual items such as the shopping cart icon, sophisticated search results and filtering options, and even menu locations are all carry overs, while quick order pads, PunchOut ordering, and kitting/bundling/customized products are not.
With obvious difference in purchase behavior comes obvious differences in platform and organizational requirements. While B2C retailers and companies may choose to focus on strong personalized marketing requirements to drive optimal conversion rates for their eCommerce experience, a manufacturer or distributor may not. Instead, these B2B-focused companies may be looking for a platform with robust B2B feature sets. PunchOut/cXML processing, robust integration tools, a customer portal to enable customer self-service, rich product detail pages with large spec tables and exploded parts diagrams or 360-degree imagery are much more.
This is all important to note as large, established B2C eCommerce platforms look to widen their customer-base, they often use this misconception of the “convergence of B2C and B2B” to sell their B2C-centric platforms to B2B companies. Don’t fall for the ploy, and instead, be sure to evaluate your business’s requirements against a platform’s features (without huge customization costs). For more information on what to look for in a platform, checkout our whitepaper B2B is not B2C: Top 10 Differences in eCommerce and read even more about how B2B and B2C are not converging in our latest piece Why B2B and B2C Experiences are Not Converging.