B2C eCommerce Website
B2C eCommerce for Distribution
Same Products, Different Markets
In the age of the customer, distributors are working hard to remain an important piece of the go-to-market strategy for their manufacturers. A common way to accomplish this goal, is to expand into new markets to drive new business. When a distributor sells a finished goods type products, establishing a Business-to-Consumer relationship might be the answer. Distributors may have strong B2B relationship with their customers, where they focus most of their efforts, but also sell the same product direct to the end consumer, sometimes under a separate brand name or model identifier.
For instance, while a hardware distributors main line of business is selling in a B2B-model to their B2B customers, they may also have a line of products they sell to the public. Or perhaps a concrete distributor receives the bulk of their orders from contractors, they may also wish to sell direct to DIY-ers. Whatever the situation, B2C eCommerce experiences often differ from those of B2B eCommerce. Where B2B buyers are generally focused on getting the job done as quickly as possible, coming to a site armed with the product identifiers, B2C buyers may want to utilize a more leisurely browsing style experience, looking to compare a few options side-by-side, or may even enter your site via a marketing channel. While B2C customers often have differing ways of navigating or finding your site, they often share similar expectations when it comes to product information and ease of use.
While many distributors will continue to sell to B2B customers, the need or ability to expand into a broader range of markets traditionally not serviced by your existing model. Many preferring to purchase direct is an opportunity many distributors struggle with. For most distributors, selling online to their B2B customers is not that difficult, but the same experiences wouldn’t fit the need of direct customers very well. Field sales representatives may be able to easily bring samples or arrange demonstrations for their traditional customers, many direct customers will be simply purchasing online, without a place to go to see or compare models or options.
Your B2B eCommerce website likely has easy to find information containing industry terms, jargon, and product identifiers, without a ton of marketing materials and product imagery. This approach isn’t ideal for direct customers, who through their experiences with other big-box online retailers, have come to expect a different experience. Multiple product images, demonstration videos, ratings and reviews, are just the surface of what the everyday B2C customer has come to expect. B2C merchandisers and marketers also have different goals and tactics they need the eCommerce experience to support. Often-times marketers will want to create an ad-hoc and temporary landing page to advertise for an event, or send email-recipients to. Pricing is likely different and somewhat less complex, as Marketers also rely on SEO to assist their prospects, who may or may not have name recognition with the manufacturer to find their products, and web analytics to help quantify marketing campaigns and overall website success.
Whereas many B2B eCommerce experiences can have many different pricing options for a single SKU depending on who’s buying, how many, where they are located and how frequently they purchase, most of the time all B2C purchasers are shown the same price. That public pricing is also another marketing mechanism, especially in competitive markets.
Serve previously untapped territory.
Steve is a homeowner and he is in the process of building a new home, and he is needing to purchase hardware for all the doors in his home. Steve is looking for ways to reduce costs, and decides that he is going to purchase the door hardware himself. Steve goes online, and starts searching for what he is looking for, and he finds DIY Door. He browsers their selection, and finds exactly the style he was looking for. Steve make the purchase, and has everything shipped to his home.