by Monika Beck | Featured Contributor
Selling to a business is different than selling to a consumer. It’s no surprise that a B2B website should have a different design from a B2C website. For best results, the two different types of businesses require different types of websites.
Here are some of the most important differences between B2B and B2C website designs.
Working with one individual is straightforward. Consumers may make a purchase on impulse. Most customers want to get in, make a purchase and get out. People want to know they are making a good purchase, but don’t want any barriers in that process.
Simplicity and ease are key to a sale in B2C.
Consumers also have many options. Your products will need to stand out from more competitors in a B2C market.
Selling to businesses is a more complex process. Businesses have a lot to consider before making a decision. B2B purchases rarely come down to a decision by one person. Often companies have entire departments in charge of purchasing items for the business.
The B2B process can take a long time. One decision may go through several evaluations weighing a variety of factors. It is important to focus on the entire sales cycle. Create content that explains what B2B buyers need to take them through the buying process.
Individual consumers know what they are looking for. They mostly make the decision alone. There is no committee involved. Social proof is very important. The consumer wants to know what other people think about your product or service. Show testimonials of happy customers.
Businesses rely on you more to help them with the buying process. B2B purchases often involve large amounts of money and trust. Your website will need to seem more personal in a B2B environment.
How they think and decide
Consider how people make an impulse purchase. What is driving them? It’s their emotions. With B2C, the consumer must feel they are making the right choice. And you need to do this on the individual level. Not all your customers will be the same.
You need to understand the wants and desires of your individual customers. Think about what emotional connection your products make with your customers and stress that on your website. Make these emotional connections fast. Using images is very effective to accomplish this. Short, impactful copy also works. Consumers don’t want to read a wall of text.
In a B2B environment, emotions are still a factor, after all the decision is still made by humans. However, they are far less individualized. When an employee purchases a product for a business, he considers his job. How could this purchase affect his position within the company? Again, the trust factor must be high in a B2B environment. You need to provide the B2B buyer proof that what you are selling is the right solution for their challenges.
Most businesses are less likely to make a risky, impulse purchase. You need to understand what they are looking for and assure them you have what they need. This can be a breakdown of your product or service specifications. Businesses need enough information to convince them that they are making the right choice.
What this means for your website
Websites for B2C Businesses
- There are more people than businesses. This means your website will need to handle more traffic than a B2B site. You need to move a consumer to a purchase quickly. You need to present quick, emotional reasons to make a purchase to be most effective.
- Consumers have more options to choose from. You will need to stand out from your competitors. Differentiate between your business and your competitors. Highlight what you do best. Make using your website an engaging experience. Study your competition and improve on what they do.
- Consider each step of the purchasing process. At each step, make emotional connections and demonstrate how you are different. Even the smallest parts of this process can make a difference. Don’t slow down the process. Keep the energy high up until the transaction is made and beyond.
- Show your products with great visuals. Photos, images, and videos sell. Customers want to see what they are buying. Sell them with catchy headlines and snappy copy.
- Remove the hassle. Make prices, returns and shipping easy to understand. Don’t let small uncertainties prevent a purchase. Ensure the transition to making a purchase is seamless. Minimize the action needed to complete a transaction.
Websites for B2B Businesses
- B2B sites have less traffic. However, the B2B purchases are usually larger. The value of repeat customers is huge. Your website will need to help build trust between your business and theirs.
- Remember, businesses aren’t looking for an emotional connection. In a B2B environment, information, data, research, and proof is crucial. Demonstrate your expertise and knowledge of your business. Offer personal assistance at every corner.
- A business will want to understand all the steps involved. You will need to go more in-depth than with a B2C site.
- Businesses will need more support during the purchase. With big purchases, an employee may want someone to ask questions. Offer opportunities to connect. Ensure B2B customers feel supported. A B2B website is less transactional than a B2C website. Your B2B site should support that sales process more than the actual transaction.
- In B2B, no support is too much. Make info about your products engaging. Use video and infographics to support your business. Provide opportunities for personal interactions. These can include webinars and video streams. Ensure access to this information is readily available wherever a B2B customer may need it.
Working in both
Don’t worry you’re not alone. Many companies sell B2C and B2B. However, you will need to understand where the majority of your customers come from. You can incorporate elements to serve both, but you need to understand where you will get the most return on your investment. If you sell to both business and consumers you will need to have two distinct sections for each for best results.
After reading this article, you should understand why B2C and B2B websites should be approached differently. Now you can review your website for improvements. Remember to make things simple for B2C. Keep things moving and making emotional connections. With a B2B target market, build upon your trust and integrity.
Savvy web designer with a twist – Monika Beck with Webene – San Diego, CA.
Monika Beck is passionate about website design, web programming, ecommerce, and building businesses. She is a serial entrepreneur and the cofounder of Success Harbor a website dedicated to help entrepreneurs succeed. Success Harbor interviews successful entrepreneurs and publishes topics relevant to business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs. Monika started Success Harbor with her cofounder in order to ease the life of entrepreneurs through original research, tips and unique content. Monika is also cofounder of Webene, a website design and online marketing firm based in San Diego, CA. Webene specializes in mobile-friendly responsive websites built on the WordPress platform. Monika loves playing classical music on the piano.