Many businesses wrestle with whether to operate as B2B or B2C. When just starting out, we wonder which will suit us best. And if we’re currently operating as one, we often can’t help but wonder whether the other would be even better.
For current B2C sellers, the temptation to wave goodbye to customer service hassle and individual sales can be tempting. On the surface, going from 100 individual orders per day to 10 bulk orders a week sounds great, right? But before jumping ship and transitioning to B2B, it’s worth getting the full picture.
B2B eCommerce is estimated to drive $1.2 trillion in revenue by 2021. So there’s no denying the potential benefits, but the transition won’t always be an easy one.
When you sell B2B, there are fewer clients to deal with. Instead of selling individual items to lots of customers, you sell bulk orders to a few. It’s your clients who are then in charge of attracting individual consumers to buy the product. In this sense, B2B selling seems a lot more convenient and brings with it less responsibility.
No longer do you need to worry about answering individual customer service emails. That responsibility now falls on your clients as they’re the middle-ground between you and the everyday consumer.
B2B selling will bring the downside of lower profit margins. If your clients are buying orders of 1,000 products, they’re going to try to negotiate a better deal so they see the best profit for themselves. Unlike B2C, where prices will stay the same for all customers, your B2B prices might vary for every customer.
With B2B, you also miss out on some of the freedom and creativity. Your product loses some of its association with you and becomes part of whichever brand is selling it. Because of this, you’ll have very little say in the product’s message and marketing.
B2B selling also brings a much more complex business system. In B2C, customers will pay at the point of sale before you send the product. But with large B2B orders, there’s invoicing and purchase orders. You might not see payment for up to sixty days.
When operating as a B2B business, your buyer is someone who makes purchasing decisions on behalf of a company. Rather than dealing with one person in B2C, there will be multiple people deciding whether to choose you.
Your buyers will want a lot more technical, industry-specific information about your products before buying. And, with a B2B audience, you’re playing the long-game. You’ll have to put more effort into building long-term relationships with your clients as they aren’t going to be making any quick decisions. There’s more at stake for them, so you’re going to have to put in a lot more effort to make a sale than you’re used to with B2C.
Considerations to make
With that in mind, here are some things to consider before making the switch:
- Don’t run before you can walk – You might risk your B2C success by rushing into B2B too soon
- Choose a platform that can keep up – Prioritise scalability, functionality, and value
- Your user and buyer aren’t the same – There are multiple decision-makers and a more complex buying process
- Know your new audience – There’s a much smaller client pool than in B2C
- Focus on building relationships with clients – Winning a sale will be a long process with much more back and forth
- Plan for the long-term – Nurture relationships to promote repeat-customers
What about both?
If you think your business could benefit from both B2B and B2C selling, why not try your hand at both? If you find a platform that supports both branches, you can benefit from the freedom of B2C selling while experiencing the big wins of a B2B deal.
With Shopit, you can target both B2B and B2C audiences easily from one platform. Maximise business growth by incorporating both types of business into your strategy. We provide you with the tool kit you need to offer a seamless experience for everyone. From an efficient B2C user experience to B2B benefits like purchase orders and volume discounting, Shopit keeps you competitive. Find out more here.
Surahi believes in that good people, good processes and structure produce great companies.
With a keen interest in globalisation and personalisation, she writes about the opportunities for growth to everyone