The past 24 months have seen a massive shift in eCommerce, as companies reached into new markets and blurred the lines between B2B and B2C. This has led to a rapid expansion in the number of businesses adopting a hybrid eCommerce model, targeting both markets at once.
Business-to-consumer (B2C) involves selling products or services to individual customers. The total for each sale is lower, and the business typically depends on a high volume of customers to stay operational.
The customer experience is extremely personalized and usually hinges on an emotional appeal. The sales process itself is focused on moving prospects from initial interest to purchase quickly, in a short cycle that can be repeated for each new customer.
Business-to-business (B2B) involves selling products or services to other businesses that can be in one vertical or across multiple industries. The total for each sale is usually higher, and the overall volume of customers is smaller.
The customer experience is usually more sterile in B2B sales, and the sales process is more complex due to the necessity of dealing with a team of people rather than an individual. Multiple stakeholders, industry-specific compliance requirements and rounds of negotiation can lead to a longer sales cycle.
Some B2C companies have gone hybrid, but their numbers are dwarfed by the number of B2B brands choosing to start selling DTC(direct to consumer.) Hybrid eCommerce is contributing to the lasting spike in sales, and the eCommerce market as a whole is expected to have its first $1 trillion year in 2022, according to Adobe.
The biggest challenge for B2B companies dipping their toe in the B2C market is their eCommerce platforms. These are typically geared for one type of customer or the other (businesses or consumers) and not both. To create seamless experiences across eCommerce, hybrid brands need a platform that can provide all customers with a high-quality user experience.
Advantages of diversification
By taking your eCommerce operation hybrid, you can broaden your target market and open up new sales avenues. Your order sizes may fluctuate more, but your total sales can be scaled significantly. You can find new opportunities for R&D, creating offerings that appeal to one or both of your markets.
Challenges of hybrid eCommerce
If you are going from B2B to hybrid, you’ll need more input from marketing experts to learn how to develop emotion-based campaigns and appeal to the average consumer. If you’re going from B2C to hybrid, you may need to create streamlined landing pages and purchasing/payment options geared more for business customers.
Your platform needs to deliver for both sides of the aisle
Your hybrid eCommerce platform should take both B2C and B2B buyer personas into account and create user experiences that are geared for optimal customer satisfaction.
B2C eCommerce shoppers expect a straightforward buying process. They want an intuitive and easily navigable website, product suggestions, plenty of chances to save, and a streamlined checkout experience.
B2B buyers want the ability to build and repeat their orders via user permissions and order management systems as well as access to business account pricing and credit options.
A hybrid eCommerce platform can meet the needs of both B2C and B2B markets from within the same system, allowing you to sell to both types of markets, conduct data analytics and track trends and sales performance from a single dashboard.
Pixafy can facilitate your move to hybrid eCommerce with our robust erpCommerce solution that integrates the front to the back end ERP software like Sage X3 and NetSuite. We recommend Magento as a platform for B2C and B2B eCommerce. Contact our team today to start a conversation.