What is the B2B and a B2C buyer journey like in REALIZe?
Shopping habits are changing rapidly and wholesalers need to be nimble now more than ever. Both in fashion retail and wholesale, businesses are realizing the importance of having a powerful and user-friendly e-commerce. An effective web shop that makes the shopping journey an enjoyable one for its customers will get higher sales rates and returning visitors.
In this challenging environment, small to medium sized fashion and apparel wholesalers not only need a B2B portal to serve their business customers but also the option to reach out to end consumers. For that reason, the latest release of K3's ecommerce platform REALIZe (version 3.5) features the possibility to set up two or more B2B and B2C web shops beside each other.
But what are the key differences between a B2B online shop and one aimed to the end customer? The crucial differences between B2B and B2C ecommerce all come back to just one thing: The customer. Although they might seem similar, individual consumers businesses and purchase products for entirely different reasons and want to do business in completely different ways. In this blog post we cover some key steps of the purchasing process and how they differ depending on the type of selling model:
1. Different focus for different types of buyers
Nearly 75% of B2B buyers state that buying from a website is more convenient than buying from a sales representative, and 93% say that they would rather buy online than from a salesperson once they have made their decision on what to purchase.
In the competitive market of fashion, this means that ecommerce sites must focus on providing customers with straight-forward and intuitive navigation. Functionalities such as search and navigation enables customers to quickly and easily find the products they are looking for.
Example of a B2B fashion eCommerce homepage
While feelings affect all types consumers when making purchasing decisions, it has been well documented that B2C buyers are highly driven by emotions. This affects the design and setup of the online shops as they need to focus more on the deals and variety of products.
Other shopping incentives highly appealing for B2C consumers are purchasing options such as Click and Collect, providing details about the physical commerce ("Retail Stores" option) or giving them the possibility to find the nearest shop through the "Store Finder" functionality.
Example of a B2B fashion eCommerce homepage
2. Product pages
B2B customers often to order large numbers of quantities of the same product at the same time so it is imperative to show a quick overview of the available colours and sizes of the items to facilitate the let customers make purchasing decisions faster. For this reason, products are displayed in a matrix view and it is also possible to create orders without stock during the presales period.
Example of a B2B fashion eCommerce product page
Following the same strategy that shapes up the storefront, that is, addressing the emotions of consumers rather than cold-minded decisions, the setup of the product pages also contains some key differences from a fashion B2B online commerce.
More often than not, the customer will only want to know if a specific product is available in the size they wear and maybe look at some alternative colours of that product, therefore B2C sellers do not need to display matrix views but rather focus on the different choices for the specific products and propose additional items to purchase.
Example of a B2C fashion eCommerce product page
3. Persistent shopping basket across all channels
REALIZe's quick-cart speeds up the buying process by allowing B2B customers to quickly add products to the basket by using the product number or other search properties.
It is also common for these buyers to order large numbers of quantities in one go, so there is a crucial need for them to be able to monitor the order in an efficient and easy way. The quick-cart provides maximum visibility through the complete process, to ensure the accuracy of the purchase.
Shopping cart for a B2C customer is based on individual products, showing the items, size and number of pieces attached with a small image, so customers can easily check if they have ordered the desired products.
In both cases REALIZe features a persistent basket that remains updated across all sessions and devices so customers can enjoy a truly omni-channel shopping experience, regardless of purchasing in a B2B or a B2C web shop.
4. Painless and fast checkout
The checkout step is probably one of the most important aspects that wholesalers need to pay careful attention to: as of the second quarter of 2017, the abandonment rate for online shops in the fashion industry was 67.6%. As the online shopping and the checkout process becomes more complex, cart abandonment rates inevitably rise.
Checkout process in REALIZe is straightforward and clear. Clicking the button directly brings customers finish off their shopping journey and allows them to choose from a range of payment methods, the most common being the payment on invoice after the goods have been delivered.
In the case of B2C web shops, customers also go through the same hassle-free and fast process that allows them to choose their method of payment of preference and delivery options: pick up the goods in the physical shop that's closest to them or have the apparel products delivered to a specific location.
eCommerce reached around $2.3 trillion globally by the end of 2017 (that is B2C, B2B hit the mind-boggling $7.7 trillion) and it is expected to hit $4.5 trillion in 2021. The world of online shopping is evolving and expanding rapidly, providing businesses more options and chances to win their share of the market, but at the same time rising the competitiveness and challenges: customers are now more demanding and expect superior services from the companies they purchase from.
Paying careful attention to each of these steps will ensure a smooth and enjoyable shopping process, keeping customers happy and returning for more, both for B2B and B2C eCommerce fashion businesses.