eCommerce is experiencing a shift in the business world with companies experimenting with marketing strategies. Traditionally, eCommerce has been divided into two main categories that are B2C and B2B for selling a product or service.
B2B marketing is highly specialized as most companies sell directly to their customers (B2C). B2C is more common than B2B, and dedicating separate strategies might not yield an adequate return on investment. As a result, merging the two is becoming necessary as the relationship between buyers and sellers becomes more complex.
A hybrid eCommerce solution for B2C and B2B strategy allows a brand to fully communicate with business and individuals from a single platform or dashboard.
As mentioned above, B2C is a strategy targeting consumers and B2B is focused on other business. Each form of marketing addresses the different needs of each market, both of which have buying power. In each form of marketing, the target market is reached by using different language and the sales cycles differ.
Naturally, due to the temporary nature of interacting with an individual, B2C generally has a shorter sales cycle and B2B quite longer. Each form of marketing is driven by different reasons, with B2C – customers are more emotional while in B2B purchases arise out of a rational need for a product or service.
This means that there is a vast difference between markets and despite both having a buying power, the decision-making process differs. While the customer decides whether or not to buy a product or use a service, a business has to consult with a range of stakeholders before signing up on a purchase. Merging the two may seem like mixing oil and water but there are ways to harmonize a strategy that is inclusive of both.
The necessity of innovation in eCommerce
Digital marketing has certainly changed the way in which consumers interact with completing online purchases. The world is beginning to rely more on buying products and services online and market segments are more diverse and expansive than ever before.
Using hybrid tools and technology can allow a brand to employ AI for eCommerce sales and to ensure that data is handled in a way that drives innovation.
It is no secret that clients using these interfaces require fast attention to their needs and expect a high level of efficiency from an eCommerce platform. Being able to integrate the two means that a brand is able to easily respond to each need as they develop campaigns.
Considerations before pursuing a hybrid B2C and B2B platform
Of course, this form of hybrid marketing is not ideal for every type of business and there are many considerations to make, including:
- Renovating the user interface for customer checkout. B2B software is quite different from B2C and you need to decide if the interface will be merged or different. For instance, a B2B checkout requires permission and adherence to procurement regulations in a company.
- A brand needs to decide on the content and how they will personalize content for businesses and individuals. In B2C, the marketing material may be speaking to an age group, but with business, the brand is dealing with a company representative.
- Creating a pleasant customer experience is important to an individual and a business. The platform needs to run smoothly and seamlessly. A dysfunctional eCommerce platform is off-putting, no matter which of the two segments you are dealing with. Thus, the platform you develop needs to incorporate features for both types of customers without compromising their trust.
- Using an integrated approach is key to saving both time and money, and the idea may seem overwhelming at first. However, the process does not have to be harrowing and you will have to research the ideal hybrid platform to easily manage both.
The features of a hybrid eCommerce platform
A hybrid eCommerce platform infuses the needs of B2C and B2B and provides a single platform to conduct online business. Some companies have settled with having two separate platforms, which are high maintenance and do not reap a lot of benefits for the business.
Hybrid platforms offer an integrated solution and are considered a way to easily streamline activities for the business interested in providing both. Here are some features of a hybrid eCommerce platform:
Multiple user interfaces
As the business, you may be working from a single interface or platform; however, the ideal hybrid eCommerce portal allows you to present different user experiences. Multiple eCommerce interfaces allow a brand to have two different ways of presenting products to each market segment.
Within these segmentations, you can create an experience that ensures that you are able to focus on creating a seamless user experience and the ability to preset discounts, for example, for bulk orders.
Instead of having multiple platforms to gain insights and analytics, you can access your data in a single place. A hybrid platform allows a brand to easily deliver content from a single platform to ensure that double data entry is avoided.
Multichannel customer view
As a brand, you can gain a more holistic view of your buyers and their spending habits. You can gain more accurate and comparative information to further refine your marketing strategy. In the digital marketing age, this information is what will propel your business, and it becomes easier to manage campaigns.
Strategic knowledge is more accessible
With a hybrid platform, a brand can easily adapt to changing markets and conduct studies on its most successful products or services. The rise of entrepreneurship and start-ups has created more room for merchants to open up their market to the B2B market. A hybrid platform is a future because it taps into different markets from a single stream.
Saving time and resource
It is always worth mentioning that good use of a hybrid platform is necessary because it allows for ease in implementing a marketing campaign. For instance, when designing an eCommerce store, you need to make it easy to use so that customers can checkout without hassles.
Finding the right platform for your business
Delving deeper into eCommerce should not cause the brands a headache, rather it should ease sensibility into a business. As discussed, separate platforms are becoming outdated due to an imbalance in demand for products.
The transition to an eCommerce platform might cause pressure for some. There are already a few platforms out there to assist a brand to begin their journey in becoming more efficient in combining their B2B and B2C platforms.
1. Big Commerce
Known as the world’s leading eCommerce platform, BigCommerce offers a flexible way to manage B2C and B2B marketing activities. It offers highly specialized features that are yet to be used by most competing software developers.
The platform allows a brand to easily create separate catalogs for both client groups. The hybrid solutions integrate a range of built-in features to easily manage content for both streams.
2. Core DNA
Core DNA is one of the most innovative hybrid tools that focus on easing the customer experience. It offers a host of tools and plugins that allow site managers to meet their business requirements. The platform offers developers the opportunity to develop eCommerce sites that have good content and focus on aligning the strategy with the market trends.
3. Shopify Plus
Shopify is possibly one of the simplest tools out there to manage eCommerce company activity, especially if your revenue is over the $1M mark. The user interface is quite simple and friendly to internet users and focuses on streamlining the processes for both realms. Shopify is quite simple to use and ideal for a kind of business with a small marketing team.
Adapting to change, and improving web design
Once a brand decides on the platform to use, it is important to choose eCommerce website designs that are attractive and address client needs. A brand may already have a website, so a few tweaks might be necessary once brand transitions to a hybrid platform.
It might not be necessary to change an entire website, but some companies may experience unexpected growth, which might mean changing certain elements of a website.
Design is one of the most important elements in eCommerce because every detail communicates with a potential client. Businesses may be drawn to your site out of necessity, but the individual may distrust the site based on not liking the design. Thus, your design strategy should include appealing to human nature.
Tips to retain consumers
The hybrid consumer is a nuanced concept in both market segments that B2B businesses are learning to embrace. Learning more about the consumer is key to setting up a new hybrid portal. In the eCommerce realm, these are some tips to retain your clients and gain new ones when transitioning from two platforms to a single one.
- Focus on the customer journey because this allows you to build a user experience tailored to their needs. Not only should it be visually appealing, but the design should adapt to any device and it should be easy to access the site. Limit having your clients fill out long forms at sign-up and ensure that the checkout process is fast, secure and offer adequate and immediate support.
- A brand also needs to integrate the search feature with the product line by preempting keywords. Search capabilities on an eCommerce site are important because they allow a customer to easily find what they are looking for. The brand can also integrate a search with alerts so that they can get an idea of items to stock up on.
- Promotions are at the helm of any business. They simply make a brand look good and give a client a reason to come back for more. You can offer special discounts for online shoppers and different offers for businesses. An offer is a good idea if the business can afford it.
Both B2B and B2C retailers can learn from each other to create an experience that accommodates individuals and businesses alike. A complex sales process is not necessary, and a user needs to feel as though their money is going into the right hands. It is also important to ensure optimal product availability while managing your eCommerce site.
The hybrid system can also carve a niche in attracting expert buyers who can recommend or write about your site. The eCommerce world is growing with possibilities and fast-evolving to accommodate the ever-change nature of conducting online business.