The Ultimate Guide to B2B2C Ecommerce
Table of Contents
- What is B2B2C Ecommerce?
- Why are B2B Businesses Expanding to B2B2C?
- B2B2C vs Channel Partnerships vs Direct-to-Consumer
- Examples of B2B2C Partnerships
- Challenges of B2B2C Ecommerce
- Does B2B2C Make Sense for All B2B Ecommerce Businesses?
- B2B2C: 5 winning web strategies
What is B2B2C Ecommerce?
B2B2C (business to business to consumer) Ecommerce refers to a business model where Company 1 and Company 2 work together to sell their products or services to an end customer.
Why are B2B Businesses Expanding to B2B2C?
Few B2B leaders can rapidly expand their business without influencing service levels or all-around sales efficiency. Therefore, many B2B companies do not try to “be everything” on their own, but choose to take the path of partnership and transform into a B2B2C model to maximize business opportunities and attain scalable growth.
For B2B2C to work, both companies need to target the same consumer base and deliver value that each company cannot achieve individually. Perhaps most importantly, the partnership needs to be meaningful to the end customers. Here are some examples of how the B2B2C model can benefit everyone involved:
Company 1: Quickly build brand reputation and tap existing customer bases to reduce acquisition costs.
Company 2: Provide new or complementary services without investing in internal resources and obtain additional data about customers.
Consumers: Take advantage of convenient services supported by reputable sources.
B2B2C vs Channel Partnerships vs Direct-to-Consumer
When it comes to B2B2C, many people often confuse it with other sales channels-this makes sense considering that companies are constantly evolving and changing. B2B2C is different from channel partnerships because you are not selling the product to another company, which then sells the product to consumers. For example, if a wholesaler sells to a retailer and then to a consumer, it is not B2B2C. In addition, B2B brands that have launched DTC channels do not belong to the B2B2C model.
Examples of B2B2C Partnerships
To better understand how companies adopt successful B2B2C models, let’s take a look at some popular examples.
1. Instacart and grocery stores
Instacart is a good example of how B2B2C works for newer technology startups and traditional grocery stores to add services that are beneficial to consumers. Here’s how that brakes down. The consumers don’t have time to go to the grocery store due to busy schedules. Today, shoppers usually prefer others to shop for them and then deliver the goods.
However, grocery stores usually do not provide this service because it may involve substantial investment in technology and personnel. They provide an ecommerce site where consumers can imitate the entire grocery shopping experience directly from Instacart’s e-commerce site.
2. Affirm and ecommerce retailers
Another example of B2B2C is how Affirm works with e-commerce retailers. For this example, let us look at the partnership between Affirm and BigCommerce merchant UPLIFT Desk.
UPLIFT Desk sells various standing desks on its website to help customers create customized workstations. However, some customers may not be able to pay all the fees at once. UPLIFT Desk does not provide financing on its own, but cooperates with Affirm to provide customers with the option of monthly payment. Again, in this example, the customer knows that they are working with Affirm to develop a payment solution instead of UPLIFT Desk, which is the key to the B2B2C e-commerce model.
Challenges of B2B2C Ecommerce
Although B2B2C ecommerce offers many attractive benefits for brands, it is by no means an easy-to-organize setting.
The B2B2C partnership requires the joint efforts of both parties-especially in the following areas:
Data sharing: A successful B2B2C ecommerce partnership requires real-time integration between all participants. Customer records, inventory, inventory, pricing, promotion, marketing, loyalty data integration data must be synchronized together.
Customer ownership: When both parties contribute the same number of customers and share customer ownership, B2B2C partnerships will flourish. Or one party maintains all customer records and fairly compensates the “contributors” who drive sales.
Brand differentiation: Unlike “white label” partnerships, B2B2C assumes that there are significant differences between each company. For example, UberEats showcases its brand image while serving food to its partners. They also treat Starbucks-driven customers (and their data) as theirs.
Promotion: Both parties need to contribute fairly to the promotion of the product. If your partner doesn’t give your product a decent attention, why let them join?
Does B2B2C make sense to all B2B ecommerce Companies?
The boundaries between different business models are disappearing. According to McKinsey analysts, the U.S. e-commerce penetration rate has achieved a 10-year growth within 3 months, jumping from slightly more than 15% at the end of 2019 to 35% at the end of the first quarter of 2020.
In fact, brand manufacturers can now sell products to anyone who asks online.
Nevertheless, this does not mean that every type of enterprise will (or should) adopt the B2B2C model. Here’s Why
- The B2B2C model requires a certain degree of digital maturity
Or, at least, be firmly committed to performing digital transformation and adding new integrations to your online business settings. Currently, not all retail businesses exist.
- The product itself may be a limitation
Complex, regulated or niche products (such as medical or industrial equipment) cannot be sold directly to end customers.
- You are not ready to negotiate
If your company is unwilling to give them proper credit, share customer data, or provide fair compensation, B2B2C arrangements may be difficult to sign.
B2B2C: 5 winning web strategies
Here are the 5 cornerstones for your expansion strategy:
1. Customer Experience
Providing a great customer experience is a great way to get customers back, whether they are shopping for business or pleasure. The essential features of a B2B2C online store include:
- Usability: This includes factors such as loading speed, page structure, and graphic design. Is your online store easy to navigate? Can your customers find what they want?
- Related content: We like to follow 3 C: Clear, fascinating and concise.
- Consistency: Ensure that your customers get the same information across channels.
- Speed: Finding information, placing orders and paying should be quick and easy.
- Security: From tested and certified e-commerce software to firewalls, IP restrictions, and VPNs, you don’t want to put customer data (or your business) at risk.
- Self-service: 24/7 access, able to place orders, check shipping status, and pay invoices.
2. Mobile Responsiveness
We are in the era of smartphones. The sooner companies adapt, the sooner they will benefit.
In addition to increasing conversion rates and sales and improving the customer experience, mobile optimization can also bring new powerful tools to your sales team. B2B sales applications allow sales agents to carry their goods with them in the form of tablets, and good B2B sales applications allow these agents to place orders on the spot even when they are offline.
3. Take Your Web Store International
Localizing your marketing materials, online store content and documentation is a great way to attract more consumers’ attention on your online sales portal. However, this is only the beginning: you also need to make sure that you can provide correct tax calculations and shipping arrangements.
4. Facilitate Cross-Selling and Upselling
A good online store can help consumers find the products they are looking for. A great online store can also help them find items they don’t even realize they need.
Make sure that your online store can display related items on the product page. This may be a useful accessory, or it may be a higher-end version of the product that the consumer initially searched for. This is especially important if you sell complex goods and products that are often combined with other products, such as car parts or electronics.
- This will help your customers find the best product for their purpose, while also benefiting your bottom line.
5. Go for Integration
This is a bit like an umbrella tip, because it makes it easier to put tips 1 to 4 into action. Using an integrated e-commerce solution, you can take advantage of the valuable information stored in the ERP system.
- The result: a powerful online sales portal that provides all product information consumers need without compromising speed or usability.
Deepak Wadhwani has over 20 years experience in software/wireless technologies. He has worked with Fortune 500 companies including Intuit, ESRI, Qualcomm, Sprint, Verizon, Vodafone, Nortel, Microsoft and Oracle in over 60 countries. Deepak has worked on Internet marketing projects in San Diego, Los Angeles, Orange Country, Denver, Nashville, Kansas City, New York, San Francisco and Huntsville. Deepak has been a founder of technology Startups for one of the first Cityguides, yellow pages online and web based enterprise solutions. He is an internet marketing and technology expert & co-founder for a San Diego Internet marketing company.