Differences in purchasing decisions between B2B and B2C

What’s B2C and B2B?

First of all, what’s B2C and B2B? B2C stands for Business to Consumer, and B2B stands for Business to Business.

Consumer decision making process

In general, there are two cases of consumer decision making process. The first is when you recognize the need and purchase them through information exploration and evaluation to solve the problem. The second is having interest or desire through advertisements, and then make purchases through information exploration.

  1. Advertising → Interest/Desire → Information exploration → Purchase → (Shared)
(Image by, Map of the B2B Buying Process)
(Image by, Map of the B2B Buying Process)

Differences in purchasing decisions between B2B and B2C

1) Fundamental motive ⭐️

The underlying motives are different. B2C consumers’ motivation starts with the desire to improve their lives in certain ways. B2B consumers, on the other hand, aim to increase their business revenue. And they make a careful decision without being influenced by emotions, because it’s not for their personal life. And this fundamental difference in motivations is the START of all differences.

2) Decision making processes and responsibility

B2C customers often make emotional and impulsive decisions rather than rational and reasonable. Social evidence such as social media and reviews and advertisements have a great influence. Customers are very likely to buy quickly after seeing the advertisement.

3) Stakeholders

Most B2C product decision makers are customers or other family members. It’s much simpler because individual consumers make their own purchasing decisions. You can make decisions and make purchases in minutes or seconds, without having to contact a sales person. That’s why the purchasing process must be as easy and convenient as possible.

4) Purchasing costs and complexity

Most B2C products are low cost and low complexity. So they make quick purchases. For immediate satisfaction, decisions are usually made in an instant.

How should B2C and B2B sales be different?

These B2C and B2B products differ from the fundamental motivation to purchase, from the decision-making process, stakeholders, purchase costs, and complexity. Then, how should the sales be different?

1) Target audience

B2C, you must sell directly to the end user. Any individual with purchasing power can become a prospect.

2) Marketing

B2C products usually rely on emotion-driven purchasing decisions. Therefore, rather than a logical approach, you should create an identity that attracts customers through branding so that customers can naturally think of the brand when it’s time to buy the product. You also need to motivate satisfied customers to leave reviews. The reviews can be social proofs (the psychological phenomenon in which individual decisions are influenced by other people’s behavior) and it helps other customers make purchasing decisions easily.

3) Customer relationship

In B2C, the relationship between the customer and the company is at the transaction level. Focus on creating loyalty by creating positive customer experiences on websites and other contact points rather than building close relationships with customers.

4) Communication

B2C is effective in mass media such as TV or social media advertisements such as Facebook and Instagram. A powerful visual element helps to generate an emotional response from consumers. The more concise the message is, the better. B2C products are often purchased with the heart and according to intuition. Emotions affect this intuition. Therefore, you should communicate with the goal of arousing the audience’s emotions and arousing desire.

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Jiyu Han

Jiyu Han

B2B SaaS Product Designer @hyperquery | We’re building a product for data analytics team to innovate data collaboration workflow. (Email: jiyu0719@gmail.com)