Original content: https://yozm.wishket.com/magazine/detail/1408/ (ⓒ요즘IT)
Author: Jiyu Han
What is the difference in purchasing decision process between ‘B2C and B2B’?
Recently, I’ve purchased personal B2C products that I need and I’m using these apps with satisfaction. On the contrary, I had spent quite a long time researching and trying to use B2B products in company, but ultimately we decided not to purchase.
In this processes, I realized that purchase decision process of B2C and B2B products is very different, because of the difference of the final target customer. Let’s see why these decision process are bound to be different.
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.
Usually, B2C sells *products and services to consumers, and almost all of the consumer goods we normally encounter belong to this. Conversely, B2B sells products and services directly to other companies, to be precise, business decision makers, ranging from software used by companies to office rentals.
*Products: Products are broadly divided into software and hardware.
*SaaS: Software as a Service
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.
- Problem Awareness → Information exploration → Evaluating Alternatives → Purchasing → Post-Assessment
- Advertising → Interest/Desire → Information exploration → Purchase → (Shared)
Both B2C and B2B product go through similar processes above. So what’s the difference?
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.
On the other hand, B2B decision making process is very slow. They investigate longer than B2C products before purchasing. It’s highly planned and logical. They seek the efficiency and expertise, thinking about the impacts by this decision. Because it’s nor for personal use, using the company’s money, and they have to take responsibility to other members in company.
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.
B2B products, on the other hand, have multiple decision makers. On average, six to eight stakeholders are involved. So B2B sales need to understand the relationship chain between each stakeholder and meet each specific need.
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.
B2B products are expensive and complex. Therefore, the purchase cost is higher than B2C, and most of them make long-term payments. This requires greater consideration from more stakeholders.
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.
B2B should appeal to specific individuals or groups within the business. You should target stakeholders who can make purchasing decisions within the enterprise.
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.
B2B should focus on creating leads through relationship building. B2B buyers tend to rely relatively more on relationships between individuals than on advertising. Creating leads through networking increases the likelihood of building trust and recommending products to others. We can also create potential customers by consistently providing them with product information, quality training, and contents.
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.
B2B needs to build relationships and train prospects. It’s important to create a continuous relationship, not a one-time deal, and you should repeat and recommend. More lead development is required than the B2C and the customer’s requirements should be carefully attended to.
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.
B2B is effective creating leads in platforms which has specific purposes, such as LinkedIn, and training formats such as blogging and webinars are more effective. You can gain and train potential customers by sharing information about how to save their time, money, and resources or product informations. And communicate in a professional way. To increase your expertise and reliability, you must use appropriate industry terminology and provide the knowledge and constructive dialogue they want.
So far, we’ve learned why B2C and B2B’s product purchase decision-making processes are different. I hope this article will help you understand why each is different, and furthermore, it will be an opportunity to use it in your product sales.