Websites for businesses are almost a necessity now. How can a website help you grow your business online? What is a suitable website for your business and how do you craft your website to target your potential customers?
One of the core elements to take note when designing and building your company website is to identify the objective of your website, and who your target audiences are. There are some differences in website content and designs for businesses targeting end consumers (B2C), and those mainly dealing with business to business (B2B). In this article, we will look at the differences and core points to take note of when building your company website.
The purchase process for a website catering directly to end consumers is much simpler compared to those of B2B. The process from an individual showing interest in a particular product or service to finally making the purchase is much shorter. A checkout process that is convenient and smooth-sailing can come as one of the points to retain your customers.
For privacy, convenience and a faster process, shoppers are not keen to go through a registration process on your website just to buy something. Instead, it is more acceptable for them to key in the necessary information for their shopping to reach them, and click “check out”. There are huge competitions out there as alternative options for consumers to purchase from. Hence, your website and products have got to be attractive, and the purchase process convenient and smooth-sailing to attract them further.
The purchase process for business-to-business is always more complex compared to the ones of end-consumers. The process for a B2B purchase usually comes with multiple stages, such as submitting your company details by filling out a form, communicating through personal interactions, evaluation of proposals by the team, to the final stages of approvals by the management. Different companies will have a specific set of protocols and guidelines to follow.
As a B2B purchase usually involves a much larger amount of money, as well as the decisions of more than one person, clear and full information is needed for their decision making. For B2B purchases, expect or initiate personal interaction with your customers along the process to add a nudge to their final decisions.
Purchases made by an individual, or business-to-customer purchase are very much associated with emotions. When a shopper sees it, like it, they will proceed to make the purchase almost immediately. Emotional triggers will lead a consumer to want to own what they saw on your website. The first impression and look and feel they see of the product or service will encourage the consumer to the next step, and eventually completing a purchase.
Branding plays a big part in driving the emotions of your customers, especially in the business-to-consumer world. Having said that, B2B purchases are somewhat emotional too, but in the opposite way. The process of decision making is not as direct, fast or abrupt for business-to-business purchases. It takes a much longer procedure to lead to the final stage of completing a purchase. The team member handling this purchase is usually not the final decision-maker. And when it involves a big purchase, people will be more afraid to make a decision. A wrong decision made could affect their entire team or even the company as a whole. Risk aversion and fear are two typical emotion-related factors associated with B2B purchases.
B2C purchases involve consistently straightforward pricing. The price does not differ from consumer to consumer, unless of those with a discount code. The only hidden fee that a sale may incur is the shipping fee. And this is usually expected and stated somewhere on the website. Another common practice on B2C websites is to upsell and cross-sell products. This is a useful tip to take note and a good one to incorporate to increase the amount per transaction made.
As for B2B, the pricing is not as straightforward. Prices quoted can differ from company to company depending on the needs of each client. Usually, business-to-business websites do not list prices or costs associated with the product or service. B2B websites have distinct plans and various options for different types of companies, catering to the large array of sizes and industries.
It is more challenging to price B2B products and services upfront on a website. Costs for B2B purchases are usually customised based on company needs. Other than customised costs, a B2B purchase often involves implementation, maintenance or set-fees that may not be clearly stated on the website. Though, having some sort of a price guide on your website can sometimes lead to a better and happier impression by your customers. This, in turn, can also lessen time wasted on customers who have the budget of a different tier.
Buyer Decision Making
A business-to-consumer website mainly interacts with one person, which will be the buyer itself, or the decision-maker. For purchase by an end consumer, the buyer does not need anyone else to justify his/her decision, or get permission to make that purchase. When the shopper is shopping on your website, more likely than not the user will make an impulsive decision, and complete the transaction there and then. It is less likely that these purchases are planned ahead of time.
On a B2B website, there is usually a team of people behind the user, and prior to this, they would have started doing some research on what they are looking for before approaching you. The multiple people involved will have a set of procedures to follow, leading to the final decision-making process. This lengthy and detailed procedure will result in a longer decision-making process.
For B2B businesses, it is common that their products and services are on a higher price compared to those listed on a business-to-consumer website. As things are usually listed with higher prices on a B2B website, decision-makers tend to go through a more thorough and detailed decision-making process. They need to be more than sure that what they’re committing to will fit into their needs, current system and workflow.
The main point on the first impression for a B2C website is to be catchy and attractive. It is important to make sure that the content strategy is on par. Messages, product names and titles should be short yet appealing.
Note not to overload a B2C website with too much information. End consumers usually do not require very detailed information. Some important and straight to the point information paired with large attractive images will do the trick. We all know that competition is high and there are many other websites and platforms available for consumers to buy similar products from. Hence, the design of your website, usability and user experience should be updated consistently, and the smooth-running of your website should be checked regularly too.
One important point to take note is to ensure that your website has a simple and straightforward checkout process. The most important user journey on your website is from clicking “add to cart” to checking out and completing the payment process. It is always good to make sure that the process of checking out on your website and making a payment is easy and smooth-running. On top of that, information for each product/service should be clearly stated upfront. We do not want to encourage abandoned carts, or worse still, a shopper abandoning your site completely.
On the other hand, B2B websites cater to different needs. Users on B2B websites will usually want more information to understand the products or services they are looking for. On top of this, the credibility of your website is also very important. Users must trust your website completely before converting. When your website does not have detailed and valuable information, your conversion rates tend to be low.
Design and attractive large images are not what attracts on a B2B website. On a B2B website, your design should be focused on your content and information. It is crucial to make sure that users are well-informed throughout their journey on your website. A tip to note, try to include as many CTAs on your website as possible. You can use CTAs such as live chat, contact number, direct messaging platform, email address etc. It is good to include some personalised interaction in your CTAs.
As for content strategy on a B2B website, include a variety of content, for example, videos, webinars, blogs, testimonials, FAQs, recorded product demos etc. Information in these multiple forms will help your users understand the information you’re sharing better.
On a B2B website, it is unlikely for a purchase to happen on the first visit, or first interaction. Business-to-business leads do need more nurturing, and this should be taken into account in your design process. Information on compatibility and integration can be important to assure your users that your products and services are the right ones for their company. Technical specifications are details they need to digest and make comparison with.
Though pricing for B2B businesses is not fixed in all fronts, a price guide or a price estimation calculator can come as useful for users to have an idea of the price range they’re looking at or working towards.
In conclusion, B2B and B2C websites both have different audiences, catering to distinct needs. A B2B website is more about providing detailed and valuable information, and have personalised interaction. And for a B2C website, the first impression matters a lot. The look and feel as one enters your website must attract and excite your users. Next will be user experience and your checkout process. These must be made the simplest and straightforward for users to complete their purchase and make payment easily. Prices and product information should be shown and stated as clearly as possible.
Content source: Usability Geek