eCommerce PunchOut is a little-understood (and rarely supported) function for most B2B eCommerce...
What type of B2B are you?
Everyone knows what B2C is. Even people who have never heard the term before have still experienced it firsthand. Business to consumer, (B2C) - the selling of goods and services directly to the end user – it is part of our everyday life. Who hasn’t shopped online?!
B2B however, a business focused on selling products or services to other businesses – is less familiar to some. And even lesser-known is the fact that there are different types of B2B.
In this blog, we discuss the importance of understanding what type of B2B you are. Knowing that, will arm you with the insight to better understand your customer and the way they buy.
Andrew Rogencamp – the brains and my boss - possesses a wealth of knowledge in eCommerce. Andrew wrote an article on the ‘Different Flavours’ of B2B on LinkedIn a few months back, which you can read here -
To summarise, there are two distinct types: B2B for Business Use (BU) and B2B for Manufacturers or Distributors (MD):
B2B-BU = Business Use means the business is buying the products to use in the day-to-day running of their company. Office supplies are a good example of this.
B2B- MD = A Manufacturer or Distributor, on the other hand, is going to on-sell the products they buy. Either direct to retail or to another business. Think of a tool manufacturer selling to Bunnings, who then on-sell to the customer.
Why does this matter?
If you know what type of B2B you are, you can better understand your customer. Andrew and I believe the way you work with your customer and market to them should heavily depend on the type of B2B you (and they) are.
B2B Marketing requires a unique approach. Unlike B2C, the target audience isn't a consumer, but another company. Driving sales means understanding another company's business processes and developing a business-specific strategy.
So, for B2B-BU, you might want to concentrate on how you can help your customers easily order products that suit their office environment.
For example, if the customer uses a certain type of office printer (which you could find out by asking them to define this on your site or checking what toner they’ve bought previously) - then ensure you highlight all products related to that printer (e.g. toner, ink, drums etc).
You could do this with personalised banners on your website and EDMs from your email marketing platform.
For B2B-MD, you could allow your customers to download price lists and product information from your site so they can use it on their own website or in their ERP system.
These companies need to buy these products, so if you make your company the easiest to deal with, you’re likely to win the business. Assuming your product is good, and your service is great, having the right eCommerce offering and marketing approach will also help you retain those customers for a long time to come!
So, I would ask yourself the question. “What type of B2B are you?”
To quote Andrew’s article,
“At the end of the day - make it Customer-focused - you can't go wrong.”