Technology August 24, 2015 Last updated September 18th, 2018 1,609 Reads share

How Differences Between B2B and B2C can Affect Site Design

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You and I both know the differences between a B2B and a B2C site.

How do we know?

We read the description on the homepage, check what’s on offer, who are the site’s target audiences, etc. The site design doesn’t help us spot the differences.

This particular aspect of web design puts many people off. The web visitors want to know the theme of a site right when they land on it. If only the design of the site could tell him that, the browsing experience would have been far better for him.

What strategies should a designer follow to bring out the differences through the layout and navigation items of a site? More importantly, can

Designing transactions

A designer is bound to come across this challenge. It’s easier for him to design a B2C transaction than a B2B transaction. Online retail sites belong to the B2C niche. They sell their products to consumers, who land on the site, browse through the product catalog, settle for one and then proceed to buy it.

But B2B transactions involve a lot of negotiations. Beside that, a B2B transaction is a time-consuming process. A prospective client might ask the provider to lower the price because he doesn’t find the product/service specifications up to the snuff.

Hence, a designer may have to design an interface. This could be challenging for him.

CMS types

A B2C site sells small items to ordinary consumers. Its menubar, virtual drop-down list and body all display a broad range of products. The purpose of it is to increase the odds of users clicking on them and purchasing them. Because most e-commerce sites qualify as B2C, a designer can use a CMS like Magento or Bigcommerce to design one.

But he cannot design a B2B site using a B2C e-commerce CMS. He can, but the site would look terribly odd. The areas to highlight on a B2B site are the following:

  • How the product/service can give the client’s business a boost?
  • Building a long-term professional relationship.
  • Whether future upgrades will cost him anything.
  • The level of support services.

A B2B site design should address all of them so the potential client gets an idea of what he’s buying. The designer can pick a CMS like Drupal as it is functionality-rich and can accommodate all the aspects above.

Portfolio page vs product page

#1. The portfolio page: It is pivotal for a B2B site as it lists the previous accomplishments of the company. A B2C site doesn’t need it; it needs a product catalog instead so it could inform the end-consumers what products are up for sale.

When designing a portfolio page, the designer’s considerations are rendering the image gallery, the client testimonials and the sample works. He may feel tempted to use flash, but then give it a second thought as using it can make the site appear chaotic.

He can make the testimonials horizontally slide through so a new client doesn’t have to scroll up or down. He might also want to add the infinite scrolling functionality to the image gallery so the page keeps scrolling down and display all the images. This can increase the retention rate as the visitors won’t have to move to another page.

#2. The product page: Two rules of thumb when designing a product page are designing for the audience and using top quality product photos. One supplements the other as great product photos can make the layout attractive and help to appeal to the audience.

Font selection is of paramount importance as photos alone cannot attract a user. The designer shouldn’t use more than three fonts, the optimal number is two. A consistency in the overall style is more than necessary. The spacing between texts and the placement between images and texts being consistent can enhance the readability aspects of a site.

Not every product needs the same amount of space. The best selling products require more space. Given a product fetched a company $4000 last year and another product fetched $2000, and giving more space to either of them can result in an increase of 10% in sale, the first product should be given more space as it earns the company $400 whereas the latter earns $200.

The differences between the product page and the portfolio page compel the designer follow separate practices when designing them. The more theme-specific the design gets, the easier it becomes for visitors to identify the target audiences of the site.

Exclusive features

There are features that exclusively apply to B2B sites, similar to features that exclusively apply to B2C sites. A designer can identify those features and highlight them through design elements. Then the visitors will take less time identifying the site’s niche.

Coupon and discount, return and exchange policy and same day delivery are some of the features that exclusively apply to B2C sites. The exclusive features of a B2B site are the call-to-action button, blog management tools, etc.

The designer can create an unbeatable landing page for a B2B site. The page can have ghost buttons to quickly draw someone’s attention. This way, the lead generation drive will increase and visitors won’t face difficulty recognizing the niche that the site belongs to.

B2C sites account for direct sale. Its sales drive can get a push if customer-friendly design elements are added to it. For example, the designer can create an engaging pop-up banner showing the same-day delivery or a whopping discount, so users feel more receptive to buy.

A unique design

Unfortunately, today’s design trends cannot pull this idea. For a B2B site, minimalistic design is preferred whereas B2C sites sometimes look overly flashy so consumers notice them. Having said that, there are neutral design elements that a designer can put on a B2B site as well as on a B2C site.

Cross-selling, for example, is a neutral feature. Both B2B and B2C sites would look forward to this idea. And there’s no harm if a designer works to that direction.

Images: “designer drawing website development wireframe/


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Eric Haskell

Eric Haskell

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