B2C – What Is It?

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B2C, or business-to-consumer, is a type of e-commerce along with others such as B2B (business-to-business), C2B (customer-to-business) and C2C (customer-to-customer).

But what does it all mean?

B2C meaning

B2C is the transaction which takes place when a business sells a product or service to consumers. While this can include people shopping on the high street or enjoying a meal in a restaurant, the term B2C typically refers to the selling of products over the internet.

So, if you've ever bought a pair of jeans from your favourite online store, or purchased a book from Amazon, then you've been part of a B2C transaction. Although e-commerce is thought of as a relatively new concept, the idea was developed by Michael Aldrich way back in 1979.

Of course, as the popularity of the internet grew throughout the 1990s, so did the rise of B2C e-commerce. It’s now possible to buy almost any product you desire online with e-commerce offering choice and convenience. It has also enabled smaller businesses to compete with bigger brands thanks to the low overheads associated with setting up an online store.

There are challenges for the B2C market, however. As websites are continually improving to become more user-friendly and eye-catching, B2C businesses need to keep up with developments. This can be costly and time-consuming but if companies want their websites to render correctly on all devices and provide a seamless buying experience for consumers, they need to keep their sites updated.

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B2C marketing

B2C marketing describes the tactics used by businesses to promote their products and services to consumers.

Unsurprisingly in this digital age, technology has had a significant impact on the way B2C marketers use marketing campaigns to reach their target audience. Even if consumers don’t intend to buy a product online, the web is usually a starting point to research different B2C businesses. This makes digital marketing techniques such as SEO, PPC (Pay Per Click) and content marketing effective and inexpensive ways to advertise.

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is important, particularly for small businesses, so that they can compete with bigger marketing budgets. By using keywords and phrases within informative and engaging content, businesses can appear in the first few pages, therefore increasing traffic and potential customers.

The popularity of content marketing, in particular, has grown massively in recent years. It has allowed business to educate and entertain potential customers to generate demand, rather than relying purely on traditional promotional techniques.

The differences between B2B and B2C marketing

Although the e-commerce transaction of selling a product or service is the same for both B2B and B2C, there are some critical differences between the two types of marketing.

• The audiences are very different.

While B2C and B2B marketing have similar goals, the audiences they’re attempting to appeal to are very different. When businesses are communicating with consumers, the content is much more emotional, and benefit focused. This is compared to the more logical and ROI based messages promoted to businesses.

• Targeting is tougher for B2B businesses.

Taking a targeted approach to marketing is beneficial for both B2C and B2B businesses, but it’s crucial for the success of a B2B campaign. Whereas a B2C can work just as well regardless of which member of a household views the ad, B2B ads have to target the actual decision maker. Only by targeting the employees who have the ability to make purchasing decisions can sales be secured.

• The B2C decision-making process is much quicker.

When a business makes a purchase online, the stakes are much higher than for a consumer. This means that the time it takes from an ad being viewed to a sale taking place is significantly longer in the B2B world. Consumers can take just seconds to view a product, place it in their basket and checkout, whereas the sales process is much more considered for a business.

Despite there being differences, the simple fact remains that, whatever you’re selling, you’re selling to people. The key to successful B2B and B2C marketing is to truly understand the audience and to give them what they need.

Consumer behaviour in the UK

According to Asendia’s UK B2C E-commerce report 2018, 16.4% of total retail sales were made online in 2017, compared to 14.7% the year before. A substantial contributory factor to this is the fact that a whopping 91% of UK consumers stating that they use Amazon to purchase goods. This compares to just 56% globally.

There’s no getting away from the fact that Britain is a nation of online shoppers and this doesn’t look set to change any time soon. The ease and convenience of being able to compare products online, along with the increased choice and lower prices being cited as reasons for clicking rather than visiting stores.

If you’re interested in taking advantage of the rise of B2C e-commerce, you could consider starting your own franchise. You can choose from a wide range of online retailers, allowing you to become your own boss but with the support of an established and recognised brand.

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Own a B2C franchise

Franchises such as Local Appliance Rentals, which enables customers to rent appliances and furniture, and Platinum Business Partners, an online retailer that specialises in e-commerce, are both affordable and flexible.

The cost of starting an online retail franchise tends to be much lower than if you were investing in a bricks and mortar store. As well as more affordable start-up costs, the ongoing overheads are reduced too with no expensive rental fees or employees costs to endure.

Due to the nature of B2C, very often your franchise can be run from the comfort of your own home which makes it an ideal choice if you wish to run your business around other commitments.

Just as you would with any other investment, make sure that you perform thorough due diligence before you buy a franchise. Ensure that you know what’s involved and if you have what it takes to be a franchisee. Once you’re happy that this is the right choice for you, then there are plenty of opportunities for you to discover.

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