Hybrid platforms – 5 reasons to combine B2B and B2C e-com
The boundaries between B2B and B2C business are blurring. Here are five reasons to choose hybrid platforms that combine B2B and B2C capabilities.
A growing number of B2C companies are entering B2B e-commerce. B2C companies are adding wholesale stores to diversify risk and increase their sales, and even create their product lines for corporate use. At the same time, B2B companies are selling in increasing numbers to direct consumers. For these companies, too, it’s a new source of revenue and a great way to understand how people use their products and how those products can be improved. The result is better products and higher sales for the company and its distributors.
The problem that online marketers face is that e-commerce platforms are often sufficient for B2C or B2B sales, but not for both sectors. The separate platforms that these companies use for each type of market cannot effectively manage a holistic strategy. That’s why companies need a full-featured hybrid e-com solution that allows them to manage B2B and B2C business from a single dashboard.
Hybrid platforms are the perfect way to easily run both B2C and B2B businesses and reach different audiences without the hustle and bustle of running two separate platforms. Whether you are expanding your e-com with B2B or B2C, you will need a new set of e-commerce features that you will need to build or buy. Therefore, here are five reasons to choose a hybrid e-com platform that combines the powerful features of B2B and B2C.
With a hybrid platform, you can get to market much faster.
You will not end up with two different platforms.
Running two separate e-com platforms – one for B2B and the other for B2C – can lead to duplication of effort. You will manage two vendors, two platform lifecycles, and update plans. You will need to integrate both of your platforms with CRM, ERP, and other systems. And you will have to work with two sets of infrastructure requirements. Overall, your e-commerce ecosystem will be more complex and will require much more maintenance work. You may need different teams to support each system, and you may not have enough time to scale or fully customize one of them. It will also be more difficult to get a holistic view of company performance because your site, customer, and product data will be on different systems. With the hybrid platform, you can support B2B and B2C models with one system, efficiently manage both with the same team and get a unified view of your business results.
You can easily jump into a competitive battle.
Adding a new B2B or B2C model can take some time, especially when you need to configure a new e-com platform or add extensive customization to your existing one. If you have a hybrid platform, you can get to market much faster. Instead of buying a new platform or creating new features, you can “turn on the switch” and start configuring products and processes.
You will stand out among the others.
Some B2B-only platforms are built on B2B aesthetics. This means that they lack some of the “consumer” features that B2B and B2C customers expect, such as rich content, visual merchandising, personalization, etc. 46% of B2B buyers are now millennials (Study: Think with Google), who overwhelmingly prefer a more modern digital experience. A vendor with a hybrid platform (for B2B and B2C) will offer a common architecture with shared content and design elements. This means you can easily process your B2B experience to include the consumer features that B2B buyers want, while providing a consistent branding experience across all of your sites. Because B2B customer experience index ratings typically lag behind B2C (Research: McKinsey) values, an easy-to-use digital experience will help your B2B brand stand out.
You will be ready for anything.
Digital commerce has reduced barriers to entry in all markets. Many B2B companies build direct relationships with consumers. And many B2C companies are penetrating the large and lucrative B2B space. With so many changes, you need the maximum possible flexibility. The hybrid platform keeps your options open and makes it easy to explore new business strategies whenever you need them.
Product catalog under control.
When you have multiple e-commerce platforms, you can end up with several product catalogs. That means that you must maintain two sources of product data and keep them in sync. The B2B2C platforms offer unified catalog management, so you can track all your products in one place. You can store all products in the same database. For B2B and B2C buyers, certain products can be turned on and off. And inventory management also becomes much smoother.
So let’s summarize what makes B2B2C platforms beneficial?
You will no longer need two separate platforms. Hybrid platforms are easier to manage and offer a 360-degree view of your business. You will significantly reduce time to market, giving you a competitive advantage. You will improve the customer experience and help the B2B part of your business stand out. Thanks to the hybrid platforms, you will facilitate the management of the product catalog. If you want to change your strategy or business model, expand or otherwise change your e-com business, it will be easier with such a platform. So before deciding which platform to choose, think carefully about your business needs, strategy, and market segmentation, and target groups.
At MageXo, we will be happy to advise you and help you choose the right platform for your business.