Origin of demand & decision-making
When talking about B2C ecommerce, we assume that individuals who purchase on the website are responsible for their shopping behavior: they act as their own decision-makers, operators, and accountants. All interaction between the web store and an individual happens within the confines of the available UX/UI, where the seller’s primary goal is to take a larger bite out of the buyer’s budget. Here, customers tend to be fickle and easily influenced by tempting marketing campaigns with extra perks such as free shipping.
If in B2C, customers are responsible for their own demand, and there is practically zero chance their expenditures would be controlled by a third party (unless it’s someone’s spouse, parent, or debt collector), in B2B, the situation is dramatically different.
The larger the business is, the fewer the chances are that the individual, who places an order with the web store, decides on behalf of the whole business entity. An operator typically has minor responsibilities that don’t go beyond order registration. In bigger companies, multiple parties participate in the procurement process that usually spans over a long period and involves several approval stages.
Moreover, the origins of demand in B2B can differ depending on the type of industry. For example, in wholesale, the demand is based on a sales plan (or sales forecast), where businesses only buy what they expect to sell later. Because of such mathematical precision, the people involved in procurement in B2B do not respond to discounts in the same way as individual end-users in B2C. Discounts (when dealt with on the spot during order assembly) can rarely prompt wholesalers into a spontaneous purchase, even though a price decrease can increase the wholesaler’s margins. For example, suppose a web store offers discounts on items that are not in the wholesaler’s sales plan (or procurement order). In that case, the company’s representative will just ignore the offer, no matter how generous. The reason for rejecting a lucrative discount is self-explanatory – companies typically do not allow employees to change the sales plan (without the approval of several senior managers). The purchasing control is even stricter for manufacturers: there is a production plan and procurement schedule to abide by.