What is B2C ecommerce?
B2C, the acronym for "business-to-consumer", is a business model based on transactions between a company, that sells products or services, and individual customers who are the end-users of these products. B2C ecommerce definition suggests the commerce transaction through a company website featured with online catalog.
Most Internet users are familiar with the B2C ecommerce model. Consumers appreciate the convenience of online shopping where they now can purchase clothes, electronics, media subscriptions and services via Internet. In the past couple of years, the total online revenue in Europe has been worth about 500 billion euros. And according to reports, the further growth of industry is predicted; ecommerce market's full potential has not yet been reached.
The established players are not always the competition. As on any emerging market, B2C ecommerce participants have huge potential in niche and local fragmentation. The winning formulas vary for international multi-channel distributors, theme-based online stores, specific deal aggregators, or national closed retailing. But the key challenges are still quite similar for all B2C online stores.
B2C commerce challenges
There is much more competition and higher demands from the customers in B2C ecommerce then in the business-to-business model. Taking a closer look at the B2C store success recipe, we can highlight the following factors.
- Consumer traffic
If Google, Bing, or Yahoo! do not know your name, you do not exist. Search engine marketing and optimization are the lifeblood of any online business. The usual consumer behavior's is to transition to a link from the first or second page of search results. A B2C website must be optimized to attract traffic; its very structure, architecture, and content management system must work for you since its creation. That is why the choice of a website platform is vital for the success.
- Payment processing
A lot of customers are hesitant to submit their personal data to websites due to safety reasons. SSL encryption, PCI compliance and other trust marks have proven to increase online clients' confidence.
- Client support
Sales are always about the people. The cost of acquiring a new consumer is almost ten times higher than of maintaining an existing loyal customer, who typically spends 60% more than a new client. An optimized customer experience encourages visitors to become loyal customers. So the biggest emphasis must be placed on improved retention.
There are many strategies that help make clients feel appreciated. The online shopping needs to be easy for them, it needs to motivate clients to become your partners, your brand's advocates. These tactics can be supported with powerful, easy to use tools thet help deliver engaging promotions, campaigns and loyalty programs.
- Product findability
Online stores continue to become simpler, more intuitive, and flashy-looking. The convenience of on-site search and navigation is the key component of usability. The associations, exact jargon, abbreviations, autocomplete suggestions of the search dictionary, filters and refinements, clear product hierarchy - these are the essential features that would dramatically lift conversion rates. If a client can’t find a product, he can’t buy it. An online store platform must contain usability-related tools to make the searching process as easy as possible for the shoppers who come back to order again.
B2C commerce solutions
There are many factors to consider when choosing a B2C ecommerce platform. The following review contains some great solutions for the specific needs of a B2C store.
Shopify is one of the most popular ecommerce platforms to build a feature-rich online store upon without any special web development knowledge. The solution is easy to use and comes with a huge set of store templates. Among the cons is the high price, and lack of migration options, upon canceling your Shopify account your store will be deleted.
Volusion offers a marketing emphasis with a user-friendly search engine and powerful inventory, as well as promotion and shipping tools. The weak points are customer support and unstable hosting servers.
Magento is a free, open-source platform that allows you to create a self-hosted store with scalable architecture and powerful SEO. But coding skills are required to customize the platform to your needs. And you would have to host Magento solution on your own server. Not the best choice for a small company or for a newbie.
Bigcommerce allows you to easily create a store with a built-in mobile friendly website. The solution has cost-effective plans for small online stores. As a matter of fact the set of features provided is mainly good for a small store. The extensive enterprise-class customization would be a challenge.
Virto Commerce is an open-source ecommerce product available for both on-premise and cloud-based hosting. The platforms capabilities include the architecture designed for scalability, and a powerful set of marketing features for a precise customization of your store. The solution with its essential mobile friendly support is great for small startups, as well as for enterprise-level B2C and B2B websites, which demand full and flexible customization. Based on the recommendations above, feel free to discover what each platform offers and how it fits your business needs.