What is B2C e-commerce?

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. The B2C e-commerce definition suggests the commerce transaction through a company website featured with online catalog.

Updated: June 22, 2020 | Ilse Lauwens, Marketing Director

Most Internet users are familiar with the B2C e-commerce model. Consumers appreciate the convenience of online shopping where they now can purchase clothes, electronics, media subscriptions and services via theInternet. 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 the industry is predicted; the full potential of the e-commerce market has not yet been reached.

The established players are not always the competition. As on any emerging market, B2C e-commerce participants have enormous 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 e-commerce 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 is to transition to a link on the first or second page of search results. A B2C website must be optimized to attract traffic; the structure, architecture, and content management system must work for you as from its creation. This is why the choice for a website platform is vital for its success.
  • Payment processing. Many customers are hesitant to submit their personal data to websites due to security reasons. SSL encryption, PCI compliance and other trust marks have proven to increase online clients' confidence.
  • Client support. Sales are always about people. The cost of acquiring a new consumer is almost ten times higher than of maintaining an existing loyal customer, who usually spends 60% more than a new client. An optimized customer experience encourages visitors to become loyal customers. So the most significant emphasis should be on improving retention. Many strategies help make clients feel appreciated. Online shopping needs to be easy , it needs to motivate clients to become your partners, the advocates of your brand. These tactics can be supported with powerful, easy-to-use tools that help deliver engaging promotions, campaigns and loyalty programs.
  • Product findability. Online stores continue are becoming more straightforward, more intuitive, and flashy-looking. The convenience of on-site searching and navigating is the key component of usability. The associations, specificjargon, abbreviations, autocomplete suggestions of the search dictionary, filters and refinements, clear product hierarchy - are the essential features that would dramatically increase 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.

As an expert in enterprise and B2B e-commerce, Virto Commerce has compiled a collection of informative white papers on key issues businesses encounter in their e-commerce journeys.

Download, read and share them here.

B2C commerce solutions

There are many factors to consider when choosing a B2C e-commerce platform. The following review contains some great solutions for the specific needs of a B2C store.

  1. Shopify is one of the most popular e-commerce platforms to build a feature-rich online store upon without specialized 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.
  2. Volusion offers a marketing emphasis with a user-friendly search engine, powerful inventory andpromotion and shipping tools. The weaknesses include customer support and unstable hosting servers.
  3. 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 the Magento solution on your own server. Not the best choice for a small company or a newbie.
  4. Bigcommerce allows you to create a store with a built-in mobile-friendly website easily. The solution has cost-effective plans for small online stores. The set of features provided is mainly good for a small store. The extensive enterprise-class customization would be a challenge.
  5. Virto Commerce is an open source e-commerce product available for both on-premise and cloud-based hosting. The platform’s capabilities include the architecture designed for scalability, and a powerful set of marketing features for precise customization of your store. The solution with its essential mobile friendly support is excellent for small startups, as well as for enterprise-level B2C and B2B websites, which demand full and flexible customization. Feel free to discover what each platform offers and how it fits your business needs, based on the recommendations above.
Ilse Lauwens
Director Marketing