B2B vs B2C Website Design: Key Differences

Brian Bojan Dordevic
About The Author

Brian Dordevic

Brian is Marketing Strategic Planner with a passion for all things digital. Feel free to follow him on Twitter or schedule a consultation call with him.

Both B2B (Business to Business) and B2C (Business to Consumer) websites present your client’s products or services in a way that aims to create measurable results. However, the needs of a business and those of a consumer are significantly different, and so are the approaches that bring success. Some guidelines, such as a clear, responsive design and a focus on user experience, apply to both types of websites. Still, you should be familiar with their differences to provide your client with the best results. In this article, our web design company in Chicago lays out the factors you should consider when providing eCommerce web design services to different types of clients.

b2b vs b2c web design

Who constitutes the target audience?

A website is tailored to its users, so understanding their needs and preferences is the important first step. Businesses and consumers should be addressed in a different manner as their background and decision-making psychology is different, which is reflected in B2B vs B2C website design.

B2B: The audience you address usually consists of several people that approach your offer strategically and are, therefore, not easy to convince. They are most likely highly educated and familiar with B2B eCommerce trends in 2022. Their decision-making is based on arguments and logic. However, their approach is not entirely devoid of emotion. Two particular emotions which are typically present are fear and risk aversion. Making a wrong business decision can affect the whole team or company, so B2B customers frequently approach offers with a significant dose of concern. The solution is to highlight the benefits and explain the outcome they can expect.

B2C: You address an average person who makes decisions quickly and with a significant influence of emotion. These types of customers are looking for a quick solution and a feeling of connection. They prefer products and services that are ”made specifically for them”, which is to say, they are presented in a way that looks like they were designed with a specific concern for their needs, whereas other products weren’t. Of course, the actual quality and performance may be almost the same amongst products of different brands, but the presentation makes the difference.

What visual design appeals to each audience

Although a website’s visual appearance is not the most important factor, looks still matter. Whether you’re trying to impress a consumer or reflecting your client’s professionalism for other companies to see, make the visual design appropriate.

B2B: The visual appearance doesn’t have to be unique, creative, or exciting. On the contrary, the choice of fonts and color schemes should be modest and limited to the commonly used ones. The overall impression you are trying to leave is that your client is highly professional, respectable, and reliable. You should, generally, create an aesthetically pleasing design, but don’t take chances with anything innovative and flashy. Aim for cleanness, simplicity, and clarity. 

B2C: The situation is pretty much the opposite here. The competition is vast, and people quickly scroll through websites and switch between them, so your goal is to capture their attention and hold it just long enough to present the product. It is helpful to create an overall sense of urgency and encourage visitors to make quick decisions. Otherwise, they will move on to the competition. Therefore, a more exciting and creative design is needed. Flashy animations, slideshows, and attractive illustrations are common on B2C websites. Adding alt text is essential for making your website accessible, but avoid too much text as visitors will most likely not read it, especially if you fail to grab their attention. 

How to write the appropriate content

The most critical mean through which you send a message to the website’s audience is the content. It has to be relevant to the targeted audience and presented in an appropriate tone and language. Regardless of B2B vs B2C website design differences, you need to provide all the information the audience needs and answer the questions they might have.

B2B: Keep in mind that you’re not trying to convince a single individual but a team of people with most likely different interests. Therefore, the content must primarily revolve around logic and arguments. Make it informative and detailed. The decision that B2B customers make is long and complex, and gaining trust is not easy, so make sure to provide all the information necessary. Adding multiple sources of information, such as explainer videos, blogs, FAQs, webinars, and product demos, is especially advisable.

B2C: You are speaking to individuals who make decisions based on personal needs. There’s no need for too much writing as consumers don’t ask for too much detail or arguments. So be careful not to clutter the page with unnecessary content. Instead, keep it short and focus on emotion and establishing a connection. Make up catchy headlines. Tell a story; tell them something they can relate to. Make hints at trends and the latest fashion. Write in a simple, casual language.

Where and how to put CTA buttons

Put the CTA (Call To Action) buttons strategically to encourage visitors’ engagement. But their size, position, and functions are not quite the same for B2B vs B2C website design.

B2B: CTA buttons don’t have to be either big and striking or positioned at the very front of the page. You don’t have to grab the attention of these types of visitors. They will scroll down through the website and read the content to get the information they are looking for. Make the CTA buttons discreet but visible, and put them either in the top or bottom corner of the web page. Also, there’s no need to ask for direct action, as B2B purchase cycles are lengthy. Instead, give them various options, including some direct interaction. Buttons such as ”Sign Up”, ”Log In”, and ”Request a Quote / Demo” are most commonly used. Some sort of live chat or text message is also highly preferable.

B2C: This purchase process is much quicker, so the CTA buttons should be placed in the forefront and highlighted for visitors to clearly see them. Also, there’s no need for too many options. The direct and straightforward ”add to cart” is often enough. Optionally, an ”add to favorites” button may be used. 

How important is the search bar

The website’s navigation must be straightforward and intuitive regardless of the client. A search bar is a valuable tool, but it doesn’t have the same importance for both B2B and B2C, which is reflected in web design.

B2B: All the information customers need is presented up front, including the CTA buttons. The search bar has to be available but not as prominent as with B2C.

B2C: Websites of this type usually offer a wide variety of products, so visitors must be able to find what they came looking for easily. Because of that, the search bar should be large, noticeable, and placed at the top of the page. In addition, it is advantageous to create separate pages for different categories of products. Visitors shouldn’t be more than three clicks away from their goal.

How to design the contact forms

B2B and B2C business processes differ significantly when it comes to the information needed to establish contacts, so the contact forms included in the web design have to be laid out differently. However, in each case, you should include only the fields that your client needs and no more than that.

B2B: Customers need to be much more specific about what they need so your client is able to form a detailed plan of what and how to present as a potential service. Therefore, you need to design longer contact forms that cover all the information needed but still without cluttering them with redundant fields.

B2C: Most of the time, the customer’s name and email address will be everything your client needs. If you make signing up for a newsletter complicated, you discourage customers from doing it.

How to highlight your clients’ social proof and testimonials

Frequently, a company’s social proof and testimonials are the sole factors that raise it above a tight competition. It is natural to ask for proof that the product or service you pay for will match expectations. Understandably, the pricier the product or service, the more concerned customers will be, and the more social proof will be needed to convince them. That’s especially the case with B2B vs B2C website design.

B2B: Highlighting social proof is crucial to digital marketing strategy planning and should be included in every part of the website so that customers are constantly reminded of your client’s worth over the lengthy decision-making process. It should come in different forms, such as client testimonials, reviews, and ratings by trustworthy sources. An additional step would be to include a separate page for case studies of how other customers benefited from your client’s services.

B2C: There is more freedom regarding how and where to include reviews and ratings. One helpful feature would be to create a separate page for user reviews that the website’s visitors can quickly jump to.

What is the pricing model?

Is the price fixed or negotiable? Are customers informed about it directly or indirectly? Pricing is a big difference between B2B vs B2C website design. However, keep in mind that both B2B and B2C customers are highly price-conscious, regardless of other differences. 

B2B: The pricing differs not only between companies but from customer to customer as well. That is to say, B2B prices are negotiable and frequently customized for each customer according to various factors and are therefore not outright listed on the website. Furthermore, various hidden fees arise during the purchase process. So how does that affect web design? To begin with, use adequate content to show the customers that your client’s products and services are worth their investment, including additional fees. Highlight their value. In addition to that, it is advisable to include at least some pricing on the website. That way, you can filter out low-budget customers. An excellent way to do so is by listing some representative sample pricing or by adding a price calculator for visitors to use.

B2C: The pricing is mostly straightforward. Prices are clearly displayed next to each product and fixed, with the only exception being a discount. If there is a hidden fee included, that can only be shipping, which is displayed elsewhere on the website. 

How does the purchase process envelope

Every customer expects a smooth and convenient purchase process. But, understandably so, B2B purchases are much more complex than B2C. 

B2B: Large amounts of money are in question, and the services provided are complex. These purchase processes are lengthy and last anywhere from weeks to months. Since prices are usually not outright listed, or at least not the exact prices, designing a B2B website means that you aim towards building trust and convincing customers that investing and going through a lengthy purchase process is worth it. That’s essential to digital marketing strategy planning.

B2C: The time from being interested in a product to the actual purchase is short, and the whole process can usually be finished within a single web browsing. 

Final thoughts

Understanding the type of business your clients do and the audiences they cater to is the key to B2B vs B2C website design that brings results. While their in-detail differences are complex, paying attention to the several factors that our web development company in Chicago has laid out will certainly provide benefits. Regarding B2B, your focus should be on providing all the information a customer needs and supporting long decision-making processes and purchase cycles. In the case of B2C, focus on a stunning visual appearance, catchy headlines, minimal content with an emotional message, and the best possible UX.

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