This paper aims to draw a comparison between marketing strategies used by Business to customer(B2C) and Business to Business(B2B) websites. It combines the knowledge of management information systems and marketing to provide an analysis of the two. A case study approach has been used, with two different websites representing each form of website marketing. www.amazon.com has been used to represent the B2C model, and www.vwgroupsupply.com has been used to represent the B2B model.
Business to customer (B2C) and Business to business B2B are two of the marketing models used in e-commerce. B2C refers to the act of retailing goods and services that directly targets an individual customer, whereas B2B refers to the act of retailing goods and services among businesses. (Laudon & Laudon, 2005).
Since it is targeted towards the end customer logged on to your website, B2C e-commerce is mostly based on interactive marketing. “Interactive marketing means that perceived service quality depends heavily on the quality of the buyer-seller interaction”( Kotler, Armstrong, Saunders and Wong, 1999, p. 654). The website needs to grasp the attention of the customer and provide an online shopping experience. If it fails to do so, the customer will browse over to a competitor’s website.
Therefore, B2C marketing needs to provide information, service, and support all at the same time to the customer. This helps to foster long-term relationships with customers and retain customers. Now, if we take into account www.amazon.com, a premier B2C site, we can see that it has interactive features to gain the customers’ attention. It focuses on one-to-one marketing towards the end-user and tailors the webpage according to the interests of the customers.
Amazon has intelligent bots and tracking cookies in its website through which it can gauge the customer’s interest, store information with regards to those interests, and provide suggestions to buy products based on those particular interests. Apart from that, it also stores the information of the user, for example, the name of the registered user. Every time the user signs in to Amazon, they are greeted by their name, which creates a valuable customer experience and adds a personal touch to the website.
Therefore, in essence, B2C marketing is all about creating an online experience for the customer through a site’s “virtual store front” (Laudon & Laudon, 2005). It is about bringing the customer out of a simple electronic transaction and, through interactive website tools, make the customer feel as if they were walking down an aisle of a real-life store. “The web provides a medium for customers to interact with the company, at customer’s convenience.” (Laudon & Laudon, 2005,p. 200).
Therefore, B2C marketing needs to capitalize on it, make a user friendly, interactive, and appealing online storefront. For this B2C sites usually track customer’s browsing behavior on the site, the on-site consumer behavior( how much time the customer spends viewing a particular product page, etc.), preferences, and buying patterns. By doing so, they can easily tailor product offerings, promotions, services, and prices that are relevant to a particular user.
On the other hand, B2B e-commerce focuses on developing relationships between firms rather than servicing the end customer. Most businesses engaging in B2B relationships use Electronic Data Interchanges to share information resources. (Laudon & Laudon, 2005). In the contemporary world, businesses can easily get information from supplier websites, infomediaries, market makers, and customer communities (Kotler,2006, p.459). This information, along with other online resources, provides today’s businesses with an opportunity to obtain better prices.
Therefore, “price differences, especially for commodity materials and components, will become more visible” (Kotler, 2003, p. 16). If we take into account www.vwgroupsupply.com, we can see that the focus of B2B marketing is now not on price differentiation but on value propositions a firm has to offer. B2B marketing is using key value propositions on their sites and emphasizing that how the B2B relationship with their organization will lead to competitive advantage or cost savings for all business partners (www.vwgroupsupply.com). B2B marketing involves having professional electronic storefronts using graphic displays and interactive features to get their message across.
Kotler, P. (2003). Marketing Insights A to Z; 80 concepts every manager needs to know. New Jersey: John Wiley& Sons, Inc.
Kotler, P., Keller, K. L.(2006) Marketing Management. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
Kotler, P., Armstrong, G., Saunders, J., Wong, V. (1999). Principles of Marketing. Europe: Prentice Hall Europe.
Laudon, K.C., Laudon, J. P.(2005). Management Information Systems; managing the digital firm. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.