Design Differences Between B2B v B2C Websites

By Matt Partridge

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Our web design clients come from many different industries, our clients offer a wide range of different products or services to their clients and customers. One day we might be building a new website for a butcher offering a delivery service and then the next a corporate company wants us to revamp their online presence. In between that, we could have a baker, author, retailer or gardener.

Each of these clients comes with their own unique set of requirements that need to be worked through. There is however a massive difference between the types of websites we build for B2B customers compared to B2C clients.

Of course, both B2B and B2C websites need to be designed so that they’re visually pleasing, clear to the user and concise. Making sure that they offer great user experience is a must regardless along with making sure they render consistently across all devices and platforms. There is however a lot to be aware of when delivering a B2B or a B2C website, ensuring that we know the differences allows us to deliver the best results for our clients and in turn, give our clients every chance of success.

So, What’s The Difference Between B2B & B2C Websites?

There’s always going to be a consistency between every website you may design. It doesn’t matter if you are building a website for a butcher, baker or candlestick maker, even a software company is going to have the same principles applied. All of their websites are going to have a mobile-friendly structure, easy to use navigation and up to date site security.

The build programme is unlikely to differ from B2B to B2C. Wire-framing out the website is going to be needed regardless of the type of website it is.

Here’s a closer look at some of the areas you need to focus on:

Target Audience

It’s very important to focus on the customer or end-user. You need to establish your clients' target audience so you can build an image, style and tone of voice that appeals to that particular targeted group of people or audience.

When designing a B2B website you have to work hard to convince the user that what’s on offer is going to benefit them. This is because you’ll find what’s on offer is a large investment, perhaps a fleet contract or a long term investment into some specialist software.

With regards to a B2C, whilst a B2B customer would make a buying decision based on detailed benefits and logical explanations a B2C customer is going to be influenced a lot more by emotion. A B2C customer is going to want a brand to understand their needs and offer a fast fix to their problem. Adding a sense of urgency to a B2C website will always help deliver more sales. A B2B customer isn’t going to be making any impulse purchases, that technique should only be used on a B2C website.

business to business web design

" B2C website customers are easier to appeal to in terms of emotion "

What’s The Purpose?

Another area that varies between the two types of websites. Considering what the motive behind a user’s purchase is will help design and develop a website that appeals to specific end goals. If you can understand and acknowledge what is influencing the target audience’s decision to interact with a particular website, then you’ll find it easier to design a website for the job at hand.

B2B websites usually offer to solve time-consuming issues that cost businesses money. The product or service on offer is aimed at a decision-maker within the business. The solution is thoroughly explained with details of how it all works and how it’s going to add value to a business’s day to day running.

B2C website customers are easier to appeal to in terms of emotion. Many of a B2C websites customers will be arriving looking to fulfil a particular need, something that’s pretty urgent too. As mentioned earlier, adding a sense of urgency and taking advantage of a customer’s desire to go away on holiday for example will help increase conversions. B2B websites will always need to focus on providing all the information required for a business to make confident decisions. The buying decision will more often than not be made there and then and it won’t just be one individual making the decision. A B2C website needs to focus on connecting with a customer on an emotional level and address any immediate concerns. Of course, a B2C customer is still going to research a particular product or service however the turnaround for purchasing is a lot quicker than a B2B purchase.

Visual Elements

B2B websites are always going to have highly professional and well thought out images that are respectful, not risky. Safer choices are made and you will rarely see animations and quirky elements. The key is to display clear information for a business to make an informed decision. Then we consider a B2C website. Elements can be a lot more playful, daring and risky. Eye-catching images and playful text can all help evoke emotions.

B2C website design

" A B2C websites tone of voice will be a lot warmer and friendlier "

Website’s Copy

A B2B websites tone of voice should be professional and in a sense, quite cold. Careful consideration is required when writing the copy. A B2B website needs to come across as showing authority in its industry whilst clearly explaining any technical details with not too much jargon. B2C websites tone of voice will be a lot warmer, friendlier and give a sense of your communicating with a friend or a family member.

Summing Up…

In the wonderful world of web design, no two clients are ever going to be the same. Identifying what type of clients or customers your client deals with will help a great deal in setting up your strategy for that particular project.

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Article Written by Matt Partridge
Web Developer & Digital Marketing Specialist

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