Today’s B2B and B2C customers are increasingly expecting businesses to create meaningful interactions, deliver relevant information and make purchasing processes simple and straightforward.

Fail on any of these fronts and there’s a chance that any potential B2B and B2C customers will turn to competitors who deliver a more unified experience.

One major challenge faced by companies is being able to achieve the desired levels of integration that bring staff, technologies and tools together to meet these expectations for customers across the B2B and B2C spaces.

Using a single platform to achieve this can be described as ‘unified commerce’.

Unified commerce differs from omnichannel as just a single platform is used across web, mobile, physical stores and different customer types.

According to our friends at Magento, the desire to achieve unified commerce is creating ‘a shift in how businesses go to market and organise their internal strategy and tactical measures’.

More companies are seeking ecommerce platforms that enable a unified approach, rather than having different platforms for different requirements. This can create disparate business processes.

In a recent whitepaper, Magento outlined 3 key areas to focus on to help support growth for businesses looking to cater to B2B and B2C customers through unified commerce.

Seamless experiences

If you’re a business catering to both B2B and B2C customers, having an ecommerce platform has the flexibility to deal with the subtle differences between these two customer bases, rather than two separate systems, can be hugely advantageous.

Not only are operations more closely aligned, but being able to control distinct experiences for different customer types from a single interface can help enhance the level of service you provide.

Having a top-level ecommerce platform at your disposal allows businesses to leverage a variety of assets to enable the best possible experience for your customers. This not only helps save time and maximises resources, but will allow you to deliver value-add thanks to the heightened relevancy visitors experience when on your site.

This can be achieved by utilising customisation capabilities to cater to B2B and B2C customers respectively. So, for example, you can cater to specific customers by:

  • Delivering custom catalogues and prices
  • Using segmentation to deliver different product recommendations, promotions and content
  • Providing different fulfilment options based on single or bulk buys

As an example, Magento advises introducing factors such as B2C guest check out, but require a login for B2B customers. Or controlling which products are shown to certain customers based on search history or preferences. These can create a more personalised experience and increase loyalty.

Flexible Business

In modern business, companies that have inefficient processes can quickly get left behind. When looking to manage staff, strategies and tools, the last thing you need is your technology to become an additional headache and challenge.

This is where having a unified commerce approach can reap real benefits. Not only can you better place you to serve your customers, but you can also:

  • Minimalise staffing requirements by having all your attention on a single platform
  • Work with one platform supplier, meaning one port of call when changes are required or difficulties arise
  • Get more people up to speed as learning and training can be focused on a single platform

Support Unique Buyers

Look to allow purchasers to carry out a variety of self-service tasks. Though it’s nice to have the option, they’d prefer to avoid having to call your business or discuss things with sales reps where possible.

They want to be self-sufficient, and place orders and discover new items without having their hand held. So make the ordering and reordering process as easy as possible.

Things to prioritise include:

  • Quick order entry
  • Fast reordering processes using previous order information
  • Access to information such as credit balances, previous orders and shipping details
  • Enabling the payment of invoices to be done online. This requires ERP integration and some customisation

Having a streamlined, efficient buying process limits the chances of cart abandonment and helps enhance your conversion rate.

The promise of Unified Commerce

By taking a unified commerce approach and meeting the needs of customers across the B2B and B2C spaces, companies stand to benefit in a host of ways.

The increased efficiency that customers will benefit from can engender loyalty and ultimately secure revenue moving forwards.

Having a flexible ecommerce platform that offers the chance to realise this vision of unified commerce can be a game-changer. Magento and Shopify both fit this description, so be sure to consider how making such a move could benefit your business.

Williams Commerce have vast experience with both Magento and Shopify. Get in touch with our team today.