This post if Part 2 of 3: Online Target Markets
B2C = Business to consumer
Business to consumer in its most generic form describes transactions between businesses and end customers. In the print industry, consumer products have been widening with the advent of photo products.
Business to consumer might not be that different for you in the offline world, the intended use of the printed product (personal or business related) doesn’t change your manufacturing much. In the online world going direct to consumers changes a lot about the products you offer and the ecommerce transaction you participate in.
Lets define B2C here as not just by the intended use of the products, but for the online world, the B2C target market is targeting a consumer base that you don’t know with “retail” products and pricing. B2C online assumes your targeting any consumer that finds your site, so you are engaging in transactions with people you don’t know. This is probably the biggest difference between B2B and B2C, in B2B you typically know the customer and have established pricing and payment terms. In B2C the pricing is retail and the payment method is credit card or some other form of automated online payment (e.g. PayPal).
For the most overused example, take business cards. A B2B business card product online is one you’ve setup in coordination with the company to control their brand while allowing individual users to enter their personalized data. A B2C business card is more of a generic template that the customer creates their brand online, by either choosing from pre-made templates or designing their own in the browser – what I call “design online”.
Because B2C is a target market of people you don’t know, you have to have a strategy for “getting found” on the web. The offline version of this would be a yellow pages ad, billboard, newspaper advertising, retail walk up, etc… The online version of this starts at the search box in Google, Bing, or Yahoo, “search” is the new yellow pages without the easy to understand alphabetical listings.
Probably the most misunderstood aspect of B2C targeting on the web is getting found and what it takes to match your products and services with the search terms your target customers would use so you show up as high as possible in the search results. There is an entire industry built around this objective – SEO (Search Engine Optimization). There is a multi billion dollar industry built on selling search relevant advertising and another industry SEM (Search Engine Marketing) to help you get the most out of your paid search campaigns.
Web to print software that supports the B2C target market must include the following features:
- SEO Optimization
Getting found is #1 priority
- Self Registration
Allows for anonymous shopping (shop first, register when you buy)
- Real eCommerce
Accurate tax calculation
Accurate shipping calculation
- Shopping Environment
Easy to shop for different products / categories
Promotions / Features Products