We often list here the many differences between B2B and B2C. The main difference is the very nature of the purchase decision. In B2C, the decision is impulsive and based on affect, whereas in B2B, the purchase decision takes longer and needs to be thought out. The purchase decision in B2B has to take into account many more things than in B2C. Therefore, the reasons and influences of the decision are different.
Taking into account this difference when you create or revamp your website is key. A website for a manufacturer or a service provider cannot look like the website of a brand or a retail product. The brand or product need to “create desire” (which usually means a catchy design, fun features that are not that useful but will create a comprehensive experience – think about the customizable Nike sneakers, for instance).
For B2B, things are – really – different. First, we don’t deal with brands but companies who are the partners of other companies. They want to provide a service or product to their partners and make it a long-term relationship.
Therefore, the messages websites in B2B and B2C are supposed to send are quite different. The B2C website must have an impact right away, be attractive and create needs whereas the B2B website has to be informative, comprehensive, easy to understand and explain perfectly the offer of the company. More importantly, the website has to show the company is legitimate in what they do.
In B2B, you look for a “well this is very interesting” instead of a “wow look at that!”, you look for a “they look like they know what they’re doing” instead of a “I need it!”. And this difference has consequences on the user experience, the design and of course the content.
Those elements of the website (don’t forget its organization too), have to give it a feeling of confidence, and a clear description of the offer. The content has to show a comprehensive knowledge of the industry and its needs. Understanding what is at stake for the visitors is just like showing them your services or products are taking into account their issues and hurdles. Indeed, you need to understand what is at stake in order to provide a solution which is the right fit.
It’s all about being legitimate then. In B2B, a purchase decision is a commitment and an investment. Your visitors are looking for more than an attractive design!