Traditionally, businesses begin as B2C but as they expand and look for new markets develop a B2B operations. However, this model of development has significantly changed because of advances in technology. Though B2C and B2B's characteristics essentially remain the same, they have already exceeded their basic definitions.
B2C refers to businesses dealing directly with consumers. The action of purchase is for the purpose of personal consumption. It is not to imply that the customer or consumer has to procure the product or service directly from the manufacture or service provider, B2C can take the form of a person buying a product from a store or person availing of a free spa treatment with a gift certificate or voucher.
B2B in contrast refers to businesses engaging the service or procuring products for their own operations and not for consumption. An example of B2B would be a bakery buying flour to produce its breads. The criteria defining whether the interaction is B2B or B2C is consumption (Koetler, 1998).
The objective in a B2C model is to promote or market a site is to be able communicate on a personal level. Each consumer will have different motivations and these motivations may vary greatly considering individual perception, socio-cultural background (both demographics and psychographics), and experience. These elements define the customers' needs which initiate the buying process. The following figure is an example of a depiction of what influences consumer behavior:
Therefore, sites that wish to appeal to consumers have to focus on the characteristics of customers and to consider the decision process of these customers which characterizes the type of person that consumer is. In contrast, B2B customers' motivations or preferences are generally based on quantitative pre-defined needs or criteria. B2B transactions generally arise from the following:
1. Raw material or industrial supplies or services are needed to produce an end product to be sold in the open market
2. Raw material or industrial supplies or services are needed as components of processing a product
3. Products or services are bought form an original manufacturer for resale
4. Products or services are bought from s non-original manufacturer for the purpose of distribution
5. Products or services are bought as a complete system or "turnkey" operation.
Figure 2 illustrates the buying process that characterizes the undertaking of B2Bs. It is not required that all of these stages are passed through in each B2B transaction. At this level, buyers are limited by the people and other factors that affect the company. This then highlights the influence organizational culture plays in the buying process. Therefore, in marketing a site on the B2B model, the marketer must consider not just that direct need but also the main use of the product, its users and even the tendencies or preferences of senior executives and others who have bearing on company policies (Johansson, 2001).
Differentiating Approaches in B2C and B2B
Table 1 summarizes the differences between B2B marketing and B2C marketing. Marketing