Navigating Composable Commerce: B2B vs. B2C Needs


Adapted from our web event, Condensing the Path to Composable for B2B: An Executive Conversation, with Kelly Goetsch, CSO of commercetools and Ryan Heusinkveld, CEO of Smith.

As businesses think about the next evolution of their digital experiences, “composable commerce” has become increasingly popular topic. While it sounds simple on the surface, the reality of how to approach composable can become a complex series of interdependent decision. One crucial question often arises: Do B2B organizations approach composable commerce differently from their B2C counterparts? Let’s delve into this intriguing topic and shed some light on the nuances and commonalities in these distinct approaches. 

B2B and B2C: More Similar Than You Think  

At the highest level this is one glaring difference between B2B and B2C buyers: business buyers shop for need, consumers shop for want and need. Strip that aside within the confines of a shopping experience and it is somewhat of misconception is that B2B and B2C commerce are fundamentally different. Both B2B and B2C customers are looking for a seamless, user-friendly experience when making purchases. This desire for a frictionless buying process transcends the boundary between business models.  

Younger B2B buyers in particular, who are accustomed to the convenience of B2C platforms and make up a growing percentage of decision-makers, seek a similar hassle-free experience when procuring high-value goods. From product discovery and education to repurchasing and account management, B2B ecommerce experiences need to be intuitive in a way that enables a B2B buyer to do their jobs faster, smarter, or more cost-effectively. Ideally, all three. These factors should inform the approach to composable, which business stakeholders keep a keen eye on how each step on the composable commerce continuum yields value for the business itself. 

Distinguishing Features and the Power of Trust in B2B  

While the overarching experience may be similar, B2B commerce involves distinct features and complexities that must come togethe to achieve an underlying commonality across all forms of digital commerce: trust. In B2B, replicating the trust traditionally established through interactions with field sales personnel is essential. B2B customers often rely on knowledgeable sales representatives to provide tailored solutions, and this trust is a crucial factor in their buying decisions. In the B2B world, building trust via the digital experience is as critical as providing advanced features and functionalities. With composable, businesses are free to assemble ‘best-of-breed’ systems that address specific aspects that are most critical to a given business. Whether that’s advance Configure-Price-Quote (CPQ) functionality or AI-powered site search, businesses can build storefronts that replicate trust at each step of the buying process. 

The Digital Acceleration of B2B  

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the digital transformation in the B2B sector exponentially. It forced organizations to shift towards more digital interactions, moving offline transactions online, and adapt to the changing landscape. This has created pressure on businesses have resisted investing in their own digital transformations. While these businesses risk falling farther behind competitors, composable provides a path to incremental improvements, so businesses can tackle distinct challenges one at a time.  

Leveraging IP for B2B Composable Commerce  

In an effort to meet the evolving needs of both B2B and B2C customers, companies like Smith have developed intellectual property (IP) known as Conduit around composable commerce, which is available on the commercetools marketplace. These tools and resources aim to provide solutions that cater to the diverse requirements of businesses with a distinct focus on the needs of B2B companies. 

B2B and B2C may have their differences, but when it comes to composable commerce, their common ground lies in the pursuit of a seamless, user-friendly experience. In the modern digital landscape, trust remains paramount, especially in the B2B realm. As technology continues to advance and the lines between B2B and B2C blur, businesses must adapt, embrace change, and utilize the tools available to provide exceptional experiences for their customers.