Every kind of business benefits from a website, especially business-to-consumer (B2C) companies. A website expands the pool of potential customers to a potentially global audience, allowing visitors to easily learn more about your company and make a purchase anywhere, anytime.
But a B2C website is not a case of “if you build it, they will come.” It takes clever copy, good branding, and intuitive design to take your customers through the journey that eventually leads them to checkout. Read on to learn more about the specific needs of B2C websites, how they differ from business-to-business (B2B) sites, and how to build a site of your own.
Business-to-consumer (B2C) websites are sites that market and sell products or services to consumers.
There are three main models of B2C websites:
The main difference between B2C and B2B websites comes down to who they’re targeting. Both types of website are built in a similar manner, using the same website builders and requiring the same security protocol and site maintenance to stay in top shape. But the content is what determines if it’s a B2C or a B2B site. A B2C site aims to sell products or services to everyday customers, while a B2B site speaks to the pain points other businesses have.
There’s also the matter of how those audiences make decisions. B2C sites target customers more likely to make impulse decisions, while the B2B audience often takes more time to make their choice. In the same vein, a consumer often makes their decision solo, without other stakeholders involved. B2B customers often run their decisions past other stakeholders who have a say, so multiple people need to be involved in the process. That creates an extra hurdle that B2C websites don’t often have to jump over. That might also mean managing extra touchpoints, which is why B2B companies invest in solutions like a cloud contact center and CRM to track these touchpoints.
These 11 essential features set up your site — and your business — for success.
A great design is one of the most important elements to prioritize when building your B2C website. The right design guides customers through the sales process, encouraging them to visit certain areas, click the right buttons, and eventually make a purchase. To that end, an intuitive user experience involves catering to what customers have come to expect from a B2C website, like a menu at the top of the page, and utilizing website design best practices to attract — and eventually win over — visitors.
How are you describing the products and services you sell? Does your description put the reader in a customer’s shoes? Do they emerge with a clear understanding of what you’re selling — and why they should buy?
Quality content is the cornerstone of a good B2C site. Your content should offer important information and illustrate use cases. When writing content for your site, be sure to include details you would want to know if you were shopping for a particular item. This includes product measurements, materials used, features, and benefits.
Content goes beyond what’s written on the page to also include photos and videos of what you’re selling. Pictures bring your products or services to life and reinforce expectations for shoppers.
There are two categories of photography that come in handy here: product photography and lifestyle photography. Product photography should include clean, high-resolution photos of the product from many angles so users can get an idea of the size, shape, and overall appearance. Lifestyle photography involves placing the item into a real-life scenario, whether that’s with people or in a styled setting, so visitors can imagine how they can use the item.
Let’s use the example of a Dutch oven. Product photography captures the outside and inside of the product along with any accessories, like the lid. Lifestyle photography places the Dutch oven in a kitchen and may also feature someone cooking with the product.
Many customers price shop before making a decision, making this information among the most important to communicate right away. Clear pricing listed next to the item you’re selling on the product listing page plays into visitors’ expectations for your site, which contributes to a good user experience. If you offer subscriptions — in the style of Amazon’s Subscribe & Save, for example — ensure you clearly communicate how recurring payments are structured and collected.
Your brand touches every aspect of your B2C website, from your brand voice and how you write for your customers to the colors you use on each page. Consistency with your brand is key to successfully connecting your site with your company, as customers grow accustomed to the same colors, logos, shapes, patterns, and fonts. As a whole, this makes a significant yet subconscious impact on your site visitors, who take away that your company is trustworthy, reliable, and offers something of value. To help ensure your B2C website stays on brand, consult your style guide during the design process.
Whether it’s testimonials, endorsements, or rave reviews pulled from Facebook, social proof is a powerful tool that signals to others that your brand is worth buying from. Social proof taps into the bandwagon effect, in which customers are more inclined to buy your product if they see that others have chosen you. Reviews, five-star ratings, and awards are all great social proof contributors to include on your site.
Good, accessible customer service lowers return rates and helps contribute to your reputation as a great company to buy from. If a customer needs help, you want to make sure they can find the assistance they need. Offering convenient ways to contact a helpful representative, whether by phone, email, chatbot, or text, goes a long way. Make sure your policies are easily accessible, too, and detail important information about returns, exchanges, and warranties.
The faster a customer can get to the products or services they want to buy, the more likely they are to make the purchase. This tool is quite helpful for those who recall part of a product name or only have a general idea of what they’re looking for, as the search results can direct them to the right place. Plus, many users come to expect a search bar to help them get to the products they want to buy faster. Place the search bar in a prominent place at the top of your website so customers see it first.
No website, including a B2C website, is complete without calls to action (CTAs) throughout. A call to action is the next step you want a site visitor to take, and once that visitor takes that action, it’s called a conversion. For a B2C website, calls to action are often centered around purchasing a product, but they can also be anchored on signing up for a loyalty program, registering for an email newsletter, or sharing a product on social media.
Some common call to action examples include:
Websites can be programmed to display specific information depending on where your customer is accessing their website, called geolocation. If you sell products in many regions or around the world, geolocation is an excellent way to make your content relevant and accessible without building a microsite or creating many additional pages. A great example of geolocation is offering the details for the closest retail location to your visitor when they come to your website.
You want to make it easy for potential customers to get in touch with your company for other reasons aside from customer service. Not only is contact information (specifically your address and phone number) an important factor of reliability for search engine optimization, but it offers another layer of transparency for customers, contributing to your overall reputation.
Building a B2C website begins with selecting the design and development method that’s best for you. There are three main options:
The best choice for your B2C site greatly depends on the type of business you run. You’ll have to take security needs, site hosting capacity needs, ease of updates, and technical functionality into account. You’ll also need to think about your time — whether you have the time to build the site yourself, or if you need to get up and running faster than a developer can guarantee. No matter which route you choose, though, the fundamentals for designing a B2C website remain the same.
With Namecheap Site Maker, any B2C business owner can get their products and services online with ease. Whether you’re a plumber looking for new clients or you sell scented candles, Namecheap’s intuitive drag-and-drop builder simplifies the website design and development process. Your brand colors, engaging images, helpful copy, and logo are all uploaded in minutes, while the accessible tools make it easy for anyone to follow website design best practices without hiring a website development firm. And for a low monthly price, getting online is more accessible than ever for B2C companies. Head to Namecheap Site Maker to see how it works!