B2B vs B2C

Product Design as a subject is human-centric and domain agnostic, so should we care if we are solving a B2B problem or a B2C problem? Is it not the same? Let's dive in 👇

While the principles of good design is intact, there are a few nuances to note down when designing for B2B and B2C.

In a business-business (B2B) model, businesses sell products and services to other businesses. In a business-company (B2C) model, businesses sell directly to individual customers. The common denominator in both the models is selling.

In B2C we sell to people directly.
In B2B we sell to people who work in a business.

In B2C we sell directly to the to decision makers. In B2B we sell to influencers who in turn sell to decision makers. The order of selling brings in a lot of complexity for B2B.

As the designer, it is important to understand this nuance because customer insighting methods can be very different for B2B and B2C.

  • A B2B product typically helps its employees to get the work done or do it better-faster-cheaper. By default there isno skin in the game or incentive for the employees to enhance the products they are using day-in and day-out. Where as a B2C product directly helps the customer to get things done. As the customer uses the product directly, they demand better, faster and convenient ways of getting things done. Hence the product experience is more delightful for B2C products compared to B2B products.
  • B2B products typically have complex workflows, large data sets, multiple user segments and divergent user needs compared to B2C products.
  • Typically experts handle B2B products. Quirkiness, delight, detailed steps and pleasure may intrude getting the job done. Micro interactions and flashy animations may annoy the user.
  • The complexity and scale of a B2B product is high. The features are intertwined. The schema is complex. Changing a workflow in one feature may affect multiple workflows unintentionally. In B2C, workflows can be simplified on the go and workflows can be split without much impact on the architecture.
  • B2B products are used by the employees day-in and day-out. Too many steps or large illustrations, many micro interactions, long loading times hinders the functionality of the product. B2B products are made for efficiency and effectiveness whereas B2C products are made for delight and ease.

The common sentiment is B2B products are boring and unsexy compared to a B2C product.

If you love complex problem solving and challenges of scale B2B might be your thing.
If you love designing for delight and for a large customer base B2C might be your thing.

🥂 to problem solving!

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