How can B2B Industry Evolve to Keep Up with B2C Commerce?

Personalized shopping always has been the norm. The fact that nearly half the people are more likely to buy from retailers who personalize their experience, tells only half the story.

Consumers grow tired of generic, untargeted campaigns. They want purchasing experience that they can relate with. They want to be touched emotionally, personally, and attitudinally. Personalization is directly promotional to conversion. And personalization is at the heart of B2C.

Business lunch meeting

While B2B and B2C have their formal definitions, the ability to tailor marketing message in B2C, is the most formidable force that drives conversions.

In contrast, B2B is repetitive, monotonous and plain boring. Nonspecific campaigns become dull too early and this one of the major reasons why B2B industry haven’t been able to keep up with booming B2C industry.

B2B Trends

Though there have been some customization efforts but all those predictive models did was give their service or their campaign, a rough shape.

The businesses-to-business industry has integrated past behavior and firm’s dynamics to tailor their services and this has resulted in more conversions. But, this predictive analysis only took them as far. Improved figures in early days are too deceptive because some targeting is always better than no targeting. And as soon as law of diminishing returns kicks in, the sales attain stagnancy.

One of the lacking areas, where B2Bs should focus more is timing.

Timing: Kicking in when the buyer needs you is the key. If B2B provides a solution when a business is in need, the solution provider becomes instant-hero. Even for a most-customized campaign, conversion would be tough because it was hard to strike when the iron was hot.

Now, with the entrance of social media and the improvement of data collection methods, B2Bs can design their campaigns in a better way and target the businesses more creatively. Let’s discuss the example of one of the giants in B2B and how it is closing in with B2C with its sheer business-centric model.

TradeKey Case Study, the world’s second largest B2B marketplace as it claims, has been remolding the structure of B2B via its thorough data mining practices and deep targeting campaigns. Here’s how the company does it. screenshot

Firmographical Targeting:

While mining for demographics like age gender, locale and even religion is common in B2C, TradeKey has been bringing B2B up to the mark by mining for industry type, size, locale and other industry specific firmographics.

Behavioral Targeting:

Psychographic and behavioral targeting is a defining factor for B2C commerce. Behavioral targeting allows B2C sellers to identify the psychographic traits, interests, opinions and behaviors of consumers, thus gaining the ability of better targeting.

In B2B, TradeKey took the initiative of gauging behavioral characteristics of businesses like their response to technological innovations, their risk-taking tendencies, their niche, their targeted segment and if possible, their working environment/ culture.

Real-Time Targeting:

B2Bs have a hard time capturing time-sensitive markets. In B2C, consumers can get or dispose what they want, when they want. Plus waiting time is a bit more in B2C. Comparatively, in order to keep things running in business, firms demand instant fulfillment.

B2Cs feel more personalized because they keep an eye on digital footprints of their leads. TradeKey bridges this gap by following potential leads closely. Through thorough analysis of both buying and selling parties, TradeKey manages to effectively target the users and provide better service delivery.

The Key Differentiators for TradeKey unique selling propositions, USPs, also happen to be the defining factor for B2B industry. Some of the tactics deployed by TradeKey are simple but highly effective. Here are some examples.

Premium Memberships and Account Managements

TradeKey’s membership model is simple. The clients buy memberships for which they get exclusive benefits, including a dedicated key accounts manager whose primary tasks include researching and finding the best deal for his/ her client. These account managers ensure the buyer gets just the perfect seller profiles. This model also gives TradeKey high quality data with which it can better handle its customers and use this data for future conversions. Many a time, the account managers would find the right audience from social profiles and internal database.

Local Domains

Businesses -to-business trading in FMCG industry needs to be sweet & swift, a seller of chicken livers isn’t going to wait for international buyers. It sounds silly. But TradeKey solved this issue by offering local domains. A seller located in Shanghai can simply reach out to a Shanghai buyer via Likewise, sellers in USA, UAE, UK and Russia can find buyers in literally minutes using their respective local,, and domains.


Tradeshows is another prominent characteristic of TradeKey. The company’s modus operandi is to provide a marketplace where legitimate buyers meet genuine sellers. Tradeshows, backed with TradeKey’s core model makes it easy for buyers to find the right sellers and vice versa. Plus, Appearance of TradeKey’s representative in flesh and blood in the tradeshows instills confidence in interested firms. With representative handling every visitor personally, not only the chances of conversions increase, but the buying experience also becomes fun and memorable.


This app allows visitors to interact with the accounts manager any time of the day. With every lead being treated by a real, live respondent, the personalization experience enhances and probability of conversion shoots up.

TradeMate screenshot

So, Can B2B Keep Up with B2C?

From TradeKey’s example, it is clear that even simplest of strategies can change the game. The B2B Company’s model is on the verge of closing the gap between boring B2B and the hot B2C commerce. What TradeKey does works, and it isn’t tough. It brings B2B one step closer to B2C.

Other players in the industry too, can use a bit of creativity to spice up the B2B industry because there is still a lot more potential in the industry then what they have tapped into.