B2C or Business-to-consumers, marketing is a term used by companies while referring to the type of business they operate. B2C companies focus more on selling their products to an individual and also market their products for personal use. B2C companies also offer some packaging options which are appropriate for the consumption to the individual. There are many companies that sell their products to other businesses and consumers as well, but the focus of B2C is that they are solely focused on selling their products to consumers only which is drastically different. For instance, let us take grocery store; we go to a grocery store in order to buy food and other items for our house. These grocery stores store items in small containers which make it easy for us to carry it home and hence promotions and sales are targeted to us i.e. individual consumers. Your local grocery store may even offer a small discount or a free product when similar items are purchased. To make it easy to understand, these stores are actually acting like a small B2C company.
How does B2C Marketing work?
From business point of view in B2C marketing, companies need to keep their customers in mind. They need to study and understand the customer’s needs, wants, problems and challenges eventually. When all these factors are analyzed properly, companies can then create their marketing messages that answer’s their customer’s needs. Consider the same example of the grocery store mentioned before, the company sends weekly ads that offers sale and discount to customers. Customers are provided with rebates or refunds which are offered to them with the help of an explanation, while some of the grocery stores place ads on their receipts and shopping carts. All these are efforts made by companies to market their business to individual consumers.
With all the efforts kept in mind, there are some of the biggest challenges in B2C marketing. These are as follows.
1. Trying to adjust in order to increase customer expectations –
Nowadays consumers have more control than ever before. This has given a huge rise in unpredictability than ever before. According to a survey, 9 out of 10 consumers will pay more for a superior customer experience. With this concept kept in mind, 60% consumers will opt for a new brand to get better experience. Hence, in today’s digital time, it is important to engage with the customers rather than interrupt them. Take smart phones as an example combined with unlimited internet access along with an abundance of technological resources, it has provided access to any information they require 24/7 to consumers at the tap of a finger. Henceforth, brands must be ready to meet the consumer’s demands on their device and preferred channel.
2. Breaking through a Crowded Social Marketplace –
B2C brands need to understand that there are plenty of opportunities and challenges on social media. Companies need to realize this fast as there are a bunch of social channels available to consumers which has exploded exponentially over the past 10 years. Social channels like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat provide a channel to build connections with customers. However, all these factors can be a hurdle for B2C companies. That’s because consumers have no obstacle on entering upon any social media platform and are very quick in giving negative feedback based on their experience. Plus, it’s also very difficult for companies to respond to consumers quickly all the time across every “social” medium. Social media platforms can also present as a distraction for many consumers; for example if a company isn’t entertaining, connecting or responding to their consumers, than other companies will.
3. Doing a job with limited time and resources may hamper a business –
Time and resources may be a major obstacle for B2C brands, especially for new or growing companies trying to increase its productivity, marketing and product fulfillment/delivery. With the help of technology, B2C marketing team can try to solve these problems that hamper their productivity and the ability to reach their customers. Companies can use software to automate, scale and amplify their personalized marketing strategy which can also reduce some of the day-to-day tasks.
4. Using customer data and dealing with data overload –
Customer data is generated at every point and interaction from every customer, web visitor or a prospect when a company is trying to reach. Many B2C marketers believe this is the most major challenge in today’s time. The process of keeping up and making sense of all the data collected and then using it to gain information and inform a marketing team is nearly impossible to achieve manually. There are new technologies available which can help businesses by changing the process of collecting, mining, analyzing and leveraging data. They are:-
a. Customer data platforms –
This helps to store and manage all customer related information one’s collecting.
b. Machine learning –
It helps algorithms to learn by itself without the need for manual updates.
c. Artificial intelligence marketing –
Helps to scale the process of personalization.
With the drawbacks kept in mind, there are marketing tips which can help businesses to focus on reaching customers at an appropriate time, while delivering perfectly tailored messages which ensures conversion and retention. We look at some of the tips as follows.
1. Sending Reminder Emails –
Email reminders works like a magnet to connect with customers by delivering important and time-sensitive messages. Reminder email works wonders as it helps a brand constantly connected on customer’s minds, which, in turn helps to increase sales and drive conversions. Email reminders works well for B2C marketing for various reasons. First, email is considered to be #1 effective marketing channel for consumers. Secondly, email acts as non-interruptive medium as consumers opt to receive emails directly into their email accounts to receive updates from the company. Thirdly, consumers can access their respective emails during their convenient time and take decisions in their own time.
2. Create Exclusivity with VIP Programs –
The power of VIP programs allows driving customer loyalty and increasing engagement. Customer who are members of VIP programs get massive benefits like the luxury of added bonuses and deals from different brands. Since customers enjoy these added benefits, they tend to become brand ambassadors and share their story with friends and colleagues. VIP programs encourage customers to spend more in order to receive these special bonuses, which in turn offer incentives to customers and then helps brands increase revenue.
3. Increase Retention with Retargeting –
Customer retargeting is an effective method used when a customer visits a particular website and then leaves that site for another page and goes towards its competitors. Retargeting is very helpful when a potential customer abandons a shopping cart of a particular ecommerce site. With the help of retargeting ads, one can remind the customer what they’ve left behind and urge them to finish the purchase for a product.
4. Social Media –
According to a study consumers get to see an average of over 3000 advertising messages per day. When a consumer sits down to watch their favorite TV show but then is distracted by ads, they turn to their phones in order to avoid watching the ads. Consumers tend to be least interested of advertising messages on Twitter, but this is where B2C e commerce companies really excel. Company like NastyGal adds humor and pop culture references to soften their ad messages. They also do market research which is evident to make their messaging spot-on for their target market. In this way, NastyGal has grown in such to have huge follower base and have been able to increase sales by over 500% since the brands establishment.
Traditional marketing strategies have all gone outdated. Billboards, TV ads and various marketing tactics do not possess the same kind of attraction to the consumers they once had. B2C marketing companies need to approach marketing strategies in different ways to fulfill the demands of consumers. This is because customer demand has changed as they tend to experience more of personalized, emotional, 1-to-1 level. The loyalty and attention of a customer hangs in the balance as well as business for B2C companies depends on it. Technology will keep evolving, so will B2C marketing landscape. New trends will emerge, new expectations will be expected, and companies will need to come up with new strategies. The B2C marketing strategies mentioned above have proven to have positive results. With the help of the strategies, B2C ecommerce marketers can continue to grow their customer base and further build stronger relationships with new customers.