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What Is B2C? 3 Ways Tech Is Keeping Up With Changing Consumer Buying Habits

Benjamin Hunting
March 28, 2019

3 minute read

What is B2C? The business-to-consumer landscape is constantly shifting, especially as new technologies appear that make it easier, faster, and more effective to sell directly to buyers. While some B2C trends may extend along traditional lines such as access to customers and understanding buyer behavior, the methods in which they are deployed are now more than ever accessible to businesses of all sizes.

Check out these 3 ways B2C is changing along with the buying habits of the modern consumer, and how technology is helping keep the pace.

Analyzing customer data

In order to better serve customers, businesses have to understand what it is they actually want out of the customer experience – and the best way to do that is to analyze their behavior on existing channels and platforms. In fact, companies are sitting on a treasure trove of data tied specifically to their existing customers – and you don’t have to be a giant like Amazon or Google to take action on that information.

What is B2C going to look like 1, 5, or 10 years from now? The key here is tracking how a customer interacts with a brand through all stages of the “lifecycle”. This includes understanding how they arrived at a site or store (for example, which advertisement did they click?), what pages they visited or aisles they browsed while there, how much they spent, if they returned, and if their behaviors changed after that return. By developing a profile of each individual customer, it’s possible to individually tailor their experience so as to direct them toward products and services they are most likely to buy.

Netflix has been a pioneer in this respect. By analyzing past watching behavior, the streaming service has created an environment where 80% of viewing is launched from recommended titles rather than open browsing of its entire catalog, according to Mashable.

“Could it happen that we have such confidence in what you want to watch that we start autoplaying something? We’re working toward that,” Netflix VP of product innovation Todd Yellin told Mashable in 2017.

 

Leveraging partnerships

Mobile doesn’t have to exclusively mean phones and tablets. Increasingly, retailers and service providers are turning to the connected automobile as a point of sale. With infotainment features such as Marketplace by General Motors now capable of ordering coffee, making dinner reservations, or even deliver deals and promotions to drivers of more than 4 million vehicles, the car has become the new captive customer battleground. What’s more, it’s possible to track the aggregate behavior of Marketplace users to gain further insight into what works, and what doesn’t, via this form of marketing, providing a new answer to the question of “what is B2C” to those who would look beyond the screen in consumers’ hands.

Clicks-to-bricks

Is the final frontier for online retail…a return to brick and mortar? Surprisingly, a growing number of “clicks-to-brick”‘ business model transformations — where online-native brands are opening in-person stores, shops, and showrooms — is fast becoming the latest B2C trend.

According to a research report by JLL and as reported in Forbes, ecommerce retailers plan to open 850 new physical locations over the next 5 years. Primarily, these are higher-end brand efforts that will be found in major population centers such as New York, but they are notable for the reversal of the trend that saw traditional retailers such as Sears and Toys R Us fall into bankruptcy as shoppers shifted their attentions online. Leading the charge? Companies whose customers feel the need to interact with the product – such as clothing and mattress sales – prior to buying.

Benjamin Hunting
Benjamin Hunting
Benjamin Hunting has covered science, medicine, and technology for a wide range of publications, and has also been published in the Journal of Medical Economics. He coded his first computer program at the age of 8 on a Commodore VIC-20 and still has the audio cassette he saved it on hanging around somewhere in his office.
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