When we think of eCommerce businesses, it’s common for Amazon and similar B2C platforms to come to mind first.
However, the eCommerce industry is one that is made up of different levels of businesses that cater to different types of customers.
The traditional or common types of eCommerce business models include:
- Business to Consumers (B2C)
- Business to Business (B2B)
- Consumer to Consumer (C2C)
- And Consumer to Business (C2B)
C2C businesses are online marketplaces where people can exchange goods or sell them. Sites like Etsy, Craigslist, and eBay are examples of such marketplaces.
A C2B model is one where consumers offer services or products to businesses. This usually takes the form of participation in focus groups, promoting a brand as an influencer, or writing customer reviews. It isn’t necessary for money to get exchanged in this type of model. Value is created for businesses by customers here when they endorse a product or give feedback.
In some form or the other, the models here rest on eCommerce platforms to work. Transactions and other interactions take place between individuals, small and large businesses, and non-profit organizations.
Some eCommerce businesses cater to different types of customers i.e. B2C and B2B ones at the same time. Each customer type makes it necessary to carry out business functions differently. So, when you’re engaging with customers who are individuals and businesses too, then this creates even more complexity.
When you deal with B2B customers, you typically have longer-term relationships with them. And customers buy in higher quantities to receive varying levels of discounts based on their buying behavior.
And when you cater to B2C customers at the same time, you have to offer products at different prices and create content that’s specific to them.
When you have to manage such complex activities, it makes a world of difference to create Customer Types for your eCommerce business.
Benefits of creating different customer types
It’s rarely useful to think of your customers as consisting of a homogenous mass of people with the same needs.
Even when you work in a specific niche there are bound to be variations in the types of people you cater to.
When you break down your audience into groups or Customer Types, you’ll be able to shape everything from your pricing to your content creation based on who your customer is.
Here are the benefits you get from creating customer types:
- You’ll be able to define segments or tiers and offer different offerings and pricing structures to each
- Creating customer types allows you to design your website and membership access to match each type
- You can create content that’s personalized and relevant to each segment and this makes your product offerings more appealing
We can see the clear benefits of creating customer types. Now, let’s look at practical ways to set up your business website to support different offerings.
Setting up your website for different customer types
There are a few ways you can set up your website to support different customer types. You can create a membership site on WordPress if your focus is on a few products or an online course.
However, if you’re a larger eCommerce brand, then you would do best to set up a full-fledged eCommerce website and add the right plugins to modify customers’ access to it.
If you have a WordPress website, you’re probably aware that you can give people access to your website in the following ways – by making someone an Admin, Editor, Contributor, Author, or Subscriber.
WooCommerce also offers two additional roles by default: Shop Manager and Customer.
However, if you’re seeking greater flexibility then consider adding a plugin that does just this. Some options are WooCommerce’s memberships addon or a pricing plugin for wholesale businesses. There are several other plugins available in the market that will help you do the following:
- Create tiers or segments of customers
- Add rules for each customer type. Some of the rules are to:
- Display only the prices relevant to each customer type
- Add minimum and maximum thresholds for the number of products a customer can buy
- Specific product catalogs that are available only to certain groups
- Special rewards and discounts applied to each customer type and based on quantities bought
- Manage tax requirements for different locations
- Create specific shipping methods for different products, quantities, and locations
It’s evident that using the right tools to create and manage customer types will help you automate your business. You’ll have fine control over what your customers can see and you’ll be able to collect payments, gather reports, and do more from a single dashboard.
Here’s how simple it can be to manage such complex processes with the right tool.
Install and activate your pricing plugin
Using an extension or a plugin like Wholesale Suite Plugin, you can create specific roles for each type of customer. This is similar to giving a user a role for your WordPress site such as an Editor or Author role.
But in our case, eCommerce businesses have options that are geared towards managing B2B and B2C customers with ease.
Build additional roles
You can create as many roles as you need for each customer type. At this stage, You can also add rules for each role. For example, unlocking a discount only if customers buy a minimum quantity of 100 items.
Assign customers to different roles
If you already have your customers as Users in your WordPress site, then all you have to do is assign your users to the roles you’ve created.
You can also create registration forms that your customers fill in and get auto-approved for different roles.
And in this way, you’ll save time and effort to manage different profiles with their own levels of permissions and access.
There you have it. We’ve covered the need to define different types of customers for eCommerce businesses. When you do this, you can fine-tune your offerings for each group even if you cater to both B2Cs and B2Bs.
Ultimately, your success depends on using a solid eCommerce plugin that offers customizability.
When you work with a good tool, you’ll manage your business better and also improve your customer’s user experience.