The difference between doing Business-to-Consumer (B2C) or Business-to-Business (B2B) reflects itself in many IT enabled disciplines.
When it comes to Product Information Management (PIM) this is true as well. As PIM has become essential with the rise of eCommerce, some of the differences are inherited from the eCommerce discipline. There is a discussion on this in a post on the Shopify blog by Ross Simmonds. The post is called B2B vs B2C Ecommerce: What’s The Difference?
Some significant observations to go into the PIM realm is that for B2B, compared to B2C:
- The audience is (on average) narrower
- The price is (on average) higher
- The decision process is (on average) more thoughtful
How these circumstances affect the difference for PIM was exemplified here on the blog in the post Work Clothes versus Fashion: A Product Information Perspective.
To sum up the differences I would say that some of the technology you need, for example PIM solutions, is basically the same but the data to go into these solutions must be more elaborate and stringent for B2B. This means that for B2B, compared to B2C, you (on average) need:
- More complete and more consistent attributes (specifications, features, properties) for each product and these should be more tailored to each product group.
- More complete and consistent product relations (accessories, replacements, spare parts) for each product.
- More complete and consistent digital assets (images, line drawings, certificates) for each product.
How to achieve that involves deep collaboration in the supply chains of manufacturers, distributors and merchants. The solutions for that was examined in the post The Long Tail of Product Data Synchronization.