A Beginner’s Guide to B2B Applications

While developing a mobile app, it’s critical to understand the target market for the app. This gives rise to the question whether to choose a business-to-business (B2B) or a business-to-customer (B2C) mobile application. Read on to learn more about B2B and B2C apps and the key differences between them.
Application develoement
Product Engineering

By Kavya Gogineni

Chaos Engineering - Product Resilience - Techigai

What are B2B and B2C Apps?

B2B apps are designed to solve enterprise-level problems, whereas B2C apps are crafted to answer individual-level problems.

Business-to-Business (B2B) refers to firms that create products or services and sell to other firms/companies. In most cases, business-to-business applications simplify business processes, optimize its operations, or address a specific operational need within an organization. Small, medium and large enterprises often face problems in HR, operations, finance, marketing, and other key domains. For example, Microsoft Teams application is solving the problem of employee communication and collaboration. Jira application is streamlining the process of project management.

In the Business-to-Consumer (B2C) context, apps are targeted towards individual consumers. In our daily lives, we generally see apps that are B2C. In the case of B2C apps, the audience mix is more diverse as compared to B2B. For instance, Uber is a popular B2C application that caters to a wide range of individual users for hailing on-demand transport services.

B2B vs B2C Apps: A Comparison

Here’s a comparison between these two types of apps based on various prevalent parameters.

With big-scale organizations beginning to move to cloud-based architectures to build reliable software, the systems are becoming complex. Failures and outages are becoming much harder to detect, ultimately impacting a company’s bottom line. Besides, the shift to DevOps has made the reliability tests much more complex.

1. Functionality or UI/UX

While both functionality and end-user experience hold the highest stance in terms of characteristics for any application, B2B applications focus on functionality while B2C believes in end-user experience.
This is because B2B apps are more focused on solving or streamlining a business process. Hence, Functionality plays a vital role as compared to UX.
When it comes to B2C an enhanced user experience lets the application in the B2C market acquire a larger consumer base.

2. Development Cost

Due to a higher user base and need for modern user experience (UX) standards, and complex infrastructure; B2C app development is more expensive as compared to B2B app development.
Furthermore, for customer retention, constant updates based on user feedback are essential. This adds to B2C app development costs.

3. Revenue Model

Ideally, the cost per user in B2B apps is more as compared to B2C apps.
This is mainly because the revenue generation for B2B apps is solely based on a periodic subscription or licensing model. Because of complex functionalities and fine curation features specific to a business need, the pricing of the application is set medium-high and is offered at the individual user level and the complete enterprise level.
For B2C apps, the revenue generation can be based on subscription, but, it usually comes from a variety of other sources like advertisements, collaboration marketing, paid promotions, data mining, etc. Because of the variety of revenue sources, large consumer base, and huge market potential for the user data, the pricing per user is often set low – medium range. This helps in getting more users registering and using the application due to affordability.

4. Marketing

In the B2B scenario, the key targets are business owners or decision-makers in the organization. Therefore, the marketing campaigns are targeted towards a few sets of key people, and the approach to planning the budget would be to make appointments, travel, etc. Marketing cost per user would be generally much higher and the conversion rate is very low.
For B2C apps the goal is always to acquire a larger user base. Hence, mass marketing is required. The budget is spent on multiple platforms with a varied mix of marketing medium selection. The cost spent per user will be low and the conversion rates are much higher.

Diving Deeper into B2B Apps

B2B apps are not as easy to understand as their B2C counterparts due to the complexity of their distribution methods, app store restrictions, and more.

The demand for B2B applications has surged rapidly since 2018. The pandemic has accelerated this even further. In fact, it is projected that the B2B apps market is expected to reach $140 billion by 2023. So, B2B applications are now a hot commodity in the workplace, and a lot of SaaS companies are eyeing to capture the market by creating diverse enterprise-level applications.

Types of B2B App

B2B apps are broadly categorized as the following:

  1. Commerce:
  2. B2B Commerce platforms offer many features to support a sales process.

  3. External management:
  4. External management software helps businesses to establish coordination between vendors and various entities in the supply chain.

    Example: CRM

  5. Internal operations:
  6. These are applications that are used to streamline internal operations.

    Example: – Payroll applications, Project management software etc.

What Should A B2B App Have?

There are several crucial elements that B2B apps must have to meet the various operational and business needs within an organization.

  1. Customization and personalization:
  2. A single solution cannot always cater to multiple businesses. Solutions that work for one business may not work for another. Therefore, it is important to customize a B2B Application according to the customer’s needs.

  3. MDM:
  4. MDM is crucial for privately distributed B2B apps. It is used to manage all of a company’s devices irrespective of their type or operating system. It maintains the security of the devices while keeping the workforce flexible and productive.

  5. BI and reports:
  6. Intelligent reports can help the organization to understand various metrics better. Integrating reports into the app can help businesses draw valuable insights.

  7. Flexible APIs:
  8. APIs allow any application to interact with other applications. Today the world is running on robust integrations, the more flexible an app is, the wider would be its user base. While this completely is subjective to the business case, it is always suggestible that an app has flexible APIs that can be used by other applications

  9. Support and maintenance:
  10. Support and maintenance are crucial for any application. However, it holds greater importance for B2B apps. As business needs keep evolving, it is essential to provide good support while incorporating new changes.

Distribution of B2B Apps

B2B apps are further classified based on their method of distribution.

  • Publicly listed B2B apps:

These are available for download directly from the app store.Example: Microsoft Teams.

  • Privately listed B2B apps:

These apps are directly marketed and sold to businesses rather than listed on the app stores. Both Apple and Android provide private distribution methods.

Read More in Part 2 of this Blog Series

Building the app is half only the job done, and wouldn’t do much unless you make it accessible and distribute it to appropriate end-users.

Both iOS and Android platforms offer several distribution methods. The next blog in the series gives an overview of these available distribution methods for B2B apps.

Techigai has helped businesses across industries to build and distribute game-changing platforms. To learn more about how we can help with your B2B application development needs , contact us.

You can’t have a customer-centric culture without putting your people first. If you don’t know or understand what the current state of the customer experience is, how can you possibly design the desired future state?

Annette Franz

Published Date: 02 February, 2022


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