Why hybrid business models are the new way of working for B2C and B2B

In e-commerce, you had two markets business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C). Also, the term B2B2C is something we see more often. This is because the market is changing. More and more organizations are blending B2B and B2C in new innovative ways. These ways and this crossover in the different markets is what we call hybrid business models.

Consumer brands are becoming wholesalers and selling directly to big companies. And B2B brands are adding direct-to-consumer stores and giving their small business customers a more “consumer-like” experience. This transformation isn’t easy. The B2B and B2C world are completely different. Your way of doing business needs to change and you need to explore your new target group. Doing business, the same way in B2B as B2C wouldn’t work. What you need to do is create a hybrid business model.

As said before changing markets and your way of working isn’t easy. B2B companies need to learn how to delight their customers. And B2C companies need to understand the complexities of B2B selling. The good news is that many companies have adopted a hybrid business model and achieved tremendous success. Magento, an Adobe company, is a leading provider of commerce innovation for B2B and B2C and they have already some success stories to share of companies who implemented a hybrid business model.  The success stories are:

HP Inc.

The Asia Pacific division of HP Inc. makes 3D printers that can even print their own replacement parts. They sell online and in store, and their customers include consumers as well as small and medium businesses and employee purchase programs. In other words, they have a hybrid business model spanning B2B and B2C. When they first introduced e-commerce, they used Magento Commerce 1.x to build web stores in Thailand and Indonesia. The initial experiment revealed they needed a lot more than the B2C basics. They needed an e-commerce platform with B2B and B2C capabilities to help them. Now they have one Magento Commerce 2 platform for B2B and B2C commerce in 5 countries. Magento Commerce 2 offers hybrid B2B and B2C, is global-ready, and includes multichannel functionality. They use it to power web stores across all five countries. All of these regional web stores share the same “HP Universe” back end. The back end provides a consistent brand experience and user-friendly management options while allowing each country to make customizations to meet local requirements.


Steelcase sells highly customized office furniture. Their products are built to order, with a truly mind-boggling 25 quadrillion possible SKUs. And they sell them through an extensive network of dealers that reaches everyone from individual consumers to enterprises. While Steelcase was initially an early e-commerce adopter, their first platform did not fully support their product lines or business model. They decided to replace their old e-commerce platform and reinvent their customer experience for both their dealers and their customers. Steelcase chose Magento Commerce because it’s extremely flexible and offers a wide range of B2B and B2C functionality. Steelcase also uses Magento to power its direct-to-consumer web store.

A Little Lovely Company

A Little Lovely Company sells decorations for kids’ bedrooms. They sell direct to consumers through brick-and-mortar stores and e-commerce. And they sell online to wholesale businesses and resellers. When they first started selling online, they set up a store on Magento Open Source. But they outgrew it quickly because it didn’t fully support their growing B2B sales. Rather than extend Open Source any further, they began looking for a hybrid e-commerce platform that could support their B2C and B2B businesses. They switched to Magento Commerce with a B2B-first approach to the migration, because wholesalers represent A Little Lovely Company’s biggest market. And they made it their own with customizations like a color-coded order system to make work easier for B2B account managers. Now they have a complete set of features for both B2B and B2C commerce.

Are you dealing with the same problems as the examples above? And are you ready to change your way of working to a hybrid business model? Youwe is here to help. We are a Magento Enterprise partner and your guide in the digital jungle. Do you want to know more? Contact us.

Source: Magento

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