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B2B vs. B2C Design - Differences in Designing for Various Clients

icon20 November 2023 (updated 20 November 2023)
icon10 minutes read
icon12 minutes audio
iconMemory Squared

Table of Contents


The design of an app is something that defines your app from the very start. It's everything your new client sees and initial judgments are made according to this first look. Poor design elements can lead to the decision to abandon the app by the clients and ultimately be the death of your app. Especially nowadays, where aesthetics play a great role both in the real and digital worlds, app designers are having a hard time creating visually appealing screens.

However, designing an app for big companies and individual clients are two different challenges for the development team. So, how can you create successful apps for both small and big clients? Let's explore the designing process for both and talk about design tips to make your work easier.

Hands shaking
Recognizing your client will help with understanding their needs and lead to faster mutual agreement

Basic definitions - B2B and B2C

Starting with basics - what are the differences between B2B and B2C and what does it mean for the app’s design?

B2B, short for “Business to business”, means that the goods and services are provided by a company for another company. This implies that the app you’re developing will be an internal project for the receiver themself. 

B2C stands for “Business to customer” and implies that the receiver of the goods and services is not a company but an individual person. While their approach may be more agile and direct, the range of the project could also be smaller than a B2B project and their project deadline will also be shorter and stricter. 

Hands typing on notebook's keyboard
Customer-grade experience became an important concept, making both company's software more humane and consumer's apps more attractive

Customer-grade experience - what is it?

Customer-grade experience is a term that emerged several years ago and became connected to app design very quickly. So, what is customer-grade experience and why is it so important to take it into account?

In the realm of app design, a customer-grade experience denotes the user's holistic satisfaction and engagement throughout their interaction with the application. It encompasses every facet of the user journey, starting from the initial download and onboarding process to the overall usability and post-interaction support.

A customer-grade experience in app design emphasizes intuitive and user-friendly interfaces, seamless navigation, and an aesthetically pleasing design that aligns with the brand's identity. It is about understanding user expectations, anticipating their needs, and delivering a tailored experience that not only meets but exceeds those expectations.

Effective communication, responsiveness, and a focus on user feedback are crucial components, ensuring that the app remains aligned with evolving user preferences. A positive customer-grade experience in app design is instrumental in driving user retention, garnering positive reviews, and ultimately contributing to the app's success in a competitive digital landscape.

A pen plus a coding window plus watch plus headphones equals a trophy
Adjusting the requirements of the project is what helps you and your client reach a success!

Different objectives, different target audiences

The main difference between app design for companies and individual clients is the app's objective. A small client creates a specific app for a specific group - and they want the app to earn money for them. A big company doesn't particularly care for the app's income - it's mostly an app for their employees' use or offered as an addition to a product they're already selling. Let's consider automotive software - apps used in cars.. Since clients don't need these apps if they don't have a car, the company doesn't sell the app on its own - the profit comes from car selling and the app is another detail that attracts a potential customer to choose this specific brand.

An app for a small client must be comprehensive - it must have everything that the users expect from it, but also reach the expectations of the client. The user interface must be user-friendly and clean but also eye-pleasing. It should work on all smart devices and contain in-app notifications and in-app purchases. It should also have a  very clean user interface. Also, an app like this is a continually evolving project - in many cases, the release of an app means the release of an MVP, and new options and features are developed over time.

An app for a big company is very different from this. It will mostly be a closed project, especially in the case of the software that is developed for the company itself. The delivered product is a fully functioning app that is compatible with many other apps that are additionally used in this company. This app is created for frequent use and its product strategy is different, as it doesn't require marketing. It should be the best tool for the company to use.

Aspects of brand identity
Brand identity is a top priority for many companies and there are several aspects that includes it - it's important to remember about them while creating their software design!

Brand identity - design guidelines

Brand identity is another important subject in app design. Small clients mostly build their brand around their app, especially if this is their first product. Having a repetitive pattern is not required - they give app designers more creative freedom, with the goal of both UX design and UI design being engaging for their users.

For big companies it's the other way around - the app must maintain visual consistency with their brand identity. The logo, their signature colors, fonts, and other graphic elements are all significant - the visual weight of the project is much higher in these apps than in B2C app design. The app design is in this matter less creative, but therefore easier to create.

Person cutting out a printed picture
Adjusting the clients' needs to their budgets is like putting an image all together - could be challenging and is always different, depending on the picture!

The budget makes a difference

Budget constraints are another matter that should be taken into consideration while talking about the differences between small and big clients. The budget is also an indicator of how quickly the development process proceeds.

Small businesses have limited resources when it comes to building an application from scratch. Their budget is divided between many smaller components that they have to finance. Because of this, the development process goes slower and the addition of new features to the app can take longer than initially planned. Small businesses  are more likely to pay all the costs in advance, which could be a nuisance, but also a big advantage, as it secures a stable flow of income during the whole project.

Corporations are a very different kind of client. They have a designated budget to spend and have to do it in a certain amount of time. They're more likely to divide the costs into two big payments - at the beginning and the end of the project, but because of that, they expect high-quality results.

What differentiates the two budgets from each other is also the risk tolerance. Since big companies are financially stable, their risk tolerance is much higher and they can afford small mistakes or time delays. Individual clients have no capacity for that - everything must be ideal and on time since it can weigh the success of the whole project.

People sitting by the table in the conference room
Good and systematic communication is the key to ensure a smooth cooperation!

Communication - talk it through

The style of communication between small and big companies deserves a special paragraph in our article.

Let's start with individual businesses - since their administration is smaller, their number of contacts will also be lower.The client is overseeing the project personally, so the meetings will mostly be conducted with the project owner themselves and maybe two or three others, such as project managers and product owners. There's also a big probability that some part of the project will be outsourced to other developers, which could require additional contact.

Individual clients are also much more direct since their workplace does not require a strictly hierarchical structure. They are also more adaptive and agile because personal contact with the client helps with receiving quicker feedback and adjusting the details to their liking.

In big companies, the process of communication could be much more complicated and extensive. The formal hierarchical structure will invest multiple people in the decision-making process, as one person cannot decide a matter that they're not responsible for. There could be specialized communication roles, divided between multiple teams - for example, a design team, a marketing team, and a development team will be responsible for different parts of the project and their goals for this project will be different, so you would have to combine all of them and assure them about the quality of the project on the matter that is important to them.

The format of communication with big companies is also much more formal and strict and could require specific communication and project management tools, as their documentation must be clearer and stricter than in the case of a small-scale project.

A business card, a tie, a message icon and a triangle made of people
Every project has different deadlines and different goal to achieve - remember about that while designing the software for your client.

Flexibility and adaptability

Flexibility and adaptability are other matters that differentiate small businesses from big ones.

In terms of app design and development, small businesses are much more flexible. For individual clients, the app needs to be perfect in every way, so they can fight their way to the top with it. Their adaptive approach makes making changes in the app quicker and the personal contact ensures fast responses to any matter.

What tends to be more problematic for small clients is their flexibility regarding finances and time constraints. As mentioned before, a smaller budget and strict marketing frames make this issue much less debatable.

Big corporations are the exact opposite. They're much more strict in terms of app design and development - the brand guidelines and clear goals and features leave less place for impulsive improvement decisions. The response time from the company is also much slower because the responsibility is divided between many teams.

But in terms of finances and deadlines, the corporations will be much more understanding. Their financial stability and planning will allow for small mistakes to be made and the correction time is probably already considered while creating a project timeline.

A hand typing on the notebook vs. a person writing in the notebook
Different testing methods give different results, so the decision to use one or few of them could be crucial for the software

One testing, different results

A crucial part of app design is also the testing stage. This ultimately decides the shape of the app and gains valuable feedback from the users themselves. The way the feedback will be analyzed is different in small and large businesses, though.

For a small client, gaining feedback is the first stage of their app. It's crucial since it must be to the user's liking, so every change in the app should be made with the users in mind. Testing is  conducted through implementing user feedback, and useropinion therefore drives the business owner to make changes in the app. The changes after the testing stage will be more on a cosmetic side, however, since  small business owners cannot afford major changes on a late stage of app development.

But for big companies, it's not the user's opinion that is the most important factor. The key testing will be performed through data-driven analysis. They'll check the app possibilities for further development, the ability for data gathering, and cross-synchronization with other apps.

According to that, the changes that will be required after the testing stages will not necessarily be only small - they can involve major feature updates or redesigns that align with long-term strategic goals.

Person against the skyscraper vs. a group of people
No matter what your client is and what software they want - adjusting the criteria to the project can benefit both the software and your mutual cooperation!


Even with the tips presented in this article, we must remember that every client is different and has different goals and needs, so a pre-written scenario may not work for every business. Remember to gather the information at the beginning of your cooperation - this will make the decisions about the workflow much easier.

The differences in the way small and big companies work are crucial to understanding their goals and adjusting the design process according to them.

But no matter if you're a small client or a big corporation - in Memory2 we will find a perfectly tailored team just for you!

Memory Squared

Memory Squared - Design Driven Software House
Memory Squared - Design Driven Software House

At Memory Squared we connect humans and computers by creating digital products that meet real needs and inspire genuine emotions and interactions. We would love to share our story and experience with You.

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