Most SugarCRM customers are businesses that use Sugar to manage their sales, marketing and support interactions with other businesses. This is commonly referred to as a B2B, or business-to-business, model. But Sugar can also be used in a B2C, or business-to-consumer, environment. This is where a business uses Sugar to interact not with other businesses but with consumers.
A typical example is an insurance agency that sells insurance claims to individual consumers. Sugar by default places the Accounts module front-and-center in key linkages to other modules, like Opportunities. For instance, an Account must first exist before you can create an Opportunity. This is in line with B2B requirements. Still, it is possible to configure Sugar to support a B2C model where the notion of Account is secondary.
Repurposing the Accounts Module
One way to tailor Sugar to support your B2C requirements is to use the Account module to actually represent an individual. Using the “Rename Modules” screen in Admin, you can alter the Accounts module, changing its name from “Accounts” to “Consumers”, for instance. Using the Studio tool, you can enter both a first and last name in the Account Name field (which you can also rename as “Consumer Name”). Or, you can add separate fields to store the last and first names. In either case the Accounts module is transformed into a “Consumers” module. Sometimes you may want to preserve the Accounts module but use it for different purposes. For example, you may sell to a group of individuals and wish to represent those individuals as a collective whole for further selling efforts. Back to the insurance agent example, such a group can be a family of individuals. The Accounts module would then represent the family (e.g., “Smith Family”) and each member of the Smith Family (Account) would be represented by Contacts, one Contact for each family member.
You can also choose to configure Sugar for a B2C configuration as covered in our Developer Blog. This requires a minor code change so access to the SugarCRM files is necessary.
Of course there is nothing to prevent you from using Module Builder and other development tools in Sugar to create altogether new modules designed specifically to support your B2C requirements. The thing to keep in mind here is to link those modules to existing Sugar modules as appropriate in order to take advantage of built-in Sugar functionality, such as Opportunities, Documents, and Quotes.