How to Choose the Best B2B Marketplace Platform
- 28 Sep 2021
There are a wide variety of marketplaces online, and many of them we can’t imagine living without. For instance, Etsy, eBay, and Overstock come to mind. Each of these offer a tremendous range of products with easy navigation and convenient shipping options. When you consider a B2B marketplace platform, some of the best include Quill, Grainger, and Medline.
Invariably, the Internet is filled with various marketplaces. Some are designed with a specific intent and target audience, while others are created to serve an industry such as Dice. If you take a look at a B2B marketplace platform such as Quill, you’ll find it shares many similar features as its B2C side, Staples. Therefore, it enhances user adoption since many office supply shoppers have certainly heard of Staples.
In this blog, we’ll share our interpretation of how to future-proof B2B marketplaces, what different types exist, and how to choose the right B2B marketplace platform for your organization. Keep reading to learn more.
Depending on which sector your business operates, the B2B sales process is often burdened with inefficiencies. Manual tasks such as writing out RFQs or entering data into multiple spreadsheets drive error and costs. On the other hand, the right B2B marketplace can automate multiple processes while mitigating error to streamline the experiences for both buyers and sellers.
Ponder the following points:
The B2B market comprises six times the sales revenue and size relative to C2C or B2C. Further, a B2B marketplace can collect tremendous transaction and commission fees.
You can start a marketplace even if you don’t have access to the physical inventory.
Your marketplace can address pain points as a business model.
Building trust establishes your market leadership position.
You can test demand for your products and services as needed.
B2B marketplaces are fast-growing channels that are transforming the traditional model of how business consumers buy products across every sector. It connects sellers with buyers on every facet from digital services to subscriptions to physical goods, and more.
In fact, Gartner has found that over 25% of global businesses use online marketplaces to purchase B2B products and services. Companies worldwide are fueling the momentum around B2B marketplaces. It makes purchasing convenient, and without limitations around physical location. In addition, organizations can use the right B2B marketplace platform to induce strategic partnerships with relevant businesses.
Undoubtedly, building a B2B marketplace requires investments in your time and resources. Yet, there is an ROI. Apart from having a channel to upsell and cross-sell your products, you can also make profits as listed below:
Charge a flat fee or percentage of each purchase made on your B2B marketplace platform. If a B2B seller has many transactions, they won’t mind paying a small commission for each sale.
You can charge your B2B sellers a specific fixed rate for listing each item on your marketplace.
Charge a membership fee for your end-users, which may include listing fees and commissions wrapped up in a straightforward monthly rate.
You can attract a wide-variety of high-paying advertisers to your B2B marketplace based on your offerings and traffic.
A B2B marketplace is one large platform that connects a variety of B2B sellers with features such as checkout, approvals, payment, invoicing, shipping, and more. Some popular examples of product-focused B2B marketplaces, include:
It seems everything is migrating to the cloud. Thus, there is a demand for a single marketplace offering multiple cloud-based solutions. These types of SaaS marketplaces, include:
Another illustration is the IaaS marketplace that addresses infrastructure, operations, and IT, with examples, including:
Freelancing is on the rise, and there are several marketplaces that focus on the Freelancing sector. Businesses can peruse these sites to find the perfect contractor for their needs, including:
Does a particular industry lack a B2B marketplace? Well, it depends on their procurement processes. If automation is lacking, perhaps the answer is “yes.” Still, some businesses find traditional methods of procurement work best for them.
So, even if a process seems inefficient on the surface, there may be a significant reason why it’s still in use. Instead, focus on a single pain point such as siloed data and use a B2B eCommerce marketplace platform as an avenue for centralizing information.
Are there any risks associated with launching a B2B marketplace platform? Unquestionably, there are risks involved with any venture you take. For instance, if you are responsible for product specifications, then you are on the hook if you publish incomplete or inaccurate data. In addition, customers may reach out to you to address issues with products and services. Therefore, it’s critical to choose a B2B marketplace platform that offers direct communication features with customers and can integrate your sellers’ warehouse, ERP, and fulfillment system data accurately.
If your marketplace services a global audience, then it’s also crucial to understand various tax laws, restrictions on certain types of products, data privacy, and more. Picking the right B2B marketplace platform means choosing one that can resolve all of these pertinent issues adequately.
Unfortunately, some businesses think producing an MVP is the start of the testing process. It is not. You want to create, revise, redesign, test, and then revise the product as much as possible before you make it available to beta testers. Also, your product should be well-designed so that end users can gauge the value. If it doesn’t already provide some value, it will drive your test group away. Keep in mind, they will also share their experiences with their circle of friends, colleagues, and family members.
When you are ready to select the right B2B marketplace platform for your organization, think about what features will best meet your target audience’s expectations. Compare other popular B2B marketplace platforms to see their similar features and their differences.
Typically, your B2B marketplace platform should make it easy for your sellers to list their products and provide a great customer experience. Your sellers will want to sell as much as they can while increasing customer lifetime value and customers’ average order value. Other features to look for, include:
Customizable pricing and pricing negotiation
Payment, invoicing, and shipping options
Pre-payment and delayed payments
Self-service portal for consumers
Personalized product catalogs and ordering
Admin and seller-friendly tools
Product information and certifications
Integrations with CRM, ERP, WHM, procurement systems, and more.
Aside from the feature list, the ease of setting up, hosting and backup, finding developers, security compliance, and the ease of onboarding vendors are also things to consider. Perhaps most importantly, think ahead of what your marketplace will be like in the future and look for a platform that allows you to extend and grow your marketplace in different ways.
Well, vital features include ease of development, cyber security, convenient vendor onboarding, available hosting and backup, and user-friendly set up among others. Nonetheless, the most crucial component is whether your B2B marketplace platform is agile to meet your needs in the future. Of course, cost is a critical variable that should be considered concerning more vendors, more customizations, more add-ons, and more integrations.
Your B2B marketplace platform should offer a channel that vendors find appealing and want to list their products and services on your site. Once you have chosen your platform, aligned with your target audience, create an MVP to garner feedback. Further, continue to update your B2B marketplace platform with features that meet the unique needs of your customers.