Birth of digital media and the entry of ecommerce have transformed the entire business landscape. Having completely influenced the way people purchase goods, the ecommerce’s market capital is currently worth $22.1 trillion (according to the latest UNCTAD estimates) and the online sales are continuing to grow at a whooping rate of around 10% a year.
Among the ecommerce models (B2C, B2B, C2B, C2C), B2B ecommerce is growing at a phenomenal rate and it is expected to veil the conventional B2C ecommerce very soon. By 2020, global annual revenue of B2B ecommerce would reach $7 trillion mark!
Understanding the B2B marketplace landscape:
The major reason behind this B2B ecommerce boom is that the online media has given the businesses leniency to interact without the need of middlemen. A B2B marketplace lets multiple buyers and sellers to exchange goods and services dynamically with reduced costs and streamlining their supply chains.
A B2B marketplace selling includes variety of things such as,
2—Distribution relationships with large or chain retailers.
3—Selling to organizations (corporates, SMEs, schools, non-profit organizations and more).
4—Suppliers selling to resellers.
When it comes to starting an ecommerce marketplace, a well-defined and equally evolving strategy is crucial. The initial phase involves attracting key players to the marketplace. Therefore, the primary focus will be on the rapid growth of membership and transactions necessary to achieve a particular mass that is needed for the marketplace to sustain.
Before looking into the best strategies for building an ecommerce marketplace, you should consider the following questions.
-What type of businesses are in the marketplace? (Audience)
-What are the offerings provided by the marketplace to these businesses? (Features)
-How does the e-commerce marketplace owner capture profits, and from whom? (Revenue Channel)
-How are the prices determined for the items that are bought or sold? (Pricing model)
-What are the types of restrictions for accessing the ecommerce marketplace? (Access)
-Who are the admins and moderators and what is their control over rules and regulations of the marketplace? (Control)
Having thought about the following goals, here are some best practices and suggestions that can help you establish a successful B2B ecommerce marketplace.
Defining core values and understanding the B2B e-marketplace players.
A successful B2B ecommerce marketplace is expected to provide unique and compelling offerings that will differentiate it from its potential competitors. Hence, addressing these five important constituencies that determine the value net of a B2B marketplace is very crucial.
Sellers and buyers are the primary players in a marketplace. But, with the current level of offerings that other B2B marketplaces provide, other factors should also be equally considered.
Transaction influencers can be the point of trust who can help in increasing the liquidity in the ecommerce marketplace by inducing transactions between the buyers and sellers. In B2B markets, they often reside within the buyers and sellers. Identifying these influencers and providing a space for their participation is an important aspect of a B2B ecommerce marketplace strategy.
Providing value-added services as per the needs of Buyers and Sellers.
With a variety of options to trade from, the B2B consumers are in continuous research of online destinations that ease their purchase journey. According to a survey by Forrester, 33% of the research is conducted in online consumer marketplaces, 26% from the search engines and 17% from the business marketplaces.
Value added services like provisioning product related information, order tracking, logistics, insurance and easy financing options like EMIs can help to ease the transactions within the buyers and sellers.
Easy account registration and extensive integration.
Business buyers expect their ecommerce experience to be Omni-channelled and as easy as shopping anywhere online. Streamlined mobile and web applications, integration with social media channels and effective on-site search are preferred by 72% of the B2B buyers, reports a survey from Forrester.
A true B2B ecommerce marketplace experience should allow visitors to instantly access the pricing tiers and product details with or without easy signup options.
Providing multiple product catalogues and pricing transparency.
Transparency in pricing and product details is the most important factor for businesses to retain and repeat purchases. Providing them a variety of options is even more important than lower prices.
Hence, your B2B ecommerce platform should have the ability to automatically generate volume based discounts, fixed prices, minimum and maximum purchase and quantity increments.
Varied purchase options.
According to CloudCraze’s report, 52% of the B2B buyers and sellers said that a convenient payment process is their foremost concern. B2B customers often prefer instant and direct payments offered by payment cards and top Payment services like PayPal.
One of the largest ecommerce agency (trellis) quotes that 50% of the buyers prefer online payment cards, 19% prefer payment services like PayPal and 28% of them opting for transactions through traditional purchase orders.
Mobile accessibility and customizable storefront.
The next main concern after a convenient payment process, as said by CloudCraze’s survey is the mobile access to the seller’s commerce platform. Econsultancy (a UK based news magazine covering business use of interactive media) reports that Mobile traffic grew to 58% of the total online B2B traffic with an increase of 42% over the span of 5 years.
B2B transactions completed via mobile devices grew 63% year over year and exceeds 45% of the total online sales.
Minimal maintenance and upgrades.
When Magento informed that their first version would no longer be supported, many budding ecommerce marketplaces paused their operations in order to upgrade to its newest version. This time sensitive change brought huge losses to the B2B marketplaces, where the customer’s retention rate was very crucial.
Hence, in this age that focusses on platforms with simple and agile environments, you need not spend your precious time in upgrading or worrying about downtime.
We hope that the above information will be helpful while you are framing a business strategy for your B2B ecommerce marketplace. With your business needs and target consumers in mind, you can either opt for turnkey B2B marketplace script for faster and easier deployment, or start everything from the scratch if you have well-built ideas and resources.
Opportunities are enormous in this $7 trillion industry and taking these strategies into consideration while designing your marketplace can get you ahead of your fellow competitors.
Key takeaways from other well-established marketplace models.
One of the most popular ecommerce marketplaces focussing on B2B sales is DHgate. With an aim of connecting small and medium sized businesses within China to the rest of the world, it currently has around 25 million listings with 900,000 suppliers, having buyers from over 230 countries. There is no membership fee when a buyer or a seller registers and they are charged only when a transaction happens. It offers high quality products that is unique to the marketplace and cannot be found anywhere else.
Another popular B2B marketplace is eWorldTrade, which is fairly new to the industry and has gained a good reputation quickly. It is the only B2B marketplace offering 10 leads at free of cost when you signup. It has its operational units all around the world. Many small and medium scale businesses that failed to make an impact within their markets have benefited from eWorldTrade. Due to its path-breaking business model, lowest wholesale rates and fast delivery worldwide can be easily expected from eWorldTrade.
Guest article written by: Jessica Bruce. I am a professional blogger, guest writer, Influencer & an eCommerce expert. Currently associated with ShopyGen as a content marketing strategist. I also report on the latest happenings and trends associated with the eCommerce industry. Follow me on Twitter @Jessicabruc, Google Plus, Quora.