A B2B Marketplace is a great way for organizations to network with other companies and consolidates their communication and business practices. With digital platforms and tools that support eCommerce functions, a B2B marketplace processes orders and transactions entirely online, creating a simplified and streamlined transaction process.
At the most basic level, a B2B Marketplace is a digital platform that enables companies to connect with other organizations and conduct business all in one place. Like a traditional B2C platform, B2B Marketplaces are where companies buy and sell products, usually in bulk. However, the main difference is that the buyers and sellers in a B2B Marketplace are brands, manufacturers, suppliers, wholesalers, and other businesses, whereas, in a B2C platform, individual consumers are the main buyers.
What are the main features of a B2B Marketplace?
There are many features and functions to a B2B Marketplace. But, the most successful B2B platforms all have one thing in common — they understand the competitive advantage they provide and lean on their digital tools to maintain it. While the world of business can vary greatly, most of the best functions of B2B Marketplaces are similar across platforms. At the base is the desire to create an enjoyable experience built on ease-of-use and strategic advantages.
6 key functions you should keep in mind when looking into B2B Marketplaces:
Multi-vendor capabilities — a key function of a good B2B Marketplace is that it allows organizations to control their page and information. Organizations should have access to manage their profile, content information, contact details, pricing pages, and role management.
Self-service functions — it’s often the case that individuals prefer to place orders themselves rather than deal with customer service representatives. Therefore, a solid B2B Marketplace has features that enable this self-service model if companies choose to do so. B2B Marketplaces need to be highly responsive and intuitive to create an enjoyable experience. For example, when buyers seek out solutions for their business, they often have to ask for quotes, submit orders, or track shipments – the B2B Marketplace you choose should support these functions.
Security functions — just like with any digital platform, data and information security and confidentiality are essential for organizations to feel secure and comfortable using the platform. Ensure that the B2B Marketplace you use places emphasis on protecting your private information so that you don’t need to worry about data breaches.
Search navigation — a key aspect to a B2B Marketplace is the ability to filter and search for specific vendors and businesses. The right marketplace for you has easy-to-use search functions that enable you to filter sellers by brand, price range, and product availability quickly.
Flexible workflows — flexibility needs to be a cornerstone of your B2B Marketplace. We’ve all seen how quickly markets and industries can change, and your eCommerce functions need to be able to adapt alongside them. Buyers and sellers need to be able to rely on a flexible and customizable platform that allows them to personalize onboarding strategies, change order submission and processing practices, and replenish supplies when necessary,
Integration options — the best technologies can work alongside your existing tools. Make sure that you find a B2B Marketplace with tools and functions that collaborate with the other software solutions your organization uses. This leads to a more streamlined process and a better experience for both buyers and sellers.
What are the disadvantages of using a B2B Marketplace?
While there are undoubtedly more benefits to joining a B2B Marketplace than disadvantages, supply chain professionals would benefit from understanding some of the common challenges businesses face when first joining an eCommerce network. Below are four common troubles that you can expect when you conduct business on a B2B Marketplace:
Complex set-up — when first getting started on a B2B network, it can be difficult to understand how to find and retain customers. Often, it takes thorough research and exhaustive work to understand how to appeal to customers on the Marketplace, and getting to the point where orders are consistent enough and large-scale enough to support your business functions can take some time.
Most solutions are expensive — in most cases, organizations will face an expensive and time-consuming process when it comes to gaining new leads on their marketplace. This means that many manufacturers have to factor in high costs for marketing budgets in addition to the cost of joining the network.
High level of competition — B2B Marketplaces are highly competitive landscapes by nature. With hundreds if not thousands of buyers and sellers all in one place, the competition for reliable sales can be tough. On any given day, there are numerous businesses offering similar solutions as your own, so finding a way to be unique and stand out to buyers is crucial.
Limited sales — B2B businesses can have very high levels of sales, but by their nature, the available pool of consumers is restricted. When you take individual consumers out of the equation, it reduces the number of potential buyers you can advertise your products and services to. What’s more, is that with high competition for B2B sales, negotiations and contracts can put a restriction on your profit margin, especially when you lose buyers to other competitors.
What are the advantages of using a B2B Marketplace?
A B2B Marketplace can be an amazing resource for organizations looking to transform their business processes. With the support of a digital network, companies can streamline their business functions and interact with like-minded organizations to quickly grow their businesses.
Without the higher marketing costs, you can focus your efforts on securing large orders and growing your bottom line. Some common advantages that supply chain professionals enjoy from utilizing a B2B Marketplace include:
Ease-of-use — B2B Marketplaces make it easier than ever for organizations to connect with other companies and conduct business. With a fully digital platform, eCommerce makes it easy for businesses to advertise their products and services and secure bulk orders. And, with digitalization being a priority for most organizations, implementing software that supports virtual and secure business transactions will help you get ahead of the curve.
Higher profits— typically, B2B businesses sell their products at a wholesale price, incentivizing bulk orders. These larger order quantities mean that businesses can secure higher levels of cash more quickly. Additionally, with many buyers and sellers on the same B2B network, organizations can often cut spending on marketing costs since it is easier to connect with and advertise your product to other companies.
Better sense of security — many orders through B2B Marketplaces are conducted through contracts. This grants a sense of security to both buyers and sellers since both parties are much more inclined to follow through on their promises. What’s more, many B2B networks are fully digital, meaning that there is a digital trail for each order that you can track and monitor along the way. This gives you a transparent view of the entire process, from order placement to invoice processing.
Greater market potential — B2B Marketplaces allow companies to quickly and easily target a large number of buyers and sellers across a variety of industries. And, with the flexibility that comes with most B2B networks, businesses can showcase their expertise and leadership within their given field. Instead of researching and searching for new potential customers, the B2B Marketplace connects you instantly.
How Tradeshift comes in:
Tradeshift isn’t just a SaaS, B2B Marketplace, or Finetech solution; we’re all of those wrapped up into one comprehensive solution that is built to support your organization where it needs it most. Our B2B Marketplace focuses on offering you the digital tools and support you need to take your business to the next level.
Through our platform, we strive to make digital the default for all aspects of your business: from ordering, to invoices, from communications to other transactions that take place between you and your sellers.
Tradeshift covers over 160 countries, giving us the largest global reach of any B2B Marketplace. Giving you access to collaborative tools, expanded connections, and insightful analytics, our network is the one solution you need to connect with hundreds of buyers and sellers. Not only do suppliers gain instant access to potential new buyers on our network, but our seamless, digital interactions showcase clear value for both parties.
We put your relationships first — at Tradeshift, we’ve created a platform that enables you to communicate with potential sellers, create global connections, and still maintain personal contact. Our platform consolidates communications onto the network so that you can conduct real-time interactions and follow orders every step of the way.
Sophisticated but easy to use — we believe that your B2B Marketplace experience should be enjoyable. What’s the point of investing in a solution that is too complex to understand? Our network gives you control over all the important aspects of your experience: what you sell, who you sell it to, and at what price.
Our platform is secure and trusted — our network is filled with thousands of verified users. And, thanks to our extensive network of partnerships, all our transactions are secure and trusted by millions of global companies.
Our tools integrate seamlessly — supply chain digitization is our focus at Tradeshift. Our digital tools all work together to help you create a comprehensive, resilient, digital supply chain.
At Tradeshift, we realize that shift happens. With turbulent markets and quickly changing industries, organizations need the reliability of a strong, secure platform that can adapt alongside their needs. As software built for adaptability, Tradeshift is the reliable partner that you can count on throughout periods of disruption.
Tradeshift is a market leader in e-invoicing and accounts payable automation and an innovator in supplier financing and B2B marketplaces. Its cloud-based platform helps buyers and suppliers digitize invoice processing, automate accounts payable workflows and scale without limit. Headquartered in San Francisco, Tradeshift’s vision is to connect every company in the world, creating economic opportunity for all. Today, the Tradeshift platform is home to the world’s fastest-growing network of buyers and sellers operating in more than 190 countries.
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