Alexandr Orlenko | October 13th, 2023
We know a lot about business-to-consumer (B2C) marketplaces because we use them a lot in our daily lives to buy new clothes, appliances, food, or services. In general, it is an online or offline place with many sellers where you as a buyer can find something with the look, quality, and price you want. And a marketplace owner provides that place to:
Today I will talk about business-to-business (B2B) marketplaces, they look the same and I strongly believe that all of the above apply here as well. But they are undoubtedly different in detail. Let’s look at them together.
The main differences from my point of view are:
I would say anyone who can cover three of the most important things:
I would like to share some ideas that seem simple and must make money for you and be interesting
for your network:
From my point of view, the most important criterion is the ability to grow your business without duplicating efforts. I mean, onboarding new sellers and buyers should become easier or even free after an initial huge effort to run this business. I prefer to see a unified place to manage your account, where you can combine all common things in one place and distribute other local things to your branches.
I like to see if the platform provides enough flexibility for partners and customers to modify processes according to their own needs or build new ones. This is very important to me because I know that it is impossible to satisfy everyone and cover all cases. It is even bad for the platform itself, because a lot of effort should be spent to understand these needs and build them in a unified way to make it reusable for other customers. It may just be a waste of time that could be used to develop essential features and bring the platform to the forefront of the industry.
I am used to differentiating marketplaces in two dimensions: visibility/availability and organizational model.
The first says about the accessibility to connect a marketplace from other companies:
The next dimension is your organizational model:
The choice of model depends on internal processes and it is up to you to choose the one that is more appropriate for you.
In the beginning, we have a buyer owner with two connected sellers who want to set up their own eProcurement processes in Europe. All offers from these sellers come into the owner to manage all data in one place and define rules by eProcurement professionals to distribute products and services between groups of employees.
Our buyer appears in North America and now needs to segregate management between different offices to simplify document processing, but keep a single point for oversight and reporting as the company grows, new vendors from different countries join, and each country has specific taxes, regulatory rules, and compliance.
This new market in North America is represented by our marketplace, which is also connected to sellers from Europe. All sellers are connected to the marketplace master because some sellers are ready to deliver abroad. We need to see all these opportunities to manage the catalog and distribute it in the right way! And we need to have branches again for document processing.
Our buyer connects to this marketplace and needs to connect all the branches to the appropriate branches of the marketplace.
The marketplace continues to grow and appears in other regions. New buyers and sellers connect to the marketplace. Our buyer is able to purchase goods and services from other regions for now, and can follow the marketplace and grow his business in those regions as well.
B2B marketplaces have emerged as a game-changer in the world of business transactions. They offer a wide range of benefits, from streamlining procurement to expanding market reach and improving transparency. However, businesses looking to embrace these marketplaces must consider the challenges and complexities involved in implementing them effectively. As B2B marketplaces continue to evolve and grow, they are poised to play a pivotal role in shaping the future of B2B commerce. Companies that embrace this digital transformation are likely to find themselves at a competitive advantage in the ever-evolving landscape of business transactions.
Be smart and take care!
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