Every third B2B buyer now orders via online marketplaces. What Amazon has long been established in B2C is also gaining momentum in B2B. Which sales opportunities exist and how can B2B manufacturers and retailers benefit from the platform economy?
B2B marketplaces are increasingly becoming a source of information and procurement for buyers. They often offer a wider selection of products, prices can be easily compared, and there are often additional digital self-services that simplify the purchasing process. The advantages for
on the buyer side are therefore obvious. But what about B2B sellers?
Are marketplaces the answer for B2B commerce disruption?
The shift towards platforms is accelerated, with 58% of e-commerce sales already taking place on marketplaces, further growing to >75%. (source)
As the ECC KÖLN found out in 2021, 46% of all business buyers regularly visit marketplaces to compare products; and as a result, 69% of wholesalers and manufacturers want to develop a B2B platform themselves.
To realize this while creating a seamless user journey across all touchpoints, it is essential to connect and manage all sales channels through a centralized system, fully integrated with the complete IT stack.
We have a video that will help you develop your very own marketplace strategy. Watch it right away!
What are the advantages of selling on marketplaces?
There are over 800.000 online stores in Europe (21,2% in Germany, 13,1% in the UK, and 10% in The Netherlands). The question is: how are customers going to find you among other shops offering similar products? On top of that, you lose shoppers to the big marketplaces. Bottom line: instead of competing with sales channels, use them to your advantage and beat the rest of the competition.
Most marketplaces operate globally, so when you place your products there, you automatically expand your client reach with minimal time and effort. Marketplaces can also improve your cross-border sales by freeing your hands from translating the entire website and marketing in multiple languages. By 2027, sales and retailers will have to translate their content into numerous "niche" languages to enter developing economies.
Marketplaces are an excellent source for establishing new partnerships and growing your business network. Sharing the same sales platform enables different businesses to find you, discuss future perspectives directly, and get hands dirty with a new partnership routine. Never overlook this vast opportunity to reach higher numbers and expand your expertise.
People buy more on marketplaces than single online stores
Why is this? The marketplace is convenient for comparing prices and product items from a single source. Besides, they offer higher transparency for product availability and stock levels in an open environment. Further, product reviews make a big deal in decision making and the actual purchasing process. Finally, marketplaces are ideal for reaching new target groups who came across your products for specific items or browsed the most popular listings.
What are the advantages of a marketplace- as a seller and customer?
Marketplaces offer B2B companies a simple and effective way to optimize purchasing processes, create transparency and standardize supplier relationships. Manufacturers have very good opportunities to optimally bring their own products and services into the focus of customers with outstanding content, digital service, and added value.
Another feature is lead generation and new customer acquisition, which can happen strategically on high-reach platforms and thus generate additional growth.
Benefits of marketplaces for B2B buyers
- The wide array of products from various vendors
- Available stock from multiple vendors
- Competitive prices
- Excellent level of service
- Fast delivery
- Quick customer service
- Easy checkout
Benefits of marketplaces for B2B sellers
- Fast time to market
- Existing customer base
- Access to international markets
- Access to major sales channels
Opportunity in crisis
Covid-19 has impacted marketplaces as well as all other aspects of our lives. No doubt, the e-commerce sector is gaining a speed putting the offline retail sellers in an extreme situation. According to research, since March 2020, Dutch retail business owners mostly report negative expectations of their financial future for the following three months.
Meanwhile, the weekly order trends of online retail during the Coronavirus pandemic in the UK, Germany, Italy and Spain demonstrated great volatility with huge spikes and falls from March 2020 onwards. Out of the four countries measured, Germany displayed the steadiest rates of online retail orders.
Intershop is working together with partners, such as ChannelEngine, to provide customers with excellent service and marketplace integration.