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The idea of pooling efforts to increase profitability, reduce waste, and improve quality and efficiency is not precisely new.

Nations and peoples have learned that joining efforts for a common cause is always the best way to improve and move forward. No matter when you read this, it doesn't matter who you are or where you are reading this from. One thing can be held as a potentially ‘absolute true’ about mankind: Cooperation is always a good thing.

And our current e-commerce scenario is no exception. With the rise of marketplace technologies, and obviously, in our post-pandemic ultra-competitive e-commerce global market, cooperative commerce could be the answer many have been searching for.

A way to create a win-win situation. But, what exactly is cooperative commerce? Let’s find out!

Download now: Intershop Digital Trends Report 2024

What is cooperative commerce?

Why does cooperative commerce need to be done using marketplace technology?

The main benefits of pursuing a cooperative commerce model


What is cooperative commerce?

From a technical point of view, we could say that cooperative commerce is any form of multi-brand shared market system/platform. This goes from the traditional multi-brand marketplace to the more refined and efficient solutions like the brand-owned e-commerce platforms that double as ‘marketplaces’ providing a place for allied brands and products to be sold alongside the main brand product or service.

In short, a standard cooperative commerce strategy consists of two or more partners aligning their resources to achieve better sales in their digital channels, a greater online presence, improved efficiency in digital media, and maximized ROI.

Still, this definition falls short in light of the recent developments regarding marketplace technology implementation for B2B and B2C e-commerce.

Why? The marketplace functionalities that you can add to any competitive e-commerce platform today surpass whatever was possible to do before the pandemic milestone by a long shot.


Why does cooperative commerce need to be done using marketplace technology?

This cooperative commerce approach – based on the use of marketplace technology – allows B2B brands to create a powerful platform that can boost and deploy advanced sales technology, increase hybrid sales teams and capabilities, deliver hyper-personalization, tailor strategies on third-party marketplaces, and achieve e-commerce excellence across the full marketing and sales funnel.

Transforming your B2B e-commerce site into a cooperative marketplace is a smart decision. It will concentrate brands related to your product and services in the same location – making it more appealing to the general public – and also will allow you to capitalize on your industry knowledge and expertise.

By fusing the marketplace technology and capabilities – which, by the way, are the key reason behind Amazon’s success – with a branded and self-owned e-commerce platform, B2B organizations can profit from the powerful effect of pooling resources alongside allied brands, products, and services, while at the same time providing a more efficient and better experience for their customers.

But what exactly are the prime characteristics or benefits you should be aiming for when we talk about creating a cooperative commerce platform using marketplace technology?


The main benefits of pursuing a cooperative commerce model

To be honest, the list is pretty hefty. But to narrow it down into the main and possibly the most sought-after bits, we could pinpoint the following benefits of using a cooperative commerce marketplace approach:

  • The use of AI-driven algorithms to filter and provide a wide range of products and related services from multiple brands to potential customers.

    This is massive. Mainly because you can’t create a multi-brand site without dramatically increasing the number of items – products and services – it provides. And henceforth, a large stock of items can indeed block and turn the customer journey into a cumbersome experience. But the use of AI-driven product discovery solutions can fix this, and turn a weakness into a massive strength.

    Also, this is another powerful implementation of AI-driven solutions for e-commerce. In fact, one could argue that 2024 will be the year of AI implementations not only in the e-commerce realm but across all aspects of human activity. And now that we are talking about 2024, and what to expect from it, it would be a nice start of the year for any business or brand wishing to be relevant, to take a look at Intershop’s B2B e-commerce trends for 2024!

  • A self-balancing market that you can control. By offering a multi-brand experience to your customers, you can even play the card of allowing some of your competitors to enter this cooperative marketplace.

    This can be indeed beneficial for both parties. When properly done, you can define your consumer base, solidify your customer loyalty, and even exchange customers with your competition. Create a scenario in which both your competitors and your brand can find the right kind of customer they are searching for.

  • Breaking into new markets is perhaps the third main reason to follow this cooperative commerce approach based on marketplace technology. If you ally yourself with well-established brands from a market you want to break into, you have half of the marketing job already done for you.

    For example, an alliance between your B2B brand and a popular retailer in Rumania, will help a lot to create confidence between the public – already used to this retailer – and your services/products. It also provides the benefit of pooling together promotional resources, because the local brand will surely know better how, when, and where to promote its business and products to hit the closest to the heart – or pocket – of the people in that particular region or nation. Thus, by following their steps and having them promote the marketplace in their local ads, you are creating a considerable marketing advantage.

These are only the three main avenues of thought that showcase the power behind a cooperative commerce approach, based on marketplace technology.

In fact, the future seems to be cooperative, so much so, that the B2B Future Shopper Report 2023 by Wunderman Thompson suggests that one of the biggest trends in e-commerce over the last few years has been the rise in marketplaces. They currently account for 11% of online B2B spending globally.

And, again, the idea is not a new thing, in fact, as a real-life example, Glovo and Gorillas teamed with many national grocery brands, or international fast food chains such as McDonald’s to offer food deliveries. This kind of cooperative commerce was done primarily using the Glovo and Gorillas apps, which are – in essence – marketplaces.

Obviously, if you successfully implement this cooperative commerce model – based on marketplace tech – the last step is to open up your already polished marketplace to all products, services, and brands.

This, of course, requires a solid e-commerce solution, capable of providing the core capabilities and growth potential to be customized in whatever way might be needed. And that is a challenging feat.

Meanwhile, maybe 2024 could be the year for your brand or business to begin walking down this road, to experiment with cooperative commerce solutions, and, of course, to put the lessons learned from the marketplace sites to good use. Who knows? Maybe your brand could be the next Amazon or Alibaba, at least from a technical point of view, nowadays, the potential to do so is surely there.

Download now: Intershop Digital Trends Report 2024