Are you a business wanting to sell to other businesses, i.e. find new revenue streams between two business entities? There is a new and improved way of doing so – by joining a B2B marketplace.
Both the B2B and B2C marketplace are sectors that try to constantly garner new customers. They both offer considerable value to the world of e-commerce.
Today we will focus on B2B e-commerce.
Did you know?
B2B e-commerce sales are expected to reach $1.8 trillion by 2023. This is two-thirds larger than B2C markets.
''According to Statista, e-commerce will account for more than $6 US billion dollars in sales by 2024, up from $4.2 billion last year.''
According to McKinsey, ''Only about 20 percent of B2B buyers say they hope to return to in-person sales.''
What does this tell us?
There is a global vendor market that is based on, and has a focus on, technology. All the marketplaces that are to be mentioned below, base their sales on being part of a digital global marketplace.
The B2B marketplace caters to small businesses, medium-sized businesses and large businesses as well. The particular industry that these businesses find themselves in is not necessarily of importance here. The more pressing point is that they want to deliver businesses with their service. Emphasis on their service.
Online e-commerce is a buyer-driven market. As a business, you want to drive as many of those purchases toward your business. On a B2B marketplace, this means you want to drive as many businesses to your business.
It is an industry that is ever-growing and that businesses enjoy using.
The tides of B2B sales are turning
The days of a pharmaceutical sales rep going from business to business to make sales is slowly over. This used to be part of a typical B2B sales journey, having an in-person rep formed a big part of their marketing strategy. It was like having their own trade consulting person. He/She came in every month, told your business about the new products on offer, and gave recommendations.
Now it's all more digital. Digital marketing with a digital marketing manager.
The ability to have international and local clients
We now live in a global market where, for example, small Chinese suppliers can be part of international trade by selling through digital marketplaces.
They can become reliable suppliers to a variety of other businesses. Whether they sell to a small business that has foreign buyers, or cater to customers worldwide as one of the million small Chinese vendors that exist, regardless of size and geography, marketplaces make their sales a reality.
This does not exclude local clients, though. As we just said, geography is not the biggest factor here, so accommodating clients who are local is just as good.
What is a B2B marketplace?
It's an online marketplace
This is the spot that unlimited amounts of businesses come together on a chosen digital platform and partake in global commerce. They choose a marketplace operator, such as Amazon business or Alibaba, for example.
There are many B2B marketplaces out there, we will get into a few examples later on.
Unlike traditional B2B eCommerce, the B2B marketplace integrates many different sellers and customers into one common platform. If you've never heard of B2B marketplaces, you should only search eBay or Amazon. They operate websites which were so successful they became household names.
What are the main features of a B2B Marketplace?
B2B markets have many benefits. Most successful B2B platforms have a common characteristic: they appreciate the advantages that they offer and rely heavily on their digital technology to maintain that advantage. Although the world of business is highly varied, the B2B marketplace offers many similar functionalities to different platforms. A key component is the desire to have enjoyable experiences with easy to understand and strategically beneficial features.
Let us take a look at a few of the benefits of B2B marketplaces:
- A B2B marketplace allows businesses who are buyers to compare prices. The B2B marketplace itself has a price comparison search engine. Similar to when you try to buy a flight, and you click on the filter that specifies 'sort from lowest to highest' – this is an example of this.
- There is one big focal point: Focus technology. Technology in the B2B industry and on B2B marketplaces is a crucial part of their success. This advanced technology enables global trading. We harp on about global trading, but successful B2B marketplaces can also be national. For example, TakeAlot is a purely South African e-commerce company that serves as a B2B marketplace for that country and caters to new sellers and new buyers within that region.
- The B2B marketplace gives rise to small and medium importers as well. It is common that with B2B, larger companies tend to do better, as they have a wider reach and more budget. With the development of the B2B marketplace, platforms like Amazon or Alibaba have arrived and given way to smaller businesses having a chance too.
- B2B marketplaces allow wholesale trade to thrive. With the bevvy of businesses that are on these B2B marketplaces, ranging from ones in American countries, to Australian countries to Asian countries – the geography as we said before is relatively insignificant. Whether you have ordered something from mainland China or off a Korean e-commerce website, if you're willing to pay the shipping from a delivery service partner of theirs, you're golden.
- Payments between business to business can be easily completed through online payments. Whether you are paying the wholesale price or the full price, there is still an element of cost savings by using a B2B marketplace to make payments as they all work online, and you do not need to pay someone in-house to complete old invoice payments.
- There is a faster negotiation process as all the businesses have their services and products online, and you can easily sort and compare prices. You have a stronger purchasing power, as it has never been this easy to compare prices from different global sources as now. Through this worldwide network, you are able to pick your favorite pre-selected suppliers and also purchase through them. This will give you the opportunity to ask for some exclusive discounts, as your purchasing history will also be clear to see on the platform.
- Inventory management is all online. If you are the buyer, then you will be able to view all the bought items online on the platform. If you are a seller, it is much the same, you will be able to store your inventory management information easily.
10 examples of global B2B marketplaces
We've selected some of the best online B2B websites for growing businesses worldwide.
These are some of the fastest growing online marketplaces.
Welcome to the B2B global vendor market
1 Amazon Business
Amazon business is an American multinational technology company that focuses on e-commerce operations. It gives businesses access to a massive amount of other businesses, both locally and globally. The purpose and benefits of Amazon business are that it increases transparency between multiple sellers. This allows B2B buyers with a clever buyer incentive program, as they have a greater selection of products and the benefit of dynamic pricing.
Alibaba is a Chinese multinational technology company that specializes in e-commerce. It serves millions of buyers and suppliers worldwide. Alibaba is said to be the greatest rival of Amazon business, as Alibaba is able to provide cheaper and more profitable items. They had a strong hold on Chinese trade when they started, but are now considered a runner-up for the largest and most profitable B2B marketplace.
3 Global Sources
Global Sources is a Hong-Kong based B2B multichannel media company that serves B2B suppliers and B2B buyers and has been doing so since 1971. It largely facilitates global trade between Greater China and the rest of the world. As there are many Chinese manufacturers who benefit from this, Global Sources connects Chinese exporters and the rest of the Asian market.
4 DH Gate
DH Gate is a Chinese B2B marketplace that empowers commercial operations across many sectors, including the electronic sector, apparel sector and many more. Their headquarters are based in Beijing, with offices around the world.
eBay is an American multinational marketplace. They facilitate sales across multiple countries worldwide and are known as one of the old giants of the B2B and B2C marketplaces.
6 Rakuten Marketplace
Rakuten is said to be in first place with Japan's marketplaces. They are often dubbed the 'Amazon of Japan' and are market leaders there. They offer a more customizable experience for their sellers, who are able to showcase their products uniquely and add more information than is usual on a marketplace platform.
Based in, as you guessed it, India, this marketplace began in 1996 and has been growing ever since. It is India's largest B2b marketplace platform and facilitates 60% of India's B2B market share on their platform alone. Its main aims are to increase the visibility of the sellers on their platform and increase credibility too.
8 Fashion United
This is a B2B marketplace that was founded in 1999 in the equally fashionable city of Amsterdam, Netherlands. They connect thousands of brands with other brands to create a synergy of fashion across the world.
This is a B2B marketplace that boasts every kind of product. It is highly organized, easy to navigate and enjoyable to use. It operates in 26 languages and has managed to incorporate products in a way that makes searching for them very easy.
10 See Biz
The connector of industries. See Biz is a marketplace that links various businesses from different sectors. It is both an online sales portal and networking platform. The aim of See Biz is to facilitate connection between manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers and retailers. Here, you are able to shop by category per brand, which makes finding the product you're after much easier.
It is clear that B2B marketplaces are a great place for businesses to connect with each other. Whether that is to create more visibility for themselves, aim to garner more sales or to network with other businesses.
B2B marketplaces are online portals that support global networking and global sales. They are part of the value chain that is international trade. They're an interesting and ever developing sales portal that is truly on the rise. With B2B sales being in the billions of dollars every year, B2B marketplaces are certainly a lucrative portal to be on.
We find them highly interesting, we hope you have too!
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Natalie MillerMarketing Manager
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