You're not alone. More and more business owners and entrepreneurs are adopting this technology to grow their bottom lines.
B2B marketplaces offer an opportunity to reach new customers and build B2B sales leads (see what is B2B sales) with minimal effort.
We'll show you how these marketplaces work, the different types and services available, and how you can transform your business with one.
Business to Business B2B Wholesale Marketplaces
Business to business wholesale marketplaces are growing at an exponential rate and opening new channels of opportunity for small-to-midsize businesses. These online tools are changing the way B2B deals are made and what is B2B.
They are responsible for the rapid rate of growth seen in many industries. Here are some interesting data points:
- Marketplaces account for 50% of global online sales
- Only 6% of B2B buyers don’t currently use B2B marketplaces
- 75% of B2B procurement spending is projected to happen online in the next five years
B2B Marketplace Meaning
A wholesale marketplace is a B2B ecommerce platform that connects wholesale suppliers to wholesale buyers. Sometimes called a B2B eCommerce marketplace, they enable sellers to reach more customers than they could otherwise and make the sales process easier.
Most marketplaces also allow sellers to market, sell, invoice, and fulfill orders using a single platform. BlueCart is one such platform that helps food wholesalers acquire new customers and grow their businesses. It's even the best eCommerce platform for SEO for food suppliers.
The Basic Types of B2B eMarketplaces and Services
There are three basic types of eMarketplaces that each have their own services and structure.
The three types are:
- Supplier-oriented marketplace. This model is also called e-distribution and is noted for having many buyers and few suppliers. It can be run by a single business or a group and is owned by the supplier. It is good for building goodwill and loyal customers. Cisco runs one of the largest of these and sells more than $1 billion worth of network products each year. This is a great way to find wholesale items to sell, but not a good way to learn how to find vendors.
- Buyer-oriented marketplace. Also called e-procurement, this model has few buyers and many sellers. In this model, the buyer owns the site, and the sellers list competing products at different prices. These bidding sites target large-scale buyers only. GE's electronic bidding site, which goes by the name of GE TPN Post, is one of the biggest buyer-oriented marketplaces.
- Intermediary-oriented marketplace. This fast-growing marketplace is called an e-exchange and features many buyers and sellers. It is owned by a third party that connects buyers to sellers for a small fee. It is the ideal solution for small- and medium-sized businesses. BlueCart is a great example of this type of marketplace that connects thousands of wholesale food suppliers and buyers.
Vertical B2B Marketplace
A vertical B2B marketplace is a niche marketplace where the products or services sold are only within a single industry. These marketplaces serve a smaller market than others, but are much more useful for businesses within that particular industry.
The BlueCart marketplace is a vertical marketplace for the food industry and connects food wholesalers with buyers from all over the country. It also saves on marketing costs (see what is B2B marketing) since it connects businesses with ease and has built-in marketing functionality.
B2B Online Marketplace Benefits
Using a B2B marketplace offers suppliers a number of benefits that help them grow their market and increase revenue. The buyers also have a lot to gain from using a marketplace.
Here are the three biggest benefits of B2B online marketplaces:
First, it can standardize the way you bring products to market. Since your website infrastructure is solid, you can easily replicate your processes to streamline introducing new products. If you use BlueCart eCommerce, you can even use the built-in eCommerce email marketing tools to inform customers automatically when new products are added.
Second, it makes digital catalog management much easier. This is because adding or removing products from your digital storefront is much simpler than if you had to manually create all of your category and product pages. You don’t need to know how to code or hire a dedicated web developer.
Third, it streamlines the purchasing process and ensures customers have an easy time navigating your storefront. Every step a user has to take on your website to make a purchase, the higher the chance they abandon their order. Marketplaces are built with the users in mind and limit this risk. BlueCart is also built with a focus on eCommerce SEO, particularly SEO for eCommerce product pages, so you can attract more customers while still providing the best experience. it's even built with eCommerce product catalog design in mind.
B2B B2C Marketplace
There are many differences between a B2B and B2C marketplace.
Here are five of them:
- Product categories. B2B marketplaces are much more niche than B2C and may only feature a single category of products. This ensures the products are of a guaranteed quality, but also limits the market to far fewer customers. They're essentially a shoppable online line sheet.
- Order volume. B2C marketplace orders can be of any size, but are often a single SKU number. B2B marketplace orders are much larger and minimum order quantities are often required.
- Pricing structure. All customers on B2C marketplaces pay the same price for the same goods. This is not the case with B2B marketplaces. Pricing is based on the relationship and agreement between the seller and buyer and sites may use a bidding system or pricing tiers. Sellers may offer bulk shipping, volume discounts, a recurring order contract, and more.
- Order cycle. Order cycles are a major component of B2B vs. B2C buying trends. B2C customers order quickly and require little information to be converted. B2B customers infamously take much longer to buy and may require more detailed information. B2B marketplaces are the ideal way to help speed the sales up and connect the buyer and seller.
- Delivery time. B2C marketplaces live and die by how fast orders are fulfilled. B2B marketplaces are more focused on orders arriving on-time than on them arriving quickly. Quality must also always be high or reorders are unlikely. Quick deliver is key to eCommerce growth and eCommerce fulfillment teams need to be able to support a fast pace.
How to Start A B2B Marketplace
Starting a B2B marketplace is easier than ever, thanks to the rise of third-party hosting sites. Getting your site from idea to growing marketplace is best done by following a few simple steps.
Here are the steps you should take:
- Identify a market need. Marketplaces are only successful if they bring real value. You need to make sure that you're trying to solve a real problem that isn't fixed in a better way by someone else. If you are, then you can start building.
- Launch your Minimum Viable Product (MVP). The MVP is a bare-bones version of your final marketplace that you push out early to test the market. This product should still have a good user experience and will serve as a litmus test for the demand and help you hone your ideas.
- Find your market fit. With the MVP live, you'll see whether your idea resonates with the market or not. You'll also see what features are most-wanted and narrow your focus to provide the best end product.
- Add specialty features. With this information in hand, you should begin to add the features your customers want and improve the user experience. Focus on key features that will save your customers time and money. If you use a headless eCommerce solution, this is easy. However, some eCommerce tools are easier to adapt than others, so research your programs' capabilities thoroughly.
Best B2B Marketplace
The best B2B trade marketplace varies based on industry and a business's needs. The key is to find a site that offers the tools you need to make informed decisions. You also want to make sure the user base is large enough to connect you with the best buyers and sellers. Vertical marketplaces are a great place to start.
For food wholesalers and those in the restaurant industry, the best B2B online marketplace is BlueCart. It's an all-in-one solution that lets sellers have control over every aspect of their sales. You can sell B2B, direct to consumer, or both. DTC food is a great way to increase eCommerce sales for a wholesaler.
You can monitor product catalogs, manage and fulfill orders, respond to customer questions using a built-in messaging platform, and more. There's even a robust set of options for B2B payments that allows you to be more flexible and build relationships.
B2B Marketplace Vs B2B Platform
Instead of using a B2B marketplace, you also have the opportunity to use a stand-alone B2B platform. These platforms give you greater flexibility when creating your site, but also require much more work on your end. A dedicated web developer is needed to create and edit your pages and all work falls on your shoulders. This can be overly burdensome for small businesses and expensive.
This is why we recommend using BlueCart eCommerce for both new and existing businesses. We handle all of the hard work in getting your storefront live and optimized so you can focus on selling. We also offer industry-low rates for payment processing, so you can handle your whole business in one single dashboard.
Marketplace Your Orders
B2B marketplaces can connect small business owners with customers all over the world. This will let you grow your business quickly and effectively without having to invest all of your time and money into building an eCommerce website.
Frequently Asked Questions About B2B Online Marketplace
B2B online marketplaces are pivotal to the transfer and exchange of raw materials and products. If you’re learning about them for the first time, you probably have some questions. Check out our answers to frequently asked questions below:
Is a marketplace B2B or B2C?
A marketplace can be B2B or B2C; it depends on the type of marketplace and who operates it. A B2B marketplace is where businesses sell goods and services to other businesses. This can include anything from paper clips and markers to consulting and IT services. B2B marketplaces may span product offerings, services, or a wide range of both.
A B2C marketplace is where businesses sell products and services to customers. Service and goods examples include digital advertising, retail goods, home and lifestyle products, and personal email.
Both B2B and B2C marketplaces can be online, offline, or a combination of the two. A few examples of both are Etsy, Amazon, Walmart, Home Depot, and Target.
How does B2B marketplace make money?
B2B marketplaces make money in a variety of ways, including transaction fees, advertising, and listing fees. A marketplace collects transaction fees every time a customer completes payment. The payment gateway provider processes the payment, and the marketplace keeps a percentage of the transaction total.
A B2B marketplace can also offer advertising space for companies that wish to do so. Marketplaces create a media kit that outlines all of the ad units they offer and charge businesses a fee for their ad to be seen by customers.
Listing fees are another common form of marketplace monetization. Since online marketplaces are particularly large, customers are never going to see all products at the same time. A marketplace can charge businesses listing fees outright, or to have priority placement on the homepage and category pages.
Which B2B site is the best?
Ultimately what’s best is a matter of personal preference, but here are some of the leading B2B marketplaces and websites:
- Worldwide Brands