Business-to-business (B2B) marketplaces are an excellent way for businesses to find and connect with the best suppliers around them. The technology continues to evolve for B2B marketplaces, and many exciting things are in store for 2023. Continue reading to learn more.
What Is a B2B Marketplace?
A B2B marketplace connects buyers and suppliers to conduct B2B transactions. Both large and small companies use these marketplaces across different industries to reduce transaction costs, decrease time spent on sourcing, and improve trust between parties.
There are many different types of B2B marketplaces. Some allow sellers to advertise products or services, while others require sellers to pay a fee to bid on jobs posted by buyers.
The Rise of B2B Marketplaces
The popularity of B2B marketplaces will proliferate in 2023. In fact, 61% of B2B transactions start online, while the total market size will increase to US$20.29 trillion by 2027.
The rise in popularity of B2B marketplaces can be attributed to many factors, including:
- Increased competition between sellers in traditional marketplace channels, such as Amazon and eBay, has caused sellers to look for other ways to stand out from their competitors
- A lack of trust and transparency between buyers and sellers on traditional e-commerce platforms, making it difficult for both parties to transact fairly
- The growing influence of millennials as consumers who prefer an online experience over conventional shopping methods like visiting stores or doing business with individual salespeople
The Future of B2B Marketplaces
According to Forrester, B2B e-commerce sales will outpace business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce. In addition, studies indicate that a significant proportion of B2B buyers finalize their purchasing decisions without the need for direct interaction with a sales representative.
Advantages of Multi-Vendor B2B Marketplaces
Now that you know what B2B marketplaces are and how they work, let’s explore the advantages of a multi-vendor marketplace.
- You can find and compare products from multiple vendors in one place.
- B2B marketplaces enable you to secure the most favorable deals while conserving valuable resources, such as time, money, and effort.
- B2B marketplaces allow you to compare products at a glance so you don’t have to spend hours looking through hundreds of product descriptions.
What Is the Difference between a B2C and a B2B Marketplace?
B2C marketplaces are for consumers while B2B marketplaces are for businesses. That’s not to say, though, that the two types of marketplaces are entirely different. In fact, there is much overlap between them.
For example, the two kinds of markets have similar logistics and payment processing needs because many users prefer paying online instead of in person or over the phone. And while it’s true that B2C platforms tend to focus more on consumer experience than on business experience (which is why they’re called “consumer-to-consumer (C2C)” instead), many successful B2C companies also offer solutions explicitly tailored toward businesses, such as product sourcing or inventory management tools. Look at Etsy.
However, even though there is some overlap between B2C and B2B platforms, there are still some fundamental differences between these two user groups that make each type of marketplace unique.
B2B Marketplaces and Big Data
B2B marketplaces are data-driven, and big data can help improve customer experience. They can also use big data and artificial intelligence (AI) to optimize the supply chain and improve marketing effectiveness.
Research shows that companies with a strong focus on customer experience have better business results than those without. Using real-time data streams from service providers, B2B marketplaces can provide insights into customers’ needs, allowing them to improve their offerings before buying them.
For instance, if you were looking for an e-commerce marketplace app developer in New York City, an app marketplace would recommend a provider based on factors, such as location (ease of travel), cost (ability to scale quickly), reviews (quality of work), and ratings (how many projects completed).
Marketplaces have become part of a more significant trend among B2B companies that want to move toward more digitized sales processes. As this movement continues to accelerate globally (particularly in emerging markets), more and more companies will need to optimize their supply chains and digitalize their operations to stay competitive with larger organizations that may have more significant resources at their disposal.
So, where can B2B companies buy and sell their products digitally? In the next section, we’ll discuss some of the most popular B2B and B2C marketplaces online today.
All About Alibaba
Alibaba Group is a Chinese multinational e-commerce company headquartered in Hangzhou, China. It is the world’s largest online and mobile commerce company in terms of gross merchandise volume (GMV). Its platforms connect millions of businesses with suppliers and customers through an open ecosystem.
All About eWorldTrade
eWorldTrade is a TechTarget division, a B2B market research company. eWorldTrade was founded in 1998 to provide sourcing and procurement solutions for supply chain management (SCM).
Today, it is the leading marketplace for buyers and suppliers to connect online with hundreds of thousands of products from leading brands across different industries.
eWorldTrade has more than 2,000 suppliers on its platform and more than 60 million product listings on its site.
All About ThomasNet
ThomasNet is a leading supplier directory and supplier discovery platform. It offers more than 1.2 million suppliers and over 10 million products, including high-value content, such as product data, market research, and news articles.
ThomasNet was founded in 1921 by Thomas Publishing Company (TPC), which began publishing the trade magazine Hardware Age—a predecessor of today’s Thomas Register—and its annual directory of hardware manufacturers.
In 1996, TPC was acquired by McGraw-Hill, Inc., which later became part of The Thomson Corporation in 2008 before being spun off into Cenvect, Inc., the parent company of Cvent, Inc., in 2017.
Opportunities with Artificial Intelligence
Using AI in B2B marketplaces is a game changer, but it’s not just about discovering new ways to sell products and services. AI can help drive more sales, provide better customer service, and increase efficiency.
AI has been used in retail for years—think Amazon recommending products based on your recent history or Netflix suggesting TV shows based on what you’ve watched before—but it has only recently begun gaining traction in B2B e-commerce.
As we head into the future of B2B e-commerce, organizations will need practical tools for making better buying decisions for their businesses. AI will play an essential role in helping buyers make purchases that align with their goals while streamlining the procurement process from start to finish.
B2B marketplaces will continue to grow in the years ahead and will do so at a breakneck pace. Why? Because they offer businesses many advantages unavailable through traditional sales channels, such as e-commerce platforms or even online marketplaces.
First, these platforms provide access to a wide range of products and services that may otherwise be difficult or impossible to find directly from suppliers. Second, they offer sellers easy access to customers who may otherwise have been hard to reach directly without using an intermediary like this one.