13.11.21

B2B Marketplace Development

It is estimated that the global B2B e-commerce market is more than 5 times ($14.9 trillion) bigger than B2C. Most modern companies have the idea of creating a B2B marketplace. However, leadership remains with the most famous market players, Amazon and Alibaba. In this article, we will look at the key stages of B2B development as well as features and reasons for the popularity of the model.
Features of developing a B2B marketplace: from goods to customers
Creating a B2B website means designing a personal portal or placing it on existing websites. For example, e-commerce platforms Magento and Shopify are suitable for launching a B2B marketplace. When developing marketplaces for business, you should consider the capabilities that a wholesale platform should have.
Product Catalog
Companies choose a particular niche and aim to sell products or services in large quantities. For example, a B2B insurance marketplace for agents and brokers allows concluding contracts and receiving rewards for each policy. The task for the developers is to make a list of insurance companies and select the necessary characteristics for filtering offers.

When selling wholesale products, it is essential to provide price comparison and configure a search by item numbers. The functionality of the B2B marketplace helps to quickly fill the catalog using ready-made templates. Compared to the B2C market, the latter offers a wider range of consumer products in different categories.
Pricing
B2B Marketplace sets prices for each customer or group. The functions you will need are an individual calculation of discounts and a minimum quantity of products for an order. The offered price depends on the delivery time, the duration of cooperation with a client, and the volume of purchases.
Integration
The tools of the B2B segment are functionally combined with various accounting and interaction systems (SAP, 1C, ERP, CRM, etc.). There can also be integrations with external programs of partners and merchants, third-party services for accepting payments, and other functions. Marketplace customers track product balances and delivery in real-time, keeping in touch with the user base.
Document flow
The platform requires opportunities for generating invoices and acts as well as downloading marketing materials and manuals. Users need to view the balance of mutual settlements with partners, send documents from the portal and print them. Accounts receivable reminders will add value to the marketplace for customers.
Payments and order cycle
B2B platforms allow implementing various payment methods (prepayment, postpaid, letter of credit). The supplier must specify credit limits and add transaction history. Business orders are filled in large quantities, so the ability to create an invoice must be introduced.
Focus on loyal customers
B2B market participants strive to build long-term partnerships. B2B sellers are divided into wholesalers and distributors. The marketplace functionality contributes to customer retention by providing access to personal accounts by password and login. On the contrary, unregistered users have much more limited options. The buyer works under a contract with the seller, providing legal support and guarantees on the platform. Communications exclude unnecessary calls, as the built-in online chat accelerates interaction between users.
Checkout
The process is more extensive and complicated than in the B2C market. It involves the registration of large volumes of orders and non-standard methods of payment and delivery. Business customers often repeat purchases, so the feature for saving the entered data in their personal accounts will be necessary. Reordering will become more accessible, so they will continue to buy products in the marketplace.
Website Design and Marketing Strategy
B2B portals focus on the actionable information helpful for customers. Marketplaces provide a chat with a personal manager, simple functionality, and additional features, such as forming documents online. Businesses also need tools to launch promotions and discounts, track user journeys, and generate similar product recommendations.
Stages of creating a B2B marketplace
1. Industry audience analysis
Start with market research. Conduct competitor analysis and find a sufficient number of online platforms in a specific area. SWOT analysis will help understand the strengths/weaknesses, opportunities, and threats for the future project. The marketplace must support several common languages in the regions and countries to attract users from there.

It is essential to determine whether business people will use the platform to host services and goods. Investigate which product groups need to be highlighted. For example, furniture, textiles, or cars. When targeting the services market (educational, consulting, transport, etc.), this method will help select the functionality and choose a monetization model.
2. Making a business model plan
Before making a plan, you should choose a way of doing business. Focus on the profitability and the number of employees of e-commerce companies. For example, small customers are more likely to select the subscription and tech support model.

There are several solutions for B2B marketplaces, such as SaaS, custom, template, and others. They offer a monthly subscription, a percentage of each transaction to the developer, or a purchase of ready-made software and its customization.
3. Defining marketplace functionality
Multi-vendor B2B platforms help large companies sell products to other businesses based on industry specifics and customer needs. Among the main features that you may need are:
integration of payments;
adding tools for personalizing your online store;
establishment of discounts for bulk orders;
formation of user groups;
providing special payment options.
The product page should contain detailed information about cost, specification, availability, payment, and shipping options. Keyword search, customization of catalogs and fields, detailed reporting on user activity and the number of orders, personalized prices are vital components of the marketplace.
4. Finding a development team
When building a platform from scratch, it is required to present the overall structure, analyze the most requested features, and implement a friendly user interface. A team of IT specialists should have experience in creating such projects. The company should be selected based on the required technology stack to create the platform.

Before choosing, check reviews of the company's work on reputable resources such as Clutch.co, Goodfirms.co, or Codementor.io. Also, contact previous clients of the firm, learning the details of cooperation and the final results.
5. Setting a budget and discussing a project
Before starting work, you should form a detailed technical specification considering the features of the B2B market. Marketplace development prices start at $3,000. The following factors influence the cost:
The industry of products and services;
location of the outsourcing company;
the complexity of the project;
the number of IT professionals involved.
Small projects can be built in WordPress or with free software.
The success of B2B Markets in the Global Economy
According to surveys, a third of B2B buyers make from 50% to 74% of business orders on marketplaces. The food equipment and automotive markets are the most dominant in this segment. The leading marketplaces for business are Alibaba, Mercateo, Amazon, Rakuten, Global Sources, Walmart, and IndiaMART. Several factors affect the success of online platforms:
Providing a wide range of products to customers and suppliers.
An efficient online transaction and e-invoicing system.
Managing transactions, the amount of inventory, and logistics in personal accounts.
Maintaining adequate pricing and user satisfaction.
Ensuring the reliability of the supply chain and payments.
The B2B marketplace allows companies to optimize purchases, save on supplies, and even sell illiquid commodity items. The online platform aims to digitize offline businesses. In a pandemic, the main priority for businesses is to meet the requirements of the modern digital economy. Marketplace implementation will increase the company's capitalization and expand the market coverage.
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