Unquestionably, B2B eCommerce continues to provide a wealth of opportunities for companies inclined to invest in the future of selling. It is constantly expanding, so your organization still has time to disrupt your industry in the digital space. In this blog, we will explore best practices for launching your customized B2B wholesale marketplace along with types, monetization strategies, critical features, and the entire concept.
What makes a B2B wholesale marketplace unique is how it links bulk buyers with wholesale suppliers. The objective is to automate B2B commerce while enhancing the customer experience and ensuring the entire process is frictionless and transparent. Yet, there is still a lot of room for growth as many B2B channels are already outdated.
As a result, it is vital to consider how you want to connect with customers and where you can optimize reach. Here are the primary types of B2B whole marketplace platforms:
Customer-oriented: These let shoppers compare offers and prices to choose a marketplace that meets their needs.
Supplier-oriented: These marketplaces are run by suppliers who want to reach a larger audience.
Independent: Operated by a third party, the goal is to offer a mediator service between buyers and suppliers.
Vertical: Typically locally-based and focuses on one industry.
Horizontal: A wide-ranging platform that links different industries and geographies.
Without a clear value proposition, many B2B marketplaces fail. To succeed over the long term, it’s crucial to provide perceived value to your target audience. How? Well, you can do so by including these vital features:
Detailed product descriptions: Include features, product specifications, availability data, shipping, information, and high-quality media. Make it easy for your shoppers to come to a final decision.
Advanced search: Keep searches simple, yet comprehensive with filters, including:
Think of the types of filters that are relevant for your consumers. Consider basing your filters on user behavior. If you offer a large catalog of products, you want your items to be easy to find.
Product catalogs: Offer your suppliers the ability to upload their product catalogs so shoppers can make direct purchases. Perhaps vary the types of catalog views displayed. It would be helpful to add fields such as industry, budget, and other specific filters. Often, B2B buyers have to go through multiple steps before they can make a final purchase. With digital catalogs, you can make the process easier, more visual, and more straightforward.
Other interactive features you might consider are videos, lead forms, animations, and pop-ups. If a customer wants more, you could produce a personalized product showcase.
Automated invoice processing: Invoices should not have to take a long time, especially in the B2B niche when time is of the essence. By automating invoice processing, you can make ordering much easier for your customers.
Listings traffic reports: It’s essential to use KPIs for measuring and monitoring success. Yet, it is time-consuming to search through multiple spreadsheets. Instead, use real-time reporting so your suppliers can view instant stats on traffic, product views, listing popularity, and unique visitor count.
Personalized recommendations: It’s great to offer a massive number of products, but after a while, they start to all look the same to exhausted shoppers. What can you do? Use recommendation algorithms that can deliver personalized product and service recommendations.
Personalized prices: B2B customers can frequently request personalized prices depending on their needs, shopping habits, and purchase frequency. As a result, B2B buyers are different from B2C shoppers. Further, when dealing with companies of different sizes and needs, it’s crucial to offer pricing based on segments and typical orders.
Customizing pricing is where your B2B wholesale marketplace can stand out since many B2B marketplaces tend to ignore the significance of personalizing pricing.
Real-time order reports: In an always-on digital world, it’s crucial to offer real-time reports and detailed order analytics. So, ensure you can create custom reports of real-time sales summaries. Therefore, your brands and suppliers can analyze and track sales performance. Also include tracking for active, pending, or cancelled orders.
Integrations with inventory management systems: Integration with inventory management software will help you to create omni-channel experience, customize customer purchases, manage all the operations remotely, and track important analytics.
Why is it critical to integrate your B2B wholesale marketplace with your inventory management systems? Consider the following reasons below:
- Offer an omni-channel experience
- Personalize consumer purchases
- Manage operations from anywhere
- Track and analyze vital analytics
Remember, your site should help solve your B2B customer’s problems. We’ll show you how in the next section.
Unfortunately, many B2B wholesale marketplaces forget to personalize the customer experience. Perhaps it’s because many B2B customers purchase in bulk. Nonetheless, it is essential to provide a platform that enhances and personalizes every interaction. In addition, it should blur the lines between suppliers and buyers by using effective analytics tools and communication portals.
If you use customer segmentation, it makes it easier to treat each B2B customer as an individual, even if you have thousands of customers. You can also target based on demographics and shopping habits.
If you personalize the B2B shopping experience consistently, then you can drive loyalty and trust. Here’s how to segment:
Company size: Note whether an organization is small or large. Then, offer products and services that fit their company size and associated budget.
Shopping behavior: Analyze behaviors such as what was purchased, viewed, placed in the shopping cart, time spent on the marketplace, and average spend.
Pricing: B2B buyers will have various buying preferences. You can boost revenue if you segment by location, order volume, shipping costs, and inventory. Use pricing that meets their requirements.
Diversify your revenue channels: You can choose from the two typical revenue channels: Periodic payments or one-time deals. Ask these questions to determine which one works best.
- How do your customers prefer to pay?
- What are they going to pay for right now?
- How do they pay?
- How much revenue do you collect from each payment?
- Can you increase revenue?
Here are a few popular revenue-generating opportunities:
Transaction fees: You can charge a commission for every transaction. However, it’s important not to charge too high a percentage or it may drive away your suppliers.
Subscription fees: Offer different monthly subscription billion models that provide various features based on tier. If your B2B wholesale marketplace attracts a lot of traffic, subscription fees can provide consistent revenue.
Advertising revenues: Take fees from companies that want to advertise on your marketplace. Use this approach only if your marketplace generates a good amount of traffic, and make sure your site is not covered with ads either.
Value-added services: Examples of value-added services, include:
- Premium features
- Multiple delivery and shipment options (land, sea, air shipping)
- Warehousing services
We hope you have a better understanding of what to expect and include when creating a B2B wholesale marketplace. Invariably, the most crucial metric is what your customers think.