Gone are the days when having an online presence for your business was just a luxury.
In this digital era, the B2B world has shifted, and online buying and selling have become the standard.
And if you don't have an online presence, you risk being left behind by your competition.
The rise of the online B2B marketplaces has been nothing short of phenomenal, skyrocketing to become the fastest-growing sales medium in the B2B world.
The landscape is changing, and it's changing fast. The number of marketplaces is growing, as is their popularity, leading to a transformation of the entire B2B arena.
In this article, we'll discuss the rise of B2B marketplaces and how they've revolutionized the industry. So, let's dive in!
Easiest way to start online business
Establishing an online presence for new businesses has never been easier, thanks to the cost-effective nature of marketplaces.
Marketplaces are ideal for those with minimal budgets and who cannot afford to bear the expenses of starting their own eCommerce website.
While starting an eCommerce website can be a hefty investment, ranging from $100 to $30,000, marketplaces offer a more budget-friendly alternative.
With marketplaces, the initial startup costs are as low as $100 to a maximum of $7000.
New businesses can take advantage of the numerous benefits offered by these platforms, which differ in each marketplace.
Marketplaces provide you with ready-made templates which you can use to easily build your online storefront.
All you need to do is pay and subscribe to a membership to avail all these benefits.
Access to more customers
It's difficult for new buyers to find and buy products from you if you sell just through your own website.
However, if you're running a store on a marketplace and selling products there, you become more easily accessible.
By specializing in your niche products, you can position yourself as an expert in the field and easily attract customers searching for the specific products you offer.
For example, if a customer wants to buy memory cards in bulk, that buyer can search for them on the marketplace.
And if you're selling memory cards, your products are visible to customers in the search results.
To increase your chances of securing a sale, offering competitive pricing, high-quality products, and detailed product descriptions filled with SEO-friendly keywords is essential.
This way, you can ensure that your products stand out and attract the attention of potential buyers.
Sellers earn more
Did you know? Vendors who sell their products on marketplaces earn 38% more than those who sell on just their own websites.
It's because online marketplaces connect you with your buyers and provide you with the opportunity to increase your sales.
And buyers trust marketplaces to find and buy the best products from the best sellers because these are well-known reliable sources in the B2B eCommerce sphere.
Growth of B2B marketplaces
The online B2B marketplaces are experiencing massive growth due to the convenience users enjoy buying and selling products and establishing new business relationships.
Horizontal and vertical marketplaces are both excelling in their own right.
First, let's talk about horizontal marketplaces.
These platforms feature products of various categories, allowing sellers to sell products of different niches.
Similarly, all kinds of buyers can visit these marketplaces, which boosts traffic and sales.
Amazon Business, Alibaba, and Seebiz are examples of B2B horizontal marketplaces.
On the other hand, niche-based vertical marketplaces are also increasing in popularity because these facilitate buyers of a specific niche to find their relevant products easily.
Vendors can also easily find their relevant audience and sell their products.
Examples of vertical marketplaces:
- AgriExpo deals in agricultural accessories and machinery.
- Joor deals in fashion accessories such as apparel and shoes.
- MedicalExpo deals in medical equipment.
Major marketplaces leading the industry
Let's discuss some popular marketplaces on which B2B buyers and sellers can sign up.
Alibaba is a Chinese B2B marketplace that is a pioneer in the B2B eCommerce industry. It was Jack Ma's brainchild, which he started in 1999.
This platform aims to assist small-to-medium businesses by:
- Providing artificial intelligence (AI) powered guidance to sellers for posting products and building their storefront
- Analyzing the performance of business and sales metrics
- Facilitating the use of trending keywords to attract a relevant audience
- Conducting virtual trade shows to allow sellers to showcase their products
SeeBiz is a US-based wholesale marketplace that offers a wide variety of wholesale products from the best vendors at the best prices.
With a focus on empowering small businesses, SeeBiz has introduced a host of innovative features that are truly industry-first.
It allows sellers to share their products and updates with their contacts in a Facebook-esque timeline while viewing the updates and offerings from others in the newsfeed.
Another standout feature of SeeBiz is its Group Pricing function. This feature empowers sellers to form groups of their customers and assign different prices to each group.
This allows sellers to retain their previous deals with existing customers while negotiating new deals with new buyers.
Along with these features, SeeBiz helps sellers in setting up their online storefront when they subscribe to the annual subscription:
- Designing a professional storefront like an eCommerce website
- Featuring the store on the marketplace homepage
- Optimizing the storefront by running a Google Ads campaign worth $200
- Showcasing the storefront and its products with a dynamic introductory video
- Uploading up to 50 products with complete product descriptions
Amazon Business is the B2B model of the world's largest retail eCommerce platform, Amazon.
It has become very successful in its early years by:
- Providing analytics to sellers on their business performance and sales in their seller dashboards
- Helping sellers in setting up a complete business profile with logo, company information, and more
- Features options such as user guides, application guides, and installation manuals to describe products comprehensively
The next stage in scaling up your digital presence is moving from an external marketplace to a custom online store. It ultimately helps to overcome limitations of the platform and streamline inner business processes, while preserving profile on a marketplace as part of omnichannel strategy.
nopCommerce is a flexible B2B marketplace platform that is used to develop eCommerce websites of any complexity. One of the best things is that it can grow together with your business, and you won’t need to switch platforms at some point in the future. Let alone, nopCommerce supports many features essential for B2B and wholesale operations, but not available on marketplaces: comprehensive order management, tier-pricing, access control list, etc.
The appeal of selling on an online marketplace is clear—businesses save time and resources and, in turn, drive more sales and traffic.
This creates a mutually beneficial relationship as the popularity of marketplaces grows, making them profitable ventures.
So, if you're a B2B business looking to maximize your reach and sales, the online B2B marketplace may be just the solution you've been seeking.