Nowadays, some SMEs select B2B marketplaces since these online shopping platforms can seamlessly link consumers and merchants. Making product listings on a wholesale portal and selling to B2B customers looking for your items is a relatively straightforward approach to starting the trade. The statistics for this sector can support this trend.
By the end of 2023, B2B eCommerce marketplaces will have generated $1.8 trillion in sales, or 17% of all B2B sales, according to Digital Commerce 360. The significant percentage (about 65%) of various B2B enterprises that do all of their business online in 2022, according to a McKinsey report, can serve as another evidence of the B2B marketplaces' potential expansion in the future.
All of these statistics are the consequence of B2B eCommerce marketplaces developing a variety of features and capabilities that allow merchants to manage practically all business operations there. Determining the capabilities that these business-to-business marketplaces offer is crucial. Additionally, for retailers who have set up their own eCommerce solution first, methods for seamless integration of B2B markets with an eCommerce store could be described.
In this article, all these aspects are described to help businesses get acquainted with B2B eCommerce marketplaces. Last but not least, the 10 best business-to-business marketplaces will be discussed highlighting their main benefits.
Main features of B2B eCommerce marketplaces
The attractiveness of eCommerce marketplaces for B2B customers is in their features and conditions of utilizing it. Most business-to-business marketplaces have the same functionality since technologies are standard and publicly available. For this reason, the ultimate list of the main capabilities can be composed and used when you decide to sell through a B2B eCommerce marketplace.
1. Inventory and order management.
B2B merchants can upload all information about their products and services, and keep track of their stock. Usually, it is accompanied by sales reports and statistics. Also, orders can be effortlessly monitored with all necessary information about your customers.
In terms of customer data management, some marketplaces lack the capabilities to demonstrate external traffic sources, which does not show you the full picture of the customer journey.
2. Product listing.
To help customers find your products and purchase them, B2B eCommerce marketplaces provide the ability to create detailed product descriptions and add almost any product and checkout attribute. These companies usually offer standard filters and details that are specific to an industry. It limits your opportunities to stand out from your competitors.
At the same time, B2B marketplaces usually enable merchants to upload products in bulk. Thanks to that you can upload your products quickly and start selling straightaway. Also, B2B digital marketplaces provide the ability to have catalogs and seller profiles in multiple languages, which can bring customers from all over the world and, as a result, increase sales.
3. Accepting payments and shipping.
There is no need to worry about the ways of getting money from customers and shipping an item to them since B2B marketplaces have it solved for their clients. These business-to-business portals provide a payment gateway, which is usually a result of a partnership or developed in-house. It takes the headache away, but limits options of accepting payments and occasionally requires additional fees.
The shipping options can be completely different for each B2B marketplace. Some of them can provide fulfillment providing merchants the ability to send all their products to central warehouses or reception points. The logistics to a customer is done by the B2B marketplace providers. The more widespread way is adding and configuring preferable delivery options for your company and even each listing.
4. 24/7 customer service and support.
In terms of solving customer issues, grievances, and other requests, B2B marketplaces have their own customer service that can help if a seller is out of reach. It can help sellers when there is no time to answer each buyer or there are technical issues. Furthermore, B2B sellers are equipped with chats that allow connecting with customers and dealing with any requests.
5. Marketing tools.
Even though B2B eCommerce marketplaces promote themselves and attract many customers from external sources, these companies provide marketing instruments to merchants. It helps sellers reach potential buyers within a chosen B2B marketplace.
Usually, digital marketplaces can feature your products, publish a banner on certain web pages, include your offers in a newsletter, use your listings in external advertising, etc. These marketing tools can be expensive but there are free tools for customer retention that the chosen B2B eCommerce marketplace utilizes, like product reviews, abandoned cart and wishlist notifications, personalized product compilations, and other activities.
How to effectively connect your eCommerce store with a B2B marketplace
When starting a digitalization process of a B2B company, some entrepreneurs decide to build their own eCommerce website. It enables merchants to have a customized online solution that matches specific business requirements. Although it can be a great way to attract customers, exploiting other ways of gaining more sales is always great to scale a B2B company. For this purpose, a business can be interested in building an omnichannel eCommerce solution. You can learn more about it from our article “The main principles of omnichannel eCommerce”
Shortly speaking, it helps to sell products from various channels that are interconnected and can be managed from one admin panel. If an eCommerce store is built on a B2B eCommerce platform with omnichannel functionality, such as nopCommerce, it will be easier to start selling on B2B marketplaces. The reason is that you can seamlessly transfer your catalog to popular multi-vendor stores using integrations with marketplaces and ERP systems.
The best 10 B2B eCommerce marketplaces
To help you find the right business-to-business marketplace, we have picked 10 great representatives in the market. Each B2B online shopping platform is described mentioning their specific B2B eCommerce website features, capabilities, and conditions for merchants to start listing and selling products.
eWorldTrade is the top-most choice of all sellers, suppliers, and buyers over the world. It provides an online marketplace showcasing products that are millions in number. This platform has verified business partners and authentic products from thousands of companies. eWorldTrade is a great platform to find buyers from across borders and grow your company.
This B2B eCommerce marketplace ensures the safety of your data and payments. One of the sources of security is the verification of suppliers, as well as buyers. In case a supplier breaks eWorldTrade’s policies and codes of conduct, the online platform will moderate the situation and can remove dishonest actors.
Another important feature is that eWorldTrade allows unlimited product posting enabling merchants to scale their sales. It also provides full customer support 24/7. The list of offered features can vary depending on the chosen membership. At the moment, 4 packages are available:
- Gold member: $1 499;
- Platinum Member: $2 499;
- Platinum+ Member: $3 999;
- Exclusive Member: $7 999.
Being one of the first B2B and B2C eCommerce marketplaces, eBay has helped businesses to meet their customers from almost any industry since 1995. Operating in about 200 countries it has created great opportunities for multinational trading for established B2B, B2C, and D2C businesses, as well as small sole traders. eBay’s catalog includes tens of categories with almost two billion products.
The marketplace always improves its accessibility while at the same time being quite secure. The ranking of sellers at eBay highly relies on customer reviews and experience. This is not helpful for new entrants since there are already many highly-ranked businesses. However, in eBay, bigger companies can struggle to compete with smaller ones with great customer service. Furthermore, there are concerns regarding the UX of its website and mobile app, which can scare some customers off.
eBay does not require any subscriptions or memberships to sell. It only charges fees from your listings depending on what type of product you sell. You can also add charges for promotional and featured placement in your categories. Companies can advertise their products in other ways by contacting the advertising team of eBay.
3. Amazon Business
One of the top B2B eCommerce marketplaces, Amazon Business was founded in 2015. According to its reports, sales are currently over $19 billion annually, with expectations of reaching $83 billion value in a couple of years. Simply sign up and publish your products on the Amazon Business selling platform to reach buyers anywhere. It has been used by around 20% of buyers from the UK and 15% — of the US ones.
To satisfy the demands of small businesses, Amazon Business has created enterprise software that digitally improves procurement procedures. Moreover, businesses are equipped with constant selling reports. Alongside great shipping options that are quick and affordable, customers of Amazon can take advantage of seasonal sales, price reductions, and unique deals. Additionally, they have permitted a variety of payment methods to simplify purchasing and tax exemption.
There are disadvantages of Amazon Business for B2B companies as well. As for many popular marketplaces, It's challenging to stand out since there's a lot of competition. Also, insufficient ownership of your sales process and interactions with B2B clients exist, which gives less control over your business growth. It can be weird for the huge B2B eCommerce marketplace but there are restrictions on the product categories that may be offered on Amazon Business. When the monthly subscription starts at $39.99 with an additional charge of $69 for each user, it is expected to have more freedom in selling.
Being primarily a B2C eCommerce marketplace, AliExpress is a popular online selling platform that can also simply bring new B2B clients. Like many international marketplaces, it reaches over 200 markets and millions of users by creating listings that are adaptable in multiple languages. In addition to being accessible from many countries, it provides user-friendly and robust web and mobile applications.
AliExpress got its popularity for providing flexible solutions and instruments to B2B merchants as well. There are many features related to product display and tier pricing. Sellers can market an unlimited number of products from different angles with detailed descriptions and attached materials. However, AliExpress is famous for its limitations in quality customer service and in processing returns and refunds. Also, shipping is ineffective in providing unprofitable delivery solutions, especially for small markets.
B2B companies have to pay a fee of up to 7% on all items sold on AliExpress. The product category may affect how much the commission can increase.
Alibaba, one of the biggest B2B marketplaces in the world, was founded in 1999. According to their report, this marketplace sells bulk goods from more than 150,000 merchants to over 10 million active buyers (30% are from the US). The total sales figure is $20 billion yearly. There are roughly 40 categories to choose from on Alibaba's B2B online marketplace.
Alibaba offers fantastic features and resources to assist suppliers sell their goods and reach their target market. People can shop on their very interactive site by perusing the categories or using the search function. Additionally, brand profiles must be approved by Alibaba before businesses can begin selling, and businesses are given credits for internal search promotion, which fosters trust before customers view your products. To increase accessibility and grow globally, our B2B eCommerce platform automatically translates a B2B shop into 18 distinct languages. All vendors have access to Alibaba's infrastructure and business reporting.
Using Alibaba requires eCommerce enterprises to closely monitor their shipping process. This is due to the extremely complex shipping system and courier services provided by AliExpress, a subsidiary of Alibaba, which uses a variety of carriers and logistics companies. eCommerce companies would have to manually verify the status of their shipments, which takes time and is error-prone if they didn't have tracking software.
Unfortunately, it's challenging to stand out in Alibaba's cutthroat market, where brands are compelled to drastically reduce their costs. The final requirement is that all B2B companies who wish to start selling on Alibaba should purchase an annual fee of at least $3 499 (or the premium one for $6 999).
6. Global Sources
Global Sources has been a reputable B2B marketplace company from Hong Kong for more than 50 years. The platform prioritizes the needs of its 1.5 million regular customers from throughout the world. Global Sources gives you an optimized storefront with a user-friendly layout, just like Alibaba and other marketplaces.
Global Sources is an outstanding global B2B marketplace and is renowned for offering its vendors cutting-edge web solutions and the newest technologies, including features like tradeshows and live sourcing meetings. For B2B customers, Global Sources offers services for quicker ordering. For example, they provide a feature called RFQ that connects to numerous suppliers and obtains free estimates from them. In addition, they offer sourcing services, which connect customers with suppliers after analyzing their sourcing needs.
Even though Global Sources concentrates on having merchants that adhere to a code of conduct, a buyer may encounter several unverified businesses. Additionally, the $80K operational cost in this B2B marketplace does not include any additional costs for advertising, featured products, etc.
A recognized B2B platform with its headquarters in the US, Tradewheel.com offers a safe atmosphere for producers and buyers to conduct business. Since its founding in 2003, this platform has grown to be a dependable center for businesses, providing free access to consumers and sellers in 39 industries and 195 markets with millions of listed products.
Tradewheel.com's distinctive ISM (Independent Sales Manager) offering put clients in touch with committed account managers who are essential to facilitate smooth transactions. To ensure a seamless trade experience, these account managers collaborate closely with manufacturers to identify qualified buyers and vice versa.
Despite the fact that Tradewheel.com has many advantages, there are a few limitations to consider. The platform's size, like any global market, can result in a wide variety of product quality and supplier reliability. Firms must use due diligence while selecting suppliers and conducting transactions. Furthermore, despite the fact that Tradewheel.com runs globally, some regionally-specific features or preferences may be missing, limiting market customization in some locations. There are four primary types of subscriptions that provide or restrict B2B sellers' access to certain functions.
Leading B2B marketplace Europages trades in all kinds of items. It facilitates trade for more than 2 million enterprises and runs in around 26 different languages. They have an interactive website that offers bundled products to simplify the search process and allows B2B eCommerce businesses to get trading inquiries from each Europages visitor.
Additionally, it can assist B2B buyers in locating a good or service in their native tongues. International business-to-business vendors can successfully optimize their listings as a result, or they can restrict themselves to a certain market.
For some small and medium B2B merchants, listing their goods and services can be pricey due to the high cost of being displayed on Europages. Particularly when there are other B2B eCommerce platforms with better features or lower entry costs. The fact that this marketplace primarily serves European consumers can make shipping and payment times longer and less profitable for sellers from outside of Europe.
ECPlaza is a fantastic B2B marketplace that allows businesses to communicate and transact with customers from all over the world. It also serves as an EDI service provider and a trustworthy trade consultant. Their unique strategy ensures that businesses at all stages may benefit from their wide offers, maximize cost savings, and enjoy more business comfort, making them stand out.
ECPlaza also offers a staggering number of features. The platform conducts a World Trade Fair, allowing companies to gain global visibility and foster global trade. Additionally, its Trade Magazine informs readers about market developments, product upgrades, and industry trends. Additionally, ECPlaza consumers can narrow down their product searches by nation, which streamlines the sourcing procedure. Additionally, firms can ask suppliers for certain goods, building targeted trade relationships.
Even though ECPlaza has made efforts to promote itself as a trustworthy marketplace, companies should use caution and do their research before transacting. Lack of a money-back guarantee is another potential negative, which may cause some concern for both buyers and sellers. Additionally, ECPlaza only accepts a small number of payment options, which may limit consumers' convenience and flexibility.
ECPlaza has two membership options that differ in price: YES Silver and YES Gold. For $200 a year, businesses can obtain the YES Silver membership, which gives them crucial access to the market. The cost of a YES Gold membership, which offers expanded features and more exposure, is $600 annually.
DHgate is an excellent platform for small and medium-sized businesses to promote and sell their wares. The marketplace offers plenty of options for sellers to reach a global audience with its thousands of active merchants and more than 30 million products grouped across numerous industries. Businesses from all around the world can join since DHgate actively promotes buying and selling on a worldwide basis.
First, one of DHgate's distinguishing features is the frequent specials company offers, which allow businesses to save even more money on their purchases. The site also allows a variety of payment methods, providing customers with options and convenience. DHgate also provides return and refund options, offering buyers peace of mind. For B2B clients, real-time order tracking ensures accuracy and timely delivery. The powerful search engine allows users to quickly locate the things they require.
It is crucial to note that suppliers and buyers on DHgate are not checked, which introduces some danger to the trading process. Furthermore, because the platform focuses on Chinese items, organizations looking for a broader range of sourcing possibilities may be disappointed.
DHgate charges merchants a 3% transaction fee. This marketplace frequently provides promotional discount codes to B2B buyers. New customers can take advantage of a $25 coupon pack.
Marketplaces are undeniably valuable sales channels for B2B enterprises. It is a fantastic opportunity to market your products to millions of buyers without the stress of acquiring B2B customers individually. Regardless of which platform you choose, the odds of success are high, especially if you are just starting your B2B company.
Having an account on one or more B2B eCommerce marketplaces, nevertheless, may not be sufficient. Presenting your products through multiple B2B selling channels is preferable. As a result, it is advised to create an online store and integrate omnichannel eCommerce software with all touchpoints. The platform, when used in conjunction with an ERP system, will sync all of your inventory, orders, returns, and payments in one location and provide you access to real-time inventory updates across all of the channels you interface with it.