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B2B Marketplace: A Complete Guide

Marketplace de services

Following a worldwide health context, online purchases have accelerated significantly. And we see that this does not only concern B2C. According to a June 2021 Xerfi study, the audience of B2B e-commerce websites increased by 40% between September 2019 and January 2021. This observation made, companies are obliged to adapt to these new buying habits. Suppliers then offer their products or services online to increase their sales potential and meet concrete expectations.

In this complete guide, we will go back over the interest of a B2B marketplace, a booming market, detail the different types of marketplaces and take a look at the marketplaces of the B2B market.

Dans ce guide complet, nous allons revenir sur l’intérêt d’une marketplace B2B, marché en plein essor, détailler les différents types de marketplaces et faire un point sur les marketplaces du marché B2B.


What is a B2B marketplace?

The principle of the marketplace is to put a seller in contact with potential buyers on the Internet. The marketplace, or online market place, is therefore an intermediary allowing a visibility of the products or services of a seller.

There are several types of marketplaces depending on the clientele:

  • the B2C marketplace from professionals to individuals: Amazon, Blablacar, VeePee, etc.
  • the C2C marketplace from individuals to individuals: Vinted, Le bon coin, etc.
  • the B2B marketplace from professionals to professionals: Amazon Business, Malt, Cdiscount Pro, etc.

The btob marketplace is a platform that connects buyers and suppliers in a digitalized way. There is a European b2b marketplace and an international b2b marketplace. The field of possibilities is widened to allow an optimal purchasing experience.

The operator, owner of the marketplace, earns commissions for each sale made. This allows him to offer complete and easy solutions for both the seller and the buyer.


What are the benefits of a B2B marketplace?

The b2b marketplace responds first of all to new consumer habits. Today, digital technology is not only available to everyone, but it is also used in most of our daily lives. And professionals are no exception to the rule. The marketplace for B2B facilitates inter-company relations for their purchases.

A marketplace for corporate purchases brings many advantages for both the seller and the buyer.

The advantages of a B2B marketplace for the seller

For a supplier, positioning itself on one or more B2B marketplaces contributes to the company’s visibility. To be visible is to develop or establish its reputation in its sector of activity.

Moreover, the B2B marketplace being a marketplace, it allows to sell more (and better?) generating an increase of the turnover. This increase for a company is the sinews of war. But be careful to always be profitable and to keep your margins!

Finally, selling on a b-to-b marketplace allows the company to generate growth. And growth means jobs, productivity and quality improvement. It’s a virtuous circle for the company’s development.

The advantages of a B2B marketplace for the buyer

The buyer, as a B2B actor, also benefits from the marketplace:

  • choice: he has access to a diversity of choices for his purchases
  • comparison: he can easily compare the different offers on the market
  • time: he saves a considerable amount of time in his purchasing experiences
  • prices: he benefits from attractive and competitive rates
  • ease: they can centralize various purchases within the same platform

The B2B marketplace is the perfect answer to today’s business issues for all professional actors, whether they are sellers or buyers.


What are the different types of B2B marketplaces?

B2B marketplaces are based on several solutions depending on your needs.

The product marketplace

The B2B marketplace for products allows a buyer to buy directly from an online platform. The marketplace brings together buyers and suppliers from the same or different sectors. It can be a supply of office supplies as well as a supply of stock to be developed.

The users can be multiple within the company. The advantage is to be able to easily track orders at all levels (accounting, hierarchy, financial services, management, etc.).

The services marketplace

The B2B marketplace for services connects professionals who need a service, as its name indicates, and not a product. The reviews, generally present on the marketplaces, help to choose the service according to one’s needs and priorities. This is an important point of detail when making a purchase in general. But it is even more important when ordering a service that cannot be returned to the seller in case of dissatisfaction.

The B2B marketplace for purchases

The B2B marketplace of purchases gathers the products and services intended for a company. Here the buyer has a single purchasing experience supplier by supplier. The product catalog is created for the internal needs of the company with a list of vendors referenced specifically for the company in question.

The B2B e-commerce marketplace

Contrary to the shopping marketplace, the e-commerce marketplace extends to the needs of all companies like Amazon Business for example. In this experience, the buyer can order several products at once and from several sellers at the same time.

The B2B marketplace of networks

The B2B marketplace of networks allows a vendor to be present as a professional and not only by product or service. In this context, the supplier delivers his entire catalog of products or services that he wishes to sell on the online marketplace.

The buyer knows everything that the seller offers. This can be a good way to reduce costs in the case of a large order placed with a particular supplier.

For the seller, it is an opportunity to highlight a product or a service to arouse curiosity, attract visitors and generate sales.

The marketplace specific to a field of activity

Industry, construction, agriculture, health, etc. The fields of activity are varied and sometimes require specific purchases. This is why we find B2B marketplaces dedicated to the needs of a particular field of activity.

The sustainable development marketplace

Today, the second-hand market is no longer exclusively for individuals like Vinted for example. There are therefore online circular economy platforms for professionals.

For sellers, the advantages are numerous:

  • stock optimization
  • recycling of used products
  • resale or rental of used equipment
  • additional income

For buyers, it is an opportunity to benefit from low-cost items that may meet a temporary need.

The marketplace for a presence on the Web

Even if it is rarer, some actors are not present on the Web. Creating a website is expensive and time-consuming. The B2B marketplace answers the need to be present online. Etsy for example is an ideal marketplace for a small craftsman who does not have the means to create a website.

Digitalization completes the physical presence of a merchant. He optimizes his offer by proposing it on a ubiquitous communication channel.

It is an opportunity to be known :

  • sell online
  • generate traffic within his physical business


Which business relationships are affected by marketplaces?

A B2B marketplace integrates three main actors:

  • the operator: it creates the platform, improves it, provides payment services, etc.
  • the seller: he offers his products and/or services on the platform
  • the buyer: he orders products and/or services on the marketplace

Thus, the buyer is a customer of the seller, himself a customer of the operator. Each party has its importance and none should be neglected.


How did professionals do it before the marketplaces?

Buyers were informed of the products and/or services offered through professional directories, extranets and paper catalogs. Then followed a series of phone calls and faxes to place orders. We had to deal with numerous estimates to analyze and then multiple paper invoices. In short, it was long and tedious.

Fortunately, the advent of computers and technological advances have changed the purchasing process. The process is simplified and optimized to :

  • time savings
  • a potential better quality of product or service
  • substantial savings


The B2B marketplace: a booming market

Simplifying and digitizing purchasing has created enormous growth potential for professionals. By adapting to new consumption patterns, the growing market of B2B marketplaces is becoming the cornerstone of current purchasing processes.

Distribution methods, online catalogs, flexibility of offers, possible subscriptions, process automation, monitoring and control tools, etc. The B2B marketplace provides a complete solution for online sales.

For this, it is essential for the operator to optimize its B2B marketplace proposal: intuitiveness, ergonomics, search engine, easy navigation, choice of sellers, etc. The seller must want to sell. The buyer must want to buy.


How to successfully create a B2B marketplace?

A guide would not be complete without a focus on how to successfully create your B2B marketplace. Here are some of the top 10 tips to help you.

Perfect your project and conduct a market study

The basis is to have a coherent project that meets a real market need. It can be a generalist marketplace or specialized in a particular sector. For this, it is recommended to survey the market and target the one that offers the most opportunities.

Once the market is targeted, it is essential to define the business model (commissions on sales, subscriptions, listing fees, etc.) and to draw up a precise business plan. The business plan for a B2B marketplace consists of defining :

  • the launch costs
  • the fixed costs
  • the variable costs to come
  • the parallel resources that will allow you to meet the various expenses

Surround yourself with the right players

Creating a marketplace requires the involvement of several B2B players, both for the development of the platform and for the operational part afterward.

The software developer, the team of collaborators, the financial partners (project financing, payment solutions, etc.), the vendors, etc. Creating a b-to-b marketplace is not something you can do alone. And it is fundamental to surround yourself with the right people for each step of the project. Marketing, sales, IT and other teams are all equally important.

Optimize the referencing

The referencing of products, services or suppliers is the key to make people want to navigate on the platform. The B2B marketplace menu must be easy to use, ergonomic, intuitive and complete. A search engine that facilitates the user experience encourages return visits (automatic filling, for example). The ideal is to propose a sorting and filtering system to refine the search.

In short, the buyer must find easily and in a few clicks the answer to what he is looking for. The objective is to make them take action and, above all, to build their loyalty. It’s a win-win solution:

  • the buyer finds what he wants easily
  • the seller generates sales
  • the operator recovers commissions on sales

Choosing the right sellers

Sellers are important in the sense that they must propose useful offers that are sought after by buyers. It is important to verify their seriousness and professionalism.

Do they have a quality charter? Do they have positive reviews? What is their return rate? What do they offer? Do they have customer service? What is their customer response time commitment? Anything that seems useful in recruiting good salespeople is essential. They are the key to a satisfied business buyer.

Have a flawless legal framework

B2B marketplace requires a flawless legal framework for all actors. Terms and conditions, label, patent, financial transactions, VAT, RGPD for personal data protection, etc. Many subjects must be checked by legal professionals in order to be in order with the authorities.

To do this, lawyers, jurists, chartered accountants, auditors, several specialized professions can respond to all the issues raised.

Take care of your communication

To successfully create a B2B marketplace, it is also important to perfect your communication:

  • launch plan
  • marketing campaign
  • creation of events
  • communication channels
  • etc.

Getting positively known is essential and this requires a careful marketing strategy.

Finally, taking into account the opinions, both positive and negative, allows us to improve the user experience. Process improvement, automation of certain tasks, development of new payment solutions, etc. A B2B marketplace lives and evolves constantly.


Which solutions are essential for professionals?

Professionals have different needs than individuals when it comes to corporate purchasing. It is therefore essential that the platform integrates them to offer complete solutions for both sellers and buyers.

Payment on due date

In B2B, marketplaces must integrate payment on due date or deferred payment. This is also called discounting. The purchase is made immediately but the payment will be made later. It is then an arrangement between supplier and buyer. We often speak about payment at 30 days end of month. Everything depends on the cash flow and the constraints of each one.

Volume discounts

The volume discount or quantity discount encourages the buyer to buy in greater numbers thanks to a price reduction. This action is possible when costs are shared. It is an interesting sales tool for both parties:

  • the seller gets more turnover and reduces his stock
  • the buyer benefits from an advantageous price

The volume discount responds to two problems:

  • the seller’s stock is too large
  • the product starts to become obsolete

However, this tool has a disadvantage to be taken into account: the decrease in profitability. Offering a discount means reducing your margin. It is therefore essential to calculate the limit of the discount beforehand.

Multi-user management

Corporate purchasing is not necessarily the function of a single person within a company. The B2B marketplace must therefore offer simple and secure multi-user management. It can also set up a management tool for the accounting to ensure a permanent follow-up.

The management of purchases must be easy for a company:

  • adding, modifying, deleting a collaborator access
  • limit of possible amount to purchase
  • verification and validation by a manager
  • follow-up of purchases on the marketplace
  • etc.

International payment methods

Many professionals sell and buy internationally. We are in a system of effective globalization in terms of consumption. A B2B marketplace that offers international payment systems is bound to stand out from another that does not.

Thanks to new technologies, it is easy to take advantage of these payment methods for professionals with high expectations in this regard.

Free shipping

In a free shipping system, the shipping costs are paid by the seller. The buyer does not pay any shipping costs for the purchase. In the professional sphere, this is a common practice that must be taken into account by the B2B marketplace. It is indeed an incentive to buy online rather than in a physical store.

Credit insurance

The credit insurance is a guarantee for the seller allowing him to be covered against the risks of unpaid invoices from his customers. This risk is major and real for a company. A B2B marketplace that offers this service ensures the trust of its sellers.

It is a significant cost that the operator can deduct from the commissions he gets back. Even if the impact is financially significant for a seller, the serenity and the durability of his company are priceless.

Dynamic prices

Seasonality, weather, stock, availability, etc. Professional sellers may have some specific issues. The price they propose to buyers must therefore take into account these constraints. Dynamic pricing applies to all types of business sectors. It is important that the b to b marketplace integrates this to facilitate the management of prices for sellers.


What are the different marketplaces on the market?

To complete our complete guide on B2B marketplaces, here is a focus on the platforms present on the market.

Generalist marketplaces

Wholesalers, office supplies, multi-products, there are several kinds of generalist online shopping platforms:

  • Amazon Business
  • Cdiscount Pro
  • Alibaba
  • Rakuten
  • IndiaMart
  • Mercateo
  • DestockPlus
  • Global Sources
  • etc.

These international b2b marketplaces offer a vast choice of suppliers, generally verified and approved for their reliability. It is then possible to make corporate purchases anywhere in the world.

The marketplaces of high tech

The high-tech industry requires important skills in terms of solutions for professionals. There are dedicated marketplaces that allow you to buy quality products:

  • Softcorn
  • Oracle
  • Orange (Datavenue Market)
  • Microsoft (Azur Marketplace)
  • IBM
  • iExec
  • Amazon (AWSMarketplace)
  • etc.

Agricultural marketplaces

The world of agriculture is special when it comes to purchasing machinery or products. It is essential to be able to offer an efficient B2B marketplace for buyers in the agricultural field:

  • WeFarmUp
  • AgriAffaires
  • Agri Marketplace
  • etc.

Industrial marketplaces

In the industry, several marketplaces are available to conduct online transactions:

  • Tracktor
  • Orexad
  • Roadzila
  • RueDuConvoyeur
  • Station One
  • etc.

Construction marketplaces

In the construction industry, there are also btob marketplaces to meet the needs of professional buyers (equipment and products):

  • Iron Planet
  • DistriArtisan
  • Machinery Zone
  • Masterio Pro
  • Warmango
  • etc.

The marketplaces of setting in relation

In the platforms of connection, it is a question of calling upon a freelance specialist like Malt, Fiverr, StaffMe, JobProd or Coder for example. These platforms list freelancers in multiple fields to meet the needs of professionals.

Fashion marketplaces

Fashion is a sector that also requires sourcing. Sellers and buyers can be found on various B2B marketplaces such as Joor or Première Vision.

Sourcing, finance, food, transport, real estate, and health also have B2B marketplaces. Pharmedistore, Uber Marketplace, Metro, GreatContent, etc. There are many platforms that meet all the needs of professionals.

B2B, B2C or C2C marketplaces have become essential for all types of purchases. They meet the real expectations of professional or private consumers. With complete offers, simplified navigation, and multiple orders, the B2B marketplace is the ideal solution to optimize your purchases.



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