The article was initially published on Codica Blog.
Forrester predicts that US B2B (business-to-business) e-commerce transactions will reach $1.8 trillion by 2023. So it seems that now is a good time to create a B2B marketplace.
Thinking about where to start? This guide covering the key stages of B2B marketplace development will be a good help.
In simple terms, a B2B marketplace is a website where sellers and service providers offer their products to other companies.
Such platforms are famous for the specific payment options that differ from payment gateways on B2C e-commerce websites. They include bank transfers, paper checks, and wire transfers
Speaking about business-to-business e-commerce websites, we cannot but mention their main types. They are as follows:
- Vertical B2B marketplaces - focus on a specific niche or target audience;
- Horizontal B2B platforms - offer a wide range of products to all kinds of companies;
- Product-based B2B multi-vendor marketplaces - sell physical goods. The examples are Global Source and Alibaba.
- Service-based business-to-business websites - provide different services from content creating to event management. The most well-known marketplaces are TopTal and Upwork.
Related reading: How to Build a Multi-Vendor Marketplace Like Amazon
For B2B clients, the customer journey is long and complicated. A lot of people are engaged in decision-making. You should consider the needs, opinions, and job functions of all of them.
Besides, B2B companies are concerned about the welfare of their business. It means that they will make a purchase only if there is a strong need for your solution. Hence, your task is to find the best possible way to address their pain points with your product.
With a compelling, catching value proposition, you increase your chances to stand out from the competitors.
Wonder what qualities make a well-executed value proposition? Basically, it should be clear, specific, and unique.
Below you can see several UX design principles you should adhere to when designing a B2B marketplace:
- Avoid vibrant colors. Replace them with subtle shades. This way, you will make your B2B e-commerce website more professional.
- Allow users to check whether the product is available and move to a quick checkout.
- Do not forget to set automatic recurring purchases. Thus, your clients will be able to save their precious time.
- Make sure that the sign-up process is plain and simple.
- Upload demos, whitepapers, and social proofs to ensure trust in your B2B marketplace.
- Create well-defined categories for all your products so that the customers could find them easily.
The product categories on Grainger, a B2B website offering industrial supplies, look the following way:
As for the basic functionality of your B2B marketplace, the following features should be implemented in the first place:
- The sign up page;
- Company/ customer profile;
- Product catalog;
- Advanced search and filters;
- A convenient reordering and replenishing system;
- Reviews and rating;
- he product comparison page;
- Analytical dashboard;
- Multiple payment options;
- Various shipping and delivery methods.
There are two development approaches you should consider. These are ready-made products and custom software development.
Let’s discuss both of these options briefly so that you could make the right decision for your business:
The main advantages of off-the-shelf products include:
- Affordable price;
- Out-of-the-box solutions are ready to install;
- Regular updates;
- Customer support included in the price.
However, remember that you may lack some important functionality or get extra features you will not need.
Custom software development
Let’s take a quick look at the core benefits of the bespoke software:
- You can make sure that all your specific business needs and requirements are covered;
- All your sensitive data will be secured;
- All hidden risks will be taken into account;
- You will not have to pay for unnecessary functionality;
- New functionality can be added easily.
B2B marketplaces are on the rise now. Statista expects global B2B sales to reach $1.2 trillion by 2021. Given that, more and more entrepreneurs invest in building business-to-business e-commerce platforms.
However, the B2B marketplace domain is more complicated if we compare it with customer-oriented e-commerce platforms. Here you need to understand your target audience and the specifics of the customer journey to succeed.
If you are looking for a reliable software partner to help you launch a business-to-business e-commerce platform, feel free to contact us. We will eagerly deliver a scalable and fast-loading B2B marketplace for you on time and budget.
For more information about building a business-to-business marketplace, check our full article: Online B2B Marketplace Development: Step-by-Step Guide.