Frost & Sullivan forecasts B2B e-commerce to hit past $12 trillion dollars globally by 2020. According to senior researcher and analyst at Front & Sullivan, Archana Vidyasekar, this trend will rely heavily on B2B online retail, pointing to the popularity of platforms such as Alibaba and AmazonSupply.
B2B marketplaces are your friends – not a competition. The goal is to maximize sales. To do so, you need to select and choose the best portal to suit your sales channel needs.
While webshops are convenient and cost less in the long-term, they are limited in some other ways – ways that an organization can use online platforms/marketplaces to leverage on.
Here is a look at some of the reasons why you should use B2B marketplaces as an additional sales channel.
More B2B buyers on B2B marketplaces
Unless you are dealing with highly niche products, an online platform is likely to earn you a wider exposure compared to your own webshop. Furthermore, more B2B customers want to experience more of what B2C marketplaces have done to improve speed, convenience, and trust.
The growing trend is for online platforms to bring in a large selection of diverse and enlightened customers – a catalog of potential buyers you might not have reached out to alone with a webshop.
Because the B2B online platform is in the business of attracting more customers, it will usually explore, test and approve or disapprove diverse marketing tactics.
Studies into buyer psychology have shown time and again that buyers are only going to buy from a platform they know already exists. Online platforms are better equipped, willing to test and market themselves on multiple platforms to create the necessary kind of awareness they need to sign up more buyers and sellers. This means higher scalability potential for the seller.
As a seller, a B2B marketplace takes care of the marketing aspect and the potentially specialized and hefty skills and costs involved, respectively.
You’ll need that feedback system
Most webshops lack an elaborate online review system, only settling for shopping-cart-only portals. The few that do, simply install a simple CMS system. Most B2B marketplaces or online platforms give priority to integrating an elaborate feedback system into their sites.
More buyers are attracted to marketplaces for this particular reason. B2B buyers want to assess how you have dealt with other buyers before. They want to know how you have responded (if at all) to both positive and negative comments.
B2B transactions are complex and take time and lots of correspondence. By passing this litmus test, you earn buyers’ trust; that you will be with them every step of the engagement.
Gains from the competition
Both B2B and B2C online platforms are characterized by their diverse number of suppliers and buyers. While this increases competition among sellers, it is also an opportunity to analyze what the competition is doing to gain more business.
You can do so right on the B2B marketplace/online platform site with very little research as opposed to finding out independently.
Saving on time and costs for handling logistics
Worthy B2B marketplaces provide specialized infrastructure for handling various logistical needs for both ends – buyer and seller. These include strong buyer protection programs such as money back guarantees that many standalone webshops are not willing to incorporate.
It takes considerable time, IT skills, and costs to maintain a webshop. This is taken care of while using a B2B online platform.
For example, B2B products can be quite complex. Online platforms already have installed configurators to help buyers to customize their product searches down to specific specifications, freeing your employees to take care of other business.
Specialized infrastructure and advanced algorithm
Most webshops implement simple CMS systems to deal with incoming and outgoing customer requests. Unfortunately, simple CMS systems can crash or slow down over time and with increased online traffic.
Most B2B online platforms configure dedicated servers and algorithm, and research on best practices to gain and retain buyers on the site. Also, online platforms appeal to more buyers because they offer wide product comparisons, an all-in-one shopping destination with sleek and wide checkout options.
Clearly, there are advantages to using B2B online platforms to top up your webshop and online sales funneling strategy. You can decide to flush out the webshop vs. online marketplaces debate and use both. Having more outreach channels translates to a wider supplier/customer base.
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