What is a B2B marketplace?
Ever growing Business-to-business marketplaces, popularly called B2B marketplaces are changing the ways of doing business. These online marketplaces have immense potential, both for buyers and suppliers, thanks to their smooth transaction processes and global reach.
What is a B2B marketplace?
B2B marketplace is an Internet based online platform where buyers and sellers can communicate and do business transactions. The buyers here are not consumers, they are businesses and can be anyone- wholesalers, retailers, and other traders in a specific industry. These marketplaces act as vertical search engines. Vertical search engines contain information about a specific industry or industries. For example, a fabrics B2B marketplace will contain information only about fabric manufacturers whereas a beads B2B marketplace will enlist beads manufacturers only. There are certain bigger marketplaces like indiamart.com that include manufacturers and suppliers of various industries. Thus, a B2B marketplace means serious business and is different from B2C platforms that connect businesses with consumers.
Why a B2B marketplace?
Many researches and surveys have been conducted about the search behavior of business and professional users. These studies say when the professionals use general purpose search engines like Google and Yahoo, they don't get specific information about their work related queries. A keyword based search can give diverse results in the form of scattered information contained in various websites, blogs etc. not necessarily useful for business purposes.
On the contrary, the vertical searches on B2B marketplaces or B2B trade directories (B2B trade specific Web sites) give the required business related information needed by the professionals. If we take the earlier example of a fabrics marketplace, we can relate to other professionals say a ribbons wholesaler. It will be much easier for him to search ribbon suppliers on a narrow fabrics B2B marketplace. These specialized websites have at least two advantages over general search engines. In the first place, they exactly know what are the needs of their targeted community and have complete knowledge about their requirements. Secondly, they can make hard assumptions based on their sound knowledge and make the search activity a fruitful one through expert organization of the product contents.
B2B marketplace and its Potential
B2B marketplace uses its potential for the benefit of buyers and sellers. It gives them instant access to a global audience.
Benefits to the Buyers:
A B2B marketplace removes all the geographical barriers and buyers get access to a number of new suppliers.
Access to user friendly and smooth online transaction processing lowers the transaction costs and saves time.
Buyers can compare the products and services offered on a marketplace for efficient purchasing decisions.
Delivery tracking is also easier apart from assurance of quality by established B2B marketplaces having their own brand value.
Benefits to the Suppliers:
When a supplier does business locally, his market is limited. A B2B marketplace gives an opportunity to do business globally and explore new markets.
Online sales processing minimizes the need of other human and material resources thereby reducing overhead costs in a significant manner.
The listed products are combined with the eCatalog (suppliers' directory) and seller's Web Store which helps in converting a potential buyer into an actual buyer.
Apart from product listings, B2B portals also include many other features such as discussion groups, latest industry news, and other business oriented information that can be used by the companies to expand their business.
In fact, B2B marketplaces have proved to be one-stop business solutions for buyers as well as suppliers.
By Deepa RC
B2B marketplace is gaining great significance in today's corporate world. It is acting as one of the effective business tools. Initially there was less importance for online B2B marketplace. Gradually, the perception of people changed when they saw the benefits of using this tool. They realized that the returns are much wider compared to other tools of marketing. So, several businesses started using this technique for improving their business operations.
Considering their features and capabilities B2B marketplaces are still quite underused. However, the trend is changing and many companies started to realize the immense potential these promising online channels store. Now the common view considering adoption of a marketplace as a sales or purchase channel will change the way a company handles its sales and procurement bringing improved productivity and sustained profitability to its bottom line.