A B2B marketplace is a multi-vendor B2B eCommerce portal where multiple sellers connect to multiple buyers. Being different from a single-vendor B2B website, a B2B marketplace features unique capabilities that enable customers to compare, interact, and choose products from the best B2B vendors all over the world. Vendors also benefit from joining B2B marketplaces by expanding their potential customer audience and gaining more visibility for their brand. This virtuous cycle of the growing scale made B2B marketplaces a lucrative business model and presented eCommerce companies with numerous opportunities in every industry.
Originally inspired by B2C marketplaces, marketplaces for B2B eCommerce are a bit more complex due to various multi-vendor use cases, such as bulk ordering, personalized pricing, and bid-to-quote-to-order workflows. We’ll cover the top 10 essential features needed when building your B2B marketplace.
- Multi-Vendor Portal Capabilities
Each vendor using your B2B marketplace should be allowed to easily manage their own company information, contact details, product pages, product catalog, and potentially even price!
- Self-Service Pricing
B2B sellers require full control over their eCommerce pricing configuration just like they would do on their own portal. This includes managing personalized pricing for their clients, real-time pricing integration with their backend systems, and the ability to let their suppliers set the MSRP or actual retail price.
- Security and Confidentiality
Your B2B marketplace platform should offer multi-vendor user management capabilities that protect vendors from seeing pricing, product specifications, and other sensitive information that might enable businesses to knock-off products.
- Filtering and Search Navigation
To enable a smooth buyer experience, advanced filtering and search are critical. Allow users to filter by brands, price range, availability as well as custom attributes created by vendors. Use smart search techniques, such as search autocomplete or product replacement, to enable B2B buyers to quickly find the products they are looking for.
- Flexibility to Edit Purchase Orders
B2B buyers expect greater flexibility when editing their purchase orders. Not only may they require to change their payment method, but also their delivery method, shipping address, payment terms, etc.
- Quote/RFQ/RFP/Order Negotiations
In B2B, buyer-seller interactions may involve multiple cycles of order negotiations before the purchase happens. This means your B2B marketplace should fully address the quote/RFQ/RFP exchange between the two parties from day one. You should also take heed of the best UX practices in regard to a seamless transition from RFQ to formal quote to order in B2B eCommerce.
- Multi-Warehouse Management
Another useful feature for B2B buyers, who usually buy in bulk, is the ability to split their orders to different suppliers, brands, and warehouses depending on inventory availability and negotiations.
- Vendor Comparison/Product Bidding Workflows
Vendor comparison is the primary incentive for buyers to use a B2B marketplace and find the best deal on their every need. Make sure your solution enables buyers looking for a certain product to compare pricing across the multiple vendors who offer the product. To further enhance everyone’s experience, utilize a product bidding capability to allow sellers to create the auction on their products.
- Approved Vendors
Being different from B2C, B2B buyers may only be required to work with the vendors that have been approved by their internal stakeholders. Your B2B marketplace should support these buyer workflows and allow them to easily whitelist their primary vendors.
- Vendor Management
Growing your B2B marketplace has a lot to do with effective vendor engagement and retention. You would also want to identify which vendors perform the best in your market and perpetuate their success stories as well as invite more vendors that hit the same profile. Knowing and managing all this vendor data is only possible through a well-integrated CRM system, which is a great addition to your B2B marketplace. Giving your marketplace vendors themselves access to their own instance of CRM showing their customer buyers so that they could continuously improve their customer relationships is the holy grail.
Why Choose OroCommerce for B2B Marketplace?
OroCommerce offers these and other features to enable you to launch a B2B marketplace that gets everything just right. We address nearly every B2B eCommerce use case with our extensive B2B eCommerce feature set, support numerous integrations with popular third-party solutions, and enable you to set up your own B2B, B2C, or B2X (B2B2B, B2B2C, etc.) scenarios. Applying these capabilities, together with our out-of-the-box OroCRM, to your B2B marketplace vision is how our customer’s success story would begin.