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What is a B2B Marketplace?

A B2B marketplace is an online platform that brings together B2B buyers and sellers on one website so that they can perform transactions. B2B (business-to-business) denotes transactions between businesses, so the shopping experience of marketplaces must meet the supply and purchasing needs of businesses.

B2B marketplaces can be described in different ways. They are sometimes referred to as B2B e-procurement websites, sourcing portals, purchasing platforms, multi-vendor marketplaces, supplies catalogs, and more.

Like their B2C (business-to-consumer) counterpart, B2B marketplace platforms allow sellers to reach a wider audience and expand beyond their traditional footprint. A B2C marketplace like Amazon hosts retailers who sell to end-consumers, but B2B online marketplace end-users can be distributors, retailers, brands, exporters, or manufacturers selling to other businesses by units or in bulk, using a B2B wholesale marketplace.

B2B marketplaces for enterprises can be global, offering a wide variety of products (Amazon Business); vertical, offering many of the same types of products (SupplyCore); or horizontal, offering different products but with similar characteristics (e.g. used goods, like thredUp).

A common type of online marketplace is a one-to-many marketplace. Supplier-oriented marketplaces have many buyers but few sellers. An example is a corporation managing quotations or proposals from a large pool of buyers. Buyer-oriented marketplaces have many sellers and a single buyer like a government or a school board. A wholesale B2B marketplace provides an opportunity to sell and buy products in bulk. Global marketplaces target customers around the world, while local marketplaces are confined to a certain area.

Sourcing, procurement, and vendor management (SPVM) professionals love the versatility of marketplaces. Buyers can fulfill a variety of their purchasing needs with a single onboarding process and maintain a central record of purchases and quotes. Sellers can increase their revenue by reaching customers they might otherwise miss, and marketplace operators can make money from new revenue models, like commissions, subscriptions, listing fees, and more.

Business Benefits of a Multi-Vendor B2B Marketplace Platform

Discover how top B2B marketplaces transform your business to achieve cost savings alongside new revenue streams and optimize customer retention, marketing costs, and the supply chain management.

  1. Change the Way You Do Business

    Think beyond the strategy of selling directly to customers. Start facilitating transactions between third-party sellers, wholesale suppliers, retailers, and their customers. Efficiently grow your marketplace by adding vendors, products, and services. Enrich your core offerings without investing in additional inventory, marketing, or manufacturing and warehousing facilities. Move beyond linear selling relationships and leverage the power of partnerships.

    When you see business through the lens of a B2B marketplace platform, you’ll see new opportunities and strategies and look at your entire organization differently. Harness the power of the B2B eCommerce marketplace and your digital transformation will completely transform your business model and operations. Prepare now for the new market, new customer expectations, and new ways of doing business.

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  2. Create Your Own Ecosystem

    Don’t be walled in by the limits of your upstream suppliers and the constraints of your downstream customers. See beyond to a complete ecosystem where technology vendors, financial service providers, complementary and even competing vendors engage in commerce with new participants to the benefit of all.

    You’ll greatly improve customer satisfaction through expanded offerings – becoming the first place customers will search when they start their buying journey. Transform your value chain into a rich value distribution fabric by removing friction, solving challenges, and bringing industry participants together in a 24/7 ecosystem that scales and evolves to meet their needs.

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  3. Enjoy New Revenue Streams

    Ensure business growth by generating new revenue streams from commissions, service fees, advertising, technical service offerings, logistics services, and even payment processing without increasing your overhead costs. Once your B2B marketplace platform is established, you can even expand your brand offerings into new niches identified within the marketplace and benefit from new sources of revenue you didn’t even know existed.

    A B2B eCommerce marketplace allows you to leverage existing suppliers and generate additional profit for you as you help them grow their sales. You can even generate revenue when your competitor makes a sale. Your eCommerce B2B site becomes an in-demand destination: it allows you to sell services, subscriptions, and build relationships. It’s easier to grow and expand into a new market. Eventually, you’ll unlock greater financial rewards.

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B2C and B2B Marketplaces are Not the Same

B2B marketplaces are built for the needs of B2B eCommerce. B2C market solutions just aren’t up to the challenge of serving buyers and sellers in a marketplace for B2B. It takes a platform built for B2B eCommerce. Unlike their B2C counterparts, business-focused marketplaces support the complexities and best practices of B2B sales through:

  • Bulk ordering and checkout capabilities
  • Invoice, quote, RFP, and negotiation workflows
  • Purchase order acceptance functionality
  • Pricing, products, and marketing personalization
  • Unique pricing with tiered or quantity discounts
  • B2B-friendly payment methods and terms

10 Best B2B eCommerce Marketplaces

Alibaba

Founded in 1999, Alibaba is both a B2B and B2C marketplace, enabling businesses and consumers to sell and purchase bulk products. Alibaba’s B2B online marketplace has 150+ million registered members, over 150,000 sellers, and 10+ million active buyers, with one-third of them coming from the US.

Amazon Business

Amazon Business was established in 2015 and is one of the most popular B2B eCommerce marketplaces. Amazon Business reports sales of about US $19 billion per year. One of their key differentiating features is their exclusive discounts and quantity discounts. They have also allowed multiple payment systems to ease the shopping process and exempt tax.

eWorldTrade

eWorldTrade is a full-service B2B marketplace with more than a 10-year experience in digital branding and web building. eWorldTrade now has over 500,000 registered members and is rapidly growing its database of manufacturers, suppliers, and wholesalers. This platform offers 10 free leads to any registered user who is known for offering the lowest wholesale rates and the fastest delivery services.

Global Sources

Established in 1971, Global Sources has over 49 years of operation as one of the trusted B2B marketplace companies in Hong Kong. The platform has a customer-centric approach with a consistent 1.5 million buyers from around the globe. Same as Alibaba and other marketplaces, Global Sources provides you with an optimized storefront with a friendly user interface.

TradeFord

TradeFord is a trusted online B2B eCommerce marketplace operating as a forum. Wholesale companies can register an account, sell products, and add their business to the Tradeford directory. Since Tradeford is a marketplace that operates in forums, you can also participate in answering and promoting your brand on any related topics from buyers to earn leads.

Tundra

Launched in 2017 as a wholesale platform, Tundra is the best place for independent sellers and business owners to buy merchandise from Canada and USA. Joining the platform is pretty simple as well and does not require any transaction fees. If you pay for the PRO package, you’ll also get access to free shipping. To access this package, you’ll need to spend around $500 per month on Tundra.

DHGate

If you have a small and medium-sized business, then DHgate is the best platform for you to sell your products. On this platform, thousands of merchants are selling their products under hundreds of categories. Although most merchants are from china, they encourage buying and selling globally.

ThomasNet

ThomasNet is one of the leading B2B platforms offering a broad range of goods. ThomasNet caters to the widespread demand of various industries by offering more than 490,000 suppliers and buyers. This platform offers a detailed view of suppliers, maintaining secure transparency between sellers and buyers.

SupplyHog

SupplyHog is a niche B2B marketplace that allows local and nationwide partners to buy hardware and building supplies. Merchants can list various products, from plumbing equipment to housewares, and easily sell products across the United States.

PartsBase

As the world’s top provider of aviation parts to aviation, defense, and aerospace purchasers, PartsBase runs a demanding sales operation featuring 100,000,000+ inventory lines from almost 5,000 sellers, with over 9 million offers and RFQs processed annually.

Why Choose Oro for Your B2B Marketplace?

Multi Organization Capabilities

Why place limits on how well your multi-vendor marketplace does? Oro’s B2B marketplace platform is built with enterprise-grade flexibility in mind. Easily scale up to accommodate new inquiries, order quantities, suppliers, product data, and customers without affecting marketplace performance.

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Built for B2B

Based on the same robust architecture as the #1 B2B eCommerce platform, OroCommerce, OroMarketplace simplifies the complexities of B2B selling. Gain the flexibility to configure inventory management, order fulfillment data, and separate seller accounts with multiple permission levels. Attract new and retain existing customers using the convenience of a cost-effective marketplace built specifically for B2B transactions.

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Powerful Pricing Engine

Support for complex pricing rules ensures every order and every quote gets the right price. OroMarketplace supports various pricing strategies required by operators, sellers, and diverse B2B marketplaces, types, verticals, and monetization models. Showcase only the relevant prices to the correct buyer.

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Streamlined Negotiation Capabilities

Whether you’re a manufacturer engaging in a wholesale B2B marketplace or distributing products with value-add services, we got your ordering needs covered. Vendors and buyers will love the ease of the automated Bid to Quote to Order and Request for Proposal processes. Digitize the negotiation process and speed up the sales cycle, from ordering to delivery.

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Multiple Payment Options

B2B marketplaces require diverse payment options, workflows, fee-splitting, and more. OroMarketplace lets you support credit, debit, ACH, terms, and all other popular forms of making payments. Drive the digitalization of the credit approval process to the delight of sellers and buyers.

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Easy Integration

Reduce friction by integrating with multiple systems and businesses. Readily available APIs allow 2-way instantaneous data sync between your B2B marketplace solution, ERP, CRM, WMS, 3PL. Use Oro’s native commerce CMS stack made for B2B marketplaces and support your buyers’ front-end experiences or connect via our APIs to any CMS of your choice.

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Flexible and Customizable

OroMarketplace conforms to how you want to build and manage your multi-vendor marketplace. We never ask you to change how you do business to fit the software. In addition, open-source software tools are completely customizable – so you can accommodate new channels and markets or respond to changes in customer demand.

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B2B eCommerce Marketplaces Create Value for All Players

With B2B marketplaces, everyone wins. Buyers get a frictionless purchasing experience and sellers enter markets they may not even know exist. A marketplace B2B destination makes everyone’s job easier.

Marketing Leaders

Marketing Leaders

Marketplaces are one of the greatest disrupters to B2B eCommerce in the last 5 years. Adopt a new marketing strategy to access markets that otherwise represent walled-off gardens.

Technology Directors

Technology directors

Enrich your offerings through complementary electronics payment, credit, and logistics services while maintaining your core competency and security.

SPVM Professionals

SPVM Professionals

Streamline your provision processes with a B2B platform, take advantage of a wider selection of suppliers and products, and destroy the perception that procurement is a bottleneck.

Frequently Asked Questions about B2B Marketplaces

What is a B2B marketplace?

The B2B marketplace is the place where B2B sellers and vendors can perform online transactions. B2B marketplace portal allows distributors and wholesalers to attract buyers and simplify the buying user experience for them, as well as for the internal team of marketplace operators. As marketplaces grow, they become stronger, capture new markets, and attract more seller and customer traffic.

At the same time, a B2B marketplace site is different from business-to-consumer (B2C), consumer-to-business (C2B), or consumer-to-consumer (C2C), and retail marketplaces.

One aspect of selling to businesses is that B2B transactions are higher value, and there are more of them. Purchases may require a series of steps, including approvals and compliance with legal and regulatory requirements. The ordering process is different, too: B2B buyers use shopping lists (instead of shopping carts) for orders creation and re-ordering.

Advanced marketplace B2B platforms enable automation and coordination of buying and selling processes, helping you tap into the new client base.

What are the types of B2B marketplaces?

B2B marketplaces can sell products, services, or bookings. They can also be divided into vertical, horizontal, or global. Vertical marketplaces tend to target a narrow audience in a specific B2B market, such as finished parts, services, or raw materials. Horizontal marketplaces sell products across industries. A global marketplace targets customers around the world, while a local marketplace is localized to a certain area.

There are other terms used to describe marketplaces. The term pure-play marketplace refers to businesses displaying, selling, and fulfilling products online without an offline presence. Supplier-oriented or wholesale marketplaces describe scenarios with few suppliers but many buyers. A buyer-oriented or eProcurement marketplace is the opposite, having many sellers but few buyers. However, the few buyers are usually large corporations or government-affiliated clients.

What are the monetization models of B2B marketplaces?

Marketplaces operate over diverse monetization models. A marketplace B2B strategy may make use of one or a combination of different monetization options. The commission-based model is a popular one, where sellers pay the commission fee per product dictated by the marketplace operator. The membership or subscription-based model usually charges a monthly or yearly cost to the seller, while a listing fee model charges the provider for submitting a product to the platform.

What are some examples of successful B2B marketplaces?

Two famous global B2B marketplaces are Alibaba and Amazon Business. However, the marketplace trend is quickly spreading to different verticals, ecosystems, and locations.

Diplonova, a French-only service marketplace targeting small businesses, is one successful marketplace case. FoodMaven is an example of a vertical marketplace. It’s an online food services marketplace aimed strictly at the restaurant and hospitality industry. A horizontal marketplace sells a specific type of product or service to multiple industries. Grainger, a popular B2B distributor, entered the B2B marketplace space with Zoro, a horizontal marketplace for business supplies, equipment, and tools.

How do you set up a B2B marketplace?

To build a successful online B2B marketplace, you need to carefully analyze your business niche, goals, B2B industry needs. After all, a marketplace will only be successful if it brings real value to customers. Start with the basics, such as performing research and surveying your customers. This will help you formulate the vision, key differentiators for your marketplace, and crucial metric considerations.

Once you identify what you want to achieve, you can explore the different monetization models and features you want to include in your marketplace. Next, you’ll need to learn how to build a multi-vendor marketplace and create a minimum viable product (MVP). An MVP is a bare-bones model of your marketplace designed to further collect feedback, validate the need for your marketplace, and add improvements iteration after iteration.

The MVP approach offers you the flexibility to add more features or change the direction based on what your customers (and employees) want before it’s too late. Either way, your B2B marketplace management system needs to be flexible enough to support you every step of the way.

What is the best platform for a B2B wholesale marketplace?

A great B2B wholesale marketplace enables every member of the platform, be it the operator, the buyer, or the seller, to perform key marketplace functions with ease. Such a platform allows:

  • The management of roles and permissions for buyers, vendors, and the marketplace operator
  • The support for multiple monetization and pricing strategies
  • Personalized payment methods, including invoices
  • Discount and promotion engine to create personalized offers and coupons
  • Automated RFQ/RFP processes
  • Order splitting and routing features
  • Multiple warehouses management
  • Expert online support

OroMarketplace is among the few platforms on the market that offers these capabilities in a comprehensive package. We offer our experience and expertise to enable wholesale businesses to launch fast and start benefitting from a new business model.

Discover what makes OroMarketplace unique and what advantages it offers over other B2B marketplace solutions.

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