Consumers and even business owners tend to view B2B marketplaces as a very specific business niche that connects suppliers of goods and services to prospects and existing clients. While that is true, a B2B marketplace is much more than a tool to buy and deliver products. Actually, a B2B platform can play an important part in your overall business strategy. You can both appeal to and service multiple customer audience at once.
An online B2B marketplace enables your business to target individual customers, businesses, vendors and government agencies alike. It also allows you to offer tailored products to each specific target audience, which products can still be based on a single concept.
The B2M Concept
What you get when a global B2B marketplace combines the Business-to-Business and Business-to-Customer concepts. You get a Business-to-Many (B2M) model where B2B and B2C work in parallel. Such a model targets both individuals and organizations to turn the B2B model into a tool for further business development. You also need to be as transparent and honest as brand as possible if you are to reap the benefits.
The B2M concept works also the other way. You can, for instance, use marketplace software to build and develop an online B2B marketplace that serves multiple vendors and enables end-customers to purchase a variety of products within different categories and by different producers. It works as an online supermarket where your target audiences can find products or services from multiple vendors but also in multiple niches.
Elements of Effective B2B Marketplaces
You can experiment with B2B and B2C models as long as you wish but any effective B2B platform, also a B2M one, should have a certain number of components that are developed and tailored to the smallest detail.
- Product Descriptions with Filtering Option
For your B2B marketplace concept to work, you need as detailed product descriptions as possible. It serves both your customers and search engines that index the content of your online marketplace.
You also need a filtering option that works in accordance with selection criteria such as price, features, color or any other product property that matters.
- Downloadable Product Catalogs
You can make an online B2B marketplace work for you even offline. Just add product catalogs customers can download and explore in the comfort of their home or in the office.
A downloadable product catalog is a tool to promote items or services in the long-term as prospects and existing clients will consult it even if they are searching for similar products by your competitors.
- Personalized Recommendations and Prices
An option to customize an online B2B marketplace to the preferences of each user is considered a basic feature now. What you need to invest in is the personalization of offers as well as custom prices for each and every customer.
It is technically possible to track and record the customer preferences and product searches, including abandoned carts and completed purchases. Then, you can recommend specific products and services while offering them at a personalized price that fits your client’s budget.
B2B marketplaces are a great tool to develop your business if you use them the right way. Do not approach a B2B platform as a standalone tool. Use the B2B marketplace model as an integral part of a wider business strategy that enables you to target a varied audience and even completely different audiences.
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