Benefits of a Multi-store Marketplace Platform
B2B internet sales are basically divided into two broad categories: direct-sales websites and marketplace platforms (multi-store eCommerce). Direct sales in B2B are handled on proprietary company websites, but more and more wholesalers are selling a broader range of goods by offering multi-store eCommerce on their platforms. Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Alibaba and Flipkart are examples of marketplace platforms that earn billions of dollars selling other companies' products.
The B2B sector is ideal for thematic multi-store sales such as janitorial supplies, construction equipment, paper goods, advertising specialties, landscaping tools and other categories of merchandise and/or services. About 93 percent of B2B buyers now prefer to buy online.  Having all related products available on one location can help to attract and retain a wide cross-section of buyers--especially when the platform offers the advanced user-friendly features that full integration can generate. Clarity eCommerce provides that global and robust B2B marketplace platform, coupled with Clarity Connect, which provides the integration platform needed to connect your marketplace to your ERP, CRM, EMR, PIM, Supply Chain or any other 3rd party or back-office application.
Benefits of a Marketplace Platform
Savvy B2B entrepreneurs foresee big benefits from adopting the multi-store sales model. It costs a lot of money to build a catalog, track inventory, hire management staff and update product descriptions and prices. However, selling for other vendors means that most of these duties fall to those vendors. Marketplace operations can earn commissions and fees without carrying inventory and spending time and money on all those other sales and marketing duties. The benefits of running a multi-store marketplace include:
Ability to Set the Rules
- Subject to negotiation, marketplaces can set their own rules and even arrange for vendors to accept all responsibility for uploading their own products, setting their own prices, product deliveries and product quality.
Sell Existing Products
- Companies that already sell products can continue to do so as the prime supplier of the marketplace while opening certain areas--often less profitable--to other vendors.
Increase the Range of Available Products
- The investment of carrying niche products and hard-to-find items can prove prohibitive in ordinary eCommerce. Adding vendors increases product range without the problems of buying, carrying inventory or manufacturing products that might sit on shelves and tie-up the cash needed for faster moving items.
Gain Access to All Vendor Sales Data
- Every sale passes through the platform's ERP software. These multi-store operations usually integrate their business applications to manage the complexities of selling the products of multiple vendors. Every transaction is consequently recorded and can be transmitted electronically to every relevant business application (ERP, CRM, etc.) in real-time.
Increase Traffic and Exposure
- Having a range of vendors attracts a larger numbers of platform visitors. Vendor marketing and SEO efforts will also benefit the platform.
Provide Customers with Turnkey Ordering Solutions
- B2B customers enjoy being able to order all their supplies from one platform. Offering a comprehensive multi-store operation will attract more big buyers who can order everything they need on a single site. B2B solutions, like Clarity eCommerce, also provide many ways for returning customers to re-order easily and quickly.
Client Branding for High-profile Customers
- Stores can market luxury brands or names known for high-quality in specific stores-within-stores in marketplace platforms.
Managing Multiple Vendors Automatically
Multi-store eCommerce solutions can be a bit more difficult than simple website sales because of the sheer volume of sales and greater number of unique pricing tiers, dynamic pricing integrations, catalogs, sub-catalogs and customer self-service features necessary to deliver consistent outstanding experiences to each platform visitor. That’s why it’s critical that marketplace platforms be fully integrated. Integration automates processes, calculates commissions, distributes sales information to each stakeholder and enables a suite of customer self-service options. Integration enables complex benefits such as allowing vendors to choose their own search keywords and metadata. Vendors can also create pre-approved product catalogs for their customers that limit the number of products that certain departments or company stakeholders can order. The platform should also allow the vendors to easily upload their own products, managing stock quantities and pricing, as well as viewing their sales reports.
Punch-out Store Alternatives to Building a Full Marketplace Operation
B2B companies don't need to make all-or-nothing decisions to invest a large amount of capital in a marketplace operation. The punch-out store is a workable alternative for managing multiple vendors on a more modest sales platform. Punch-out stores, or sub-catalogs, allow B2B companies to display all or parts of the catalogs of other vendors on their sales platform. That allows customers to order a wider range of products in much the same way as marketplace platforms do.
Integration Powers Marketplace Operations
Integration enables a host of marketing benefits such as delivering custom content to buyers.  About 13.90 percent of B2B decision-makers report that content relevance is the most critical issue in successful marketing. That figure increases geometrically when content must be managed for multiple vendors and thousands of SKUs.
Regardless of whether you build a full marketplace solution, offer vendors a punch-out catalog or decide to sell your own products using a marketplace platform, integrating your back-office appllications is important. Any B2B marketer can benefit from greater efficiency, streamlined operations and more powerful customer self-service features. Building your platform requires the kind of skill and collaboration that the best B2B developers offer their clients. Experienced developers can shepherd you through the process and recommend whether to build a multi-store marketplace or just offer punch-out catalogs to increase your product range. Clarity, for over 13 years, has designed and built an Enterprise robust eCommerce marketplace and integration platform that can house one to thousands of stores and millions of SKUs. Give us a call today to discuss your marketplace or integration project.
 Magnetoitsolutions: B2B E-commerce Trends 2018
 Ironpaper.com: 15+ B2B Marketing Statistics: What is Relevant for 2018