Understanding What Your Clients Need Contextually
The global marketplace increasingly favors specialty platforms for B2B eCommerce sales, and companies can now design their own international marketplaces or sell on multiple platforms to extend their marketing reach. It’s valuable to leverage these sales, marketing, lead-generating and commission-generating opportunities, but success depends on how well a business handles the challenges of marketplace sales. Specifically, successful companies speak contextually to an audience of varying interests, nationalities and purchasing habits.
It’s critical to manage complex inventory issues, content marketing, multiple languages, Web store connectors and other automatic processes to boost loyalty, build trust and facilitate conversions. A Forrester Consulting study listed the following benefits in developing a world-class global marketplace: 
- It’s easier to generate commission revenue without the associated costs of storing, shipping and manufacturing additional product lines.
- Companies can offer small-run and niche products.
- Marketplace sales provide multiple product lines and associated services on one website.
- Companies can build deeper relationships with existing customers and leverage new clients from different areas.
Best Practices for Building a Global Marketplace Operation
Strategic infrastructure ranks as the single most important criterion in successfully building a global marketplace platform. It’s not as simple as allowing others to display products on the company’s website or offering to ship products internationally. There are language and cultural barriers, tax codes and compliance issues, possible price wars on marketplace platforms among vendors and other issues. This is why you really need to look at a true international eCommerce platform, instead of a SaaS-based off-the-shelf eCommerce product. The top tips for successfully building and managing a better eCommerce solution include the following ideas:
A recent report about building better customer experiences found that maintaining customer engagement was one of the most important priorities for contact centers and, logically, marketplace platforms.  Multilanguage support is critical, and this requires a supportive software infrastructure. Content generation, website copy, whitepapers, product descriptions, instructions, icons and directional arrows need to comply with local languages and display practices to engage customers. Simply translating existing copy isn’t enough; it’s vital to create appealing copy based on local tastes, social media trends and content requirements of the targeted buyer profile.
Multicurrency Shopping Carts
Customers want to pay in their own currency without needing to make complex conversion calculations. That’s why using integrated software is so important because it enables companies to include a multicurrency module to integrate live exchange rates, automatic displays of price in the appropriate currency and real-time updates that display the right price at all times.
Multiple Payment Options
Payment options should include several payment methods if possible, but it’s even more critical to research each country and choose the most popular payment method. One payment provider study determined that choosing a popular local provider can increase conversions by 10 percent.  Partnering with a payment-gateway company with multiple connections also makes sense because it increases the options of rerouting payments through multiple gateways.
There are multiple options for providing region-specific content when the company’s platform has a robust API layer and integrated software. Possible approaches include designing several proprietary designs for each store. Designers can add banners to target buyers from key jurisdictions, and complex coding can provide solutions that adjust everything including images, text, layout and left-to-right or right-to-left placement depending on whether the copy targets one of the seven languages using right-to-left displays.
Adding Foreign Domains
The best proactive strategy for protecting sales and key terms used in website searches is registering international domains. It’s important to register popular, top-level domains such as those using “.com” and other locations. Country-specific domains--such as “co.uk,” ”.fr” and .ca also provide a better eCommerce solution for SEO ranking and optimization of keywords for each locale.
Regulatory requirements are constantly evolving, and when companies market products in many jurisdictions, the problems of compliance increase exponentially. That’s why automated monitoring and real-time updates are so important when operating a marketplace platform. For example, it might be required that each customer reads policy information, or compliance issues could be more challenging such as meeting HIPAA guidelines for health-monitoring products.
It’s critical to offer customers something more than a better price to convince those in foreign jurisdictions to buy products when acceptable local products are available. That’s why website infrastructure is so critical because it can provide a superior experience for researching products, finding specialty items, providing shipping options and delivering seamless self-service ordering experiences. It’s important to research each aspect of providing products in different jurisdictions including whether to use local suppliers, how to tweak products for local tastes, etc.
Building a World-Class Marketplace Operation
Regardless of whether a B2B company sells on multiple marketplace channels, designs a platform where other companies sell industry-specific goods or does both, it’s important to partner with seasoned experts who can develop and integrate software solutions that are customized for your business. The complex challenges of the international marketplace include:
- Overseeing internal price-competition issues
- Ensuring quality assurance across vendors
- Embedding multiple payment solutions
- Determining options for shipping
- Troubleshooting accountability issues
- Creating multilingual marketing and content-creation strategies
- Automating content and Web displays based on geolocation, language and regionalisms
A telling example of the effectiveness of providing native-language content is shown by a recent study that found 42 percent of online Europeans won’t purchase products unless the website is in their own language.  The right software--fully integrated into the platform--can make handling these challenges easy and efficient.
Choosing Your eCommerce Development Partner Proactively
In today’s competitive marketplace marketing, it’s important to develop, upgrade and integrate your software continuously. New decisions are constantly needed, and ongoing monitoring and adjusting just comes with the territory. That’s why you need a team of experienced engineers who can collaborate effectively with to ensure platform security, consistency, scalability and maintainability. Cultivate a long-term relationship with a vendor you can trust to build and manage your marketplace platform or platforms, minimize costs and optimize your sales and marketing. With over a decade of building custom B2B eCommerce marketplaces, Clarity can be that partner for you. Reach out and let’s discuss how we may be able to help you with your international marketplace.
 Mirakl: Retailers Must Seize the Marketplace Opportunity
 Icmi.com: THE GROWING NEED FOR MULTILANGUAGE
 Veinteractive.com: How To Conquer Cross-Border eCommerce and Increase Conversions
 Content.lionbridge.com: How to Perfect Your Multilingual Content Marketing Strategy