eMarketplace Platform Example for Buying Groups

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example for buying groups
An Upward Spiral of Success

A Success Story for Buying Groups

With marketplace eCommerce, there are a lot of different scenarios that businesses can leverage to enable their specific business model to deliver customer self-service and a robust logistical execution to quickly process and deliver items to their customers and create a pipeline of continual orders and growing top line revenue.

As margins and profits grow, it becomes an upward spiral within the business. Really, the name of the game is getting enough momentum and having a continual process of improvement. One of the best ways to do this, if you’re operating a buyer group business, is to implement a tool, set a framework and an infrastructure with a highly integrated eCommerce platform for buying groups, turn it on, and customize it for the specific workflows that you that you have with your customers. And that's exactly what one of our clients did.

e-Marketplace for Buying Groups

Platform Capabilities for Buying Groups

Certain platform capabilities prove extremely useful for this buying group, and for buying groups in general. Integrations enable and strengthen many of these abilities, and with Clarity’s marketplace eCommerce platform, businesses get a customizable platform tailor-made to suit their unique needs. Let’s go over this example for one of our clients, so you can see Clarity’s work in action.

platform for buying groups
Let's dive into specifics

What Does this Buying Group Do?

They operate a large group of kitchen supplies and very expensive culinary equipment that’s necessary to operate five star and very high-end dining establishments, such as chef restaurants, hotel restaurants, high-end chains, and fine dining franchises.

They are a buying group that allows their customers to purchase for their different locations via this buying group and take advantage of buying group’s purchasing power and their ability to execute logistically.

Ordering and Shipping Operations

So we're talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars of very high-end SKUs that are available from different vendors. And every single one of these items will dropship; so we enable dropship capabilities for our clients. The end customers are able to purchase by having an integrated NetSuite integration for this particular scenario. Each customer can integrate their NetSuite instance into the overall platform to bulk submit orders and have automated ordering. They can also leverage EDI and or a PunchOut Catalog solution as well as generally bulk upload orders using a bulk upload template.

Customer Portals

Some customers—based on some of the dollar amounts of the orders and individual one-off orders—will also make purchases individually via the website itself manually. So you have hundreds and hundreds of these high-end customers that are purchasing and ordering in bulk. The buying group itself has unique pricing per customer and a customer-specific portal for each client that is a member of the buying group. If a customer goes to their portal, they have to log in, and then they get their specific pricing.

Portals Enable Separate Presentations of the Buying Group

There's also a general portal that is public, and a B2C marketplace platform can help selling happen from the buying group to the general public. This is something that the buying group wanted branded as a separate branding and separate presentation for the end user.

That way, the end user, or the consumer side of things could see it as a separate entity, whereas the buying group customers would see the traditional organization that they're used to interacting with. So technically, from a legal perspective, there are actually two separate entities, but from an infrastructure perspective, the eCommerce platform, integrations, all of the complex inner workings are tied to the same source of data.

So they’re able to leverage this overall business that they've built as a buying group and increase the volume and power of the buying group with the vendors and increase the footprint of their purchases by enabling B2C sales as well.

Shipping Logistics Based on Product Variations

This is a very powerful model for this particular client. Because many of the items are quite large, or they're very valuable and expensive and to some extent bulky and possibly fragile in nature because they're so bulky, and they could get damaged in transit; these items have really specific shipping vendors that have to interact with intermodal shipment that ends up being effectively a dropship from the manufacturer to the end purchaser.

Some of these products are a few hundred dollars while others are tens of thousands of dollars per item. Therefore, depending on the products and their dimensional weight, they may be shipped via LTL, freight shipment, or intermodal shipment, or a traditional UPS, FedEx, USPS, etc. It also depends on where the items are coming from and if it’s coming from a different manufacturer, but it will almost always end up being dropship and split shipments.

The Buying Group’s Hard and Soft Stops

The client also has hard and soft stops so they can enable the buying group to accumulate orders, and once they reach a certain threshold, the order gets fulfilled at the discounted rates that everyone is looking for. These are some of the components that are built in.

Whenever there is a LTL or intermodal shipment, we integrate with a very robust shipping provider that has their own APIs. We provide dimensional weight, destination, and origin information in real time rate estimates and timeline for these shipments, via the user’s shipping estimator section of the checkout page.

hard and soft stops

Real-Time Data

In real time, the end user can see their specific pricing and tax data, as well as shipping information, from our integration with Avalara.  And they can see if there is a hard or soft stop, if there is a need to increase the quantity, to get a certain price, how things are going to be split out amongst their shipment, etc.

In addition, when the order is completed, all of the data is automatically synced into the respective ERP system. This can be done both from the purchasing customer level if they have a NetSuite instance, and then from the buying group who utilizes NetSuite as well.

This is a really robust integration to enable this very self-service and highly integrated model for enterprise marketplace eCommerce and in this particular configuration of buying group that's leveraging it.

Improving Customer Experience

This particular buying group is also leveraging advanced SEO, analytics, and tracking. This includes the enhanced eCommerce, Google, Google Analytics via the Google Tag manager, as well as custom analytics and tracking that are built into the Clarity eCommerce marketplace platform.

This allows us to provide long term strategies around transactional emails that can be sent to specific categories or personas based on browsing and purchasing behavior. We can break out segments of the users and provide them with relevant recommendations, as well as generally make their browsing experience much more intuitive so they can see previously viewed items, purchases, and recommendations, including items are new, highly rated, and a good fit based on history.


Clarity Can Help

Clarity eCommerce marketplace platform is well suited for buying groups and other enterprise organizations that need robust capabilities, a self-service offering, and a scalable solution that can handle millions of products and perform excellently while integrating to internal systems.

If this sounds like exactly what you need, then get in touch with one of our experts, and we’ll be happy to discuss your goals, challenges, and what Clarity can do for you. Click the button below to contact us.

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