How to Have a Successful B2B Business Model

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A successful B2B Business Model

Provide and Receive Value

A successful marketplace business model for B2B often focuses on industry-specific cost-benefit.

This means that the B2B marketplace is offering value to the market, and there are fundamental benefits available to the business.

In order for this to happen, there have to be those who want to buy what the business is offering. In the B2B case, this is another business.

In other words, a B2B marketplace business model needs to have a foundation of providing value for the businesses receiving their products or services.

Working with Buying Groups

Streamline Logistics of Various Groups

In a B2B marketplace, the customer is often a buying group, necessitating a platform that can work as a group buying platform.

In this case, the marketplace is made of different vendors who are selling at scale, or in large volume. These vendors use known shipment units like pallets or containers that can be completely filled with every order.

There can be an accumulation of orders from business buyers as well, and those buyers can collaborate to build a big order.

B2B marketplace software serves to bring these parties together, and automate and streamline the logistics so that expectations are managed.

It’s also important that the data is transparent, and it’s clear as to how the process works. This helps ensure there’s a well-governed workflow that drives the process from start to finish.

streamline logistics

This process would include searching for something, finding it, and determining the inventory, price, quantity breaks, and logistics. The logistics include things like intermodal shipping, filling containers and LTL shipping, customs, duties, and taxes, and the overall logistics chain.

The B2B marketplace business model needs to enable these relationships and the technology integration between the different manufacturers and distribution groups.

They’ll be providing these items, integrating with their inventory and pricing data, their lead time data, and logistics.

In many cases, there will be physical fulfillment, such as direct drop shipping, where there is no ownership of the physical items for the B2B marketplace team.

Driving these logistics is a huge value that a B2B marketplace will bring.

B2B Marketplace Business Model Requirements

Advanced Logic Features for B2B Business Models

Specific Features for Buying Groups

For a buying group, there may be hard and soft stops with advanced logic, that you probably won’t see in an off-the-shelf marketplace platform.

An enterprise eMarketplace platform, like Clarity eCommerce Framework, will have these advanced logic features and others that a buying group will need.

Buying groups in particular have specific needs, so finding the right platform is especially important.

eAuction Workflows

For example, you may run auctions within your eMarketplace platform. This is useful for businesses looking to clear their inventory, because they can quickly sell items in the auctions.

eAuctions require a unique business workflow. Usually, for large ticket items, there’s a prequalification step, or series of steps, to verify that the buyer has the resources to complete the purchase.

The eAuction software also needs to be advanced notifications and interactions with the bidding process and the auction itself. This includes notifications for the end users, so they’re kept apprised when items they’re interested in come online for bid.

You also need to be able to complete the fulfillment, and have a well-governed interaction between the buyer and seller via the B2B eMarketplace platform.

Industry-Specific Adaptations

This is where a B2B business model differs from a B2C or C2C business model. A B2B marketplace typically has advanced and unique logic based on the industries and niches it’s serving.

Ideally, the B2B and enterprise eCommerce marketplace reflects and adapts to its particular industry.

This will be consistent throughout your business model and the entire system, including your accounting and inventory management, logistics, fulfillment, and data and analytics software.

In other words, the entire business should be looking at how you can serve your customer, which in this case is a B2B customer.

There will be advanced and specific needs that need to be automated, and the B2B marketplace platform needs to be very self-service oriented.

Automation, Research, Partnership

Strategize Your Business Model

Automate Processes

When operating with B2B eMarketplaces, you want to think of it as an opportunity to take any manual processes and turn those into automated processes, wherever it’s logical and reasonable to do so.

Research Other B2B Marketplaces

A good way to get ideas and concepts for various things is by researching and reviewing other B2B marketplaces to see what works for them.

The fundamental situation, though, is that most B2B interactions tend to be more complicated than a B2C or a C2C interaction. Therefore, there will be more nuance and detail to how the workflow needs to go.

Plan Ahead with an Experienced Partner

One of the big things that you can do is map out and strategize how that business workflow is going to go upfront with a partner who has completed the process successfully.

A partner who’s done this successfully would have helped a business go from where they are in their top line revenue and delivering value within their marketplace system, to a much higher level. Or with a business starting from nothing having a brand new presence, they would’ve helped turn it into a successful operation.

It’s helpful to work with someone who’s done both of these things, growing an existing B2B marketplace as well as building a new B2B marketplace. This is because there’s a lot your partner will have learned by taking both of these approaches.

Consider UX Features from B2C and C2C

We also recommend researching what’s working in the B2C and C2C space.

Although there are differences between the B2B and C2C marketplaces and the B2B marketplace, there are many advantages and opportunities for arbitrage, by bringing ideas that are working in those marketplaces over to your B2B marketplace.

In particular, oftentimes the B2B marketplace eCommerce platforms focus on functionality. This may be at the expense of communicating effectively via intuitive user experience (UX).

An example of this would be a search—somebody might be doing a search and not realize they can use different search terms. They can use SKUs, possibly manufacturer-specific SKUs, synonyms, or use filters or other ways of searching.

If the user experience isn’t clear and it’s not messaged properly, or it’s not delineated on the site, the end user may not recognize that they can search in these different ways. They may not find the items they’re looking for, and they might leave the site.

In a similar fashion, it’s helpful to have recommendations and alternative options to choose from.

Many B2B websites won’t necessarily present these other options. These immersive options include related items, items that other customers have purchased, and items recommended based on their browsing history.

You’ll see these features in B2C marketplaces, and they make a lot of sense for B2B marketplaces too.

Consider keeping an open mind and identifying trends within B2C and C2C offerings that you can bring into your B2B marketplace.

It’s also helpful if you work with a partner who has worked with B2C and C2C marketplaces in addition to B2B.

They will be better adept at implementing these technologies and features as they’re coming into the B2C and C2C space, so your B2B marketplace can benefit from those best practices.

Be on the Path to Success

Work with a Successful Partner

Work with a Successful Partner

When you’re working on a B2B marketplace, there’s a lot to consider both about the business model and the technology implementation.

Fundamentally, it’s going to save a significant amount of time to work with a partner who has experience and immediate capability to execute on these strategies and tactics.

It’s reinforcing to your business to work with a partner who has successfully completed growth operations with B2B marketplaces, helping to scale, automate, and fully integrate as well as starting from scratch.

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We Can Help Grow Your B2B Marketplace

If you’re looking for this type of partner, look no further than Clarity Ventures. We would be happy to help you evaluate and discuss your upcoming project, and see if we’re a good fit to help you continue to grow your business.