Which go to market strategies choose for a B2B marketplace?
The B2B features are crucial to creating a trust environment, ie where products are updated regularly and where delivery is ensured. In addition to those features, B2B marketplaces are meant to fit within a larger ecosystem of softwares. More often than not, B2B sellers will need the marketplace to be integrated with their CRM (customer relationship management) or their PIM (product information management) software. On the other end of the spectrum, buyers might want to plug their marketplace on their company’s accounting software…
Communication between all those different blocks is crucial to maintaining accurate stock and product information, but also to avoiding unsuccessful transactions. Eventually, it all comes down to making the life of your customers easier (buyers and sellers alike), and keeping them engaged. Those are just a few examples of how, of all the features they might have, connectivity might be the most crucial one to a B2B marketplace.
There are several ways of creating such an adaptable marketplace. We will draw a line between two different approaches; the connected and the SaaS based approach.
This approach implies that you go to market directly with a fully functional marketplace.
This marketplace needs updates and redesigns to integrate new features and integrations (with sellers and buyers’ software suites). Connections are done by flat file or API most of the time and are performed by the suppliers themselves and external integrators, or through e-commerce feed solution such as Lengow.
SaaS based marketplaces are slightly different from both a technical and a business perspective. It is a simple, 2 steps approach.
Step 1: you put on the market a software (of order management for instance) specifically targeted at either buy side or sell side of the marketplace.
Step 2: Once that first batch of user is locked in, you have ensured a critical mass on at least one side of the marketplace, you launch it full scale. The already existing supply/demand base serves as a honeypot to onboard massively on the other side.