Though it’s no news that the B2B ecommerce market consistently grows, now Gartner reports a new trend – according to the latest research, 70% of transactions on enterprise marketplaces will be B2B by 2023. Business buyers are flocking to marketplaces for their versatility, ease of shopping, and centralized payment options.
Whether you are looking to expand your own company’s digital presence with a vertical or horizontal marketplace or are entering the field as a stand-alone marketplace operator, you’ll need a powerful marketplace platform. Here are key B2B marketplace platform features you need and a look at seven of the most powerful B2B marketplace platforms on the market today.
Must-Have Marketplace Features
Marketplace platforms must meet the needs of three different parties:
- Marketplace operator
- Marketplace vendor
- Marketplace buyer
So, the platform must-have features that serve all three parties.
Marketplace operators need features to help them attract and onboard vendors. They want features to allow them to customize the user experience for vendors and buyers. They also need the ability to easily handle payments when orders include items from multiple vendors.
Marketplace vendors are more focused on the customer experience they can create. They are interested in store layout, customization, product catalogs, and price lists. In addition, they want the ability to digitize the quotation process.
Marketplace buyers want a frictionless buying experience that allows them to purchase from multiple vendors on one ticket, maintain a centralized purchasing record, and facilitates easy returns. They also want to define user roles and authorities for their accounts so they can emulate their own organizational hierarchy. If you don’t provide a rich experience to buyers, you won’t attract vendors. Without buyers and vendors, you won’t maintain a marketplace.
Seven Marketplaces to Consider
Start your search with the major players in the marketplace arena. Because this is such a new space, there aren’t many competitors. If you intend on operating your own eCommerce website, you’ll want to make sure the marketplace you pick can serve a dual function.
Here is a rundown on the 7 big players in this space.
OroCommerce is one of the only marketplace eCommerce solutions built for the way B2B does business. In addition to the marketplace solution, you get the functionality to operate an individual eCommerce website from the same back-end. OroMarketplace supports any business model you can imagine, from B2B2B, B2C, or B2X marketplace functionality. A native CRM system is included for use by marketplace operators and vendors. In addition, both vendors and marketplace operators have access to robust reporting functionality as well as a powerful workflow engine for digitizing processes. It comes with features that support seller management, monitoring, and onboarding capabilities. The platform is open source and includes a robust and scalable API with integrations for third-party systems.
Mirakl takes a different approach to marketplace software. It provides the back-end for B2C and B2B marketplace transactions but does not offer a front-end. Instead, it provides APIs and pre-built connectors to create a front-end experience for shoppers. It integrates with enterprise eCommerce solutions such as Magento Commerce, SAP Commerce Cloud, and Salesforce Commerce Cloud. It also offers detailed reporting, product management, product data streamlining tools, and operator and seller monitoring.
If you plan on operating in the EU, you should take a look at IZBERG. Like Mirakl, it is a back-end-only marketplace platform that integrates with storefronts via APIs. IZBERG is designed for B2C and B2B marketplaces and offers support for payment on net terms, invoicing processes, and other common B2B-specific payment options. This marketplace solution supports the sale of physical and digital products as well as services.
AppDirect is laser-focused on providing marketplace solutions for those that sell digital services. This is not for you if your plans include physical products. But AppDirect understands what it takes to provide an integrated B2C and B2B marketplace platform for selling digital products and subscriptions on any platform or device. It integrates with other solutions via API. Originally designed for digital downloads and subscriptions for telecommunications brands, it now can be used for any digital product. AppDirect provides extensive product management and seller onboarding tools customized for the digital product market. In addition, it provides standard marketplace platform features such as onboarding and reporting functionality to attract and retain vendors.
Whether your marketplace is for products, bookings, or services Omnyfy may be the solution for you. In addition to support for B2B marketplaces, it supports B2C marketplaces, and B2B eCommerce (similar to OroMarketplace). The marketplace backend integrates with SAP, Magento, and Shopify. In addition to its out-of-the-box capabilities, it offers modules for shipping integration as well as providing quote functionality or handling product or vendor reviews.
Spryker allows its current B2B and B2C eCommerce licensees to extend into marketplaces with their PaaS marketplace solution. If you don’t currently operate a Spryker webstore, you can still use the platform. The Spryker marketplace platform provides basic onboarding and product management tools and supports a headless architecture for front-end flexibility. It allows multiple vendors to sell the same UPC-coded product and supports bidding and auction business models. The platform also supports unified omnichannel commerce.
Marketplacer is a modular eCommerce marketplace platform for B2B or B2C. The core technology consists of an operator hub and vendor portal. This is augmented by modules to create a separate front end, and support digital products as well as booking events and services. The API allows for integration with Shopify, Magento, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, and other eCommerce platforms.
Comparing the Big 7
To make apples-to-apples comparisons easy, refer to this handy chart of features provided by each of the B2B marketplace platforms.
|Built-in eCommerce system||yes||yes||yes||yes|
|Native B2B support||yes||yes|
|Seller roles and permissions||yes||yes|
|Automatic product/order splitting||yes||yes|
|Product mapping and categorization||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes|
|Reporting for sellers||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes|
|Integrations with tax, accounting, payment gateway, marketing||yes||yes||yes||yes||yes|
|Built-in CRM capabilities||yes|