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B2B marketplace development: best practices

The article was initially published on Codica Blog

Forrester predicts that US B2B (business-to-business) e-commerce transactions will reach $1.8 trillion by 2023. So it seems that now is a good time to create a B2B marketplace.

Thinking about where to start? This guide covering the key stages of B2B marketplace development will be a good help.

The definition of a B2B marketplace

In simple terms, a B2B marketplace is a website where sellers and service providers offer their products to other companies.

Such platforms are famous for the specific payment options that differ from payment gateways on B2C e-commerce websites. They include bank transfers, paper checks, and wire transfers.

Classification of B2B marketplaces

Speaking about business-to-business e-commerce websites, we cannot but mention their main types. They are as follows:

Vertical B2B marketplaces - focus on a specific niche or target audience;
Horizontal B2B platforms - offer a wide range of products to all kinds of companies;
Product-based B2B multi-vendor marketplaces - sell physical goods. The examples are Global Source and Alibaba.
Service-based business-to-business websites - provide different services from content creating to event management. The most well-known marketplaces are TopTal and Upwork.


How to build a B2B marketplace in 5 smart steps

1. Identify your prospective buyers


For B2B clients, the customer journey is long and complicated. A lot of people are engaged in decision-making. You should consider the needs, opinions, and job functions of all of them.

Besides, B2B companies are concerned about the welfare of their business. It means that they will make a purchase only if there is a strong need for your solution. Hence, your task is to find the best possible way to address their pain points with your product.

2. Come up with an uncanny value proposition

With a compelling, catching value proposition, you increase your chances to stand out from the competitors.

Wonder what qualities make a well-executed value proposition? Basically, it should be clear, specific, and unique.

3. Take care of the UX

Below you can see several UX design principles you should adhere to when designing a B2B marketplace:

- Avoid vibrant colors. Replace them with subtle shades. This way, you will make your B2B e-commerce website more professional.
- Allow users to check whether the product is available and move to a quick checkout.
- Do not forget to set automatic recurring purchases. Thus, your clients will be able to save their precious time.
- Make sure that the sign-up process is plain and simple.
- Upload demos, whitepapers, and social proofs to ensure trust in your B2B marketplace.
- Create well-defined categories for all your products so that the customers could find them easily.

The product categories on Grainger, a B2B website offering industrial supplies, look the following way:

4. Choose the functionality wisely

As for the basic functionality of your B2B marketplace, the following features should be implemented in the first place:

- The sign up page;
- Company/ customer profile;
- Product catalog;
- Advanced search and filters;
- A convenient reordering and replenishing system;
- Reviews and rating;
- The product comparison page;
- Analytical dashboard;
- Multiple payment options;
- Various shipping and delivery methods.

5. Find the most suitable development approach

There are two development approaches you should consider. These are ready-made products and custom software development.

Let’s discuss both of these options briefly so that you could make the right decision for your business:

Out-of-the-box solutions

The main advantages of off-the-shelf products include:
- Affordable price;
- Out-of-the-box solutions are ready to install;
- Regular updates;
- Customer support included in the price.

However, remember that you may lack some important functionality or get extra features you will not need.

Custom software development

Let’s take a quick look at the core benefits of the bespoke software:
- You can make sure that all your specific business needs and requirements are covered;
- All your sensitive data will be secured;
- All hidden risks will be taken into account;
- You will not have to pay for unnecessary functionality;
- New functionality can be added easily.

Cost of B2B marketplace development


Are you curious about the cost of building a B2B e-commerce website? We bet you are. Luckily, we can offer you a rough estimate.
Here we should take into account two important factors. These are the development approach and required functionality.
The table below shows the approximate cost of marketplace website development.
So based on an average hourly rate of $45/hour, the approximate cost of a B2B marketplace platform can be about $48,510, if your software development partner comes from Eastern Europe.


How can Codica help with B2B marketplace development?


Since 2015, Codica team has created multiple online marketplace projects. With our solutions, customers were able to increase conversions and sales and grow their business.

Case study: Multi-vendor vehicle marketplace
We are always happy to show our best practices and solutions we have successfully delivered. The project would like to share with you today is the first vehicle marketplace in Africa.
A customer requested us to help with building an online marketplace for buying and selling vehicles.

The key project requirements were:
- Extensive platform with multiple local vehicle marketplaces;
- Straightforward interaction between vendors and buyers;
- Simple and intuitive UX design;
- Local currency for each website;
- Possibility to quickly build and publish new websites.

The solution delivered
Our team built an extensive platform with 89 local vehicle marketplaces successfully operating. 72 local currencies and 15 languages were implemented in the process of building and publishing new websites.

We focused on designing a solution, initially customized for mobile use. For this purpose, we made sure that the behavior, functionality, and appearance of the platform was fully in line with mobile UI. In terms of UX, the marketplace website is very user-friendly and convenient for both buyers and vendors.

To get more information about the project, check the full case study

Conclusion

B2B marketplaces are on the rise now. Statista expects global B2B sales to reach $1.2 trillion by 2021. Given that, more and more entrepreneurs invest in building business-to-business e-commerce platforms.

However, the B2B marketplace domain is more complicated if we compare it with customer-oriented e-commerce platforms. Here you need to understand your target audience and the specifics of the customer journey to succeed.

If you are looking for a reliable software partner to help you launch a business-to-business e-commerce platform, feel free to contact us. We will eagerly deliver a scalable and fast-loading B2B marketplace for you on time and budget.

For more information about building a business-to-business marketplace, check our full article: Online B2B Marketplace Development: Step-by-Step Guide
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