What B2B Companies Should Look For When Choosing Marketplace Technology

B2B Companies

The first step for B2B companies looking to shift some of their sales online is often choosing the marketplace technology that will power the platform.

But selecting an e-commerce software company can be daunting, especially for those unaccustomed to making such decisions that could impact the future of their business. The fact that there are so many new companies emerging with different approaches and capabilities doesn’t help much either.

Thinking behind a marketplaces

The brains behind a number of marketplaces have weighed in on what they typically look for when evaluating potential partners, providing a window into how this all works from a supplier perspective. Here’s a quick guide:

“You don’t want to choose something else because you’re stuck … I think it’s important not only for us as a marketplace but also for our supplier partners that we have a sense they’re getting what they want from the solution as well.”  — Matt Barton, President of Walmart Global eCommerce Partner Marketplace.

Most of the companies are not successful due to uniqueness

“The companies that are most successful are those that bring something unique to their technology provider as opposed to just off-the-shelf technology. It’s got to be the right fit for the company and its own unique proposition.”  — Mark Connell, Head of Connected Commerce at TELUS International.

“If I’m working with a small business or startup, I’d really want them to be able to understand my product without having an army of engineers sitting down explaining it all day long. So if you can communicate with the marketplace quickly and clearly in terms of what you’re offering, that’s a big advantage.”  — Niccolo de Masi, CEO of Glu Mobile

“Typically when somebody is selling their company they will want to make sure they retain control over the pricing part. Pricing is like the brass ring when it comes to marketplaces because it cannot be understated how important that piece is … You can build whatever technology you want; if you don’t have the right price you won’t sell anything.”  — Peter Relan, Chairman/Chief Strategist at SOA Software

“The number one criteria for selecting a technology provider is speed — both in terms of responsiveness and how long it takes them to process transactions. Our sales cycles are very fast, so if they don’t have the right technology in place, or if it takes them too long to respond to a marketplace inquiry then we lose deals.”  — Mr. Barton at Walmart Global eCommerce Partner Marketplace

What to look for in multi-vendor marketplace technology

According to black seed oil buyer expert’s, The number one decision you’ll need to make is whether you want a marketplace technology company that specializes in B2B, or B2C. This will help you decide what type of software and other features to look for, as the two types have a lot of differences.

Look at how well the software works. If it has a low conversion rate, then you’re going to have a hard time reaching your goals for this new platform. The speed of their response will also be important– if they can’t quickly answer questions from vendors, then your whole marketplace may not even work as well as it should.

“You want to work with a provider that takes an integrated approach where they’re not just one type of technology. You don’t want the person who built the website and then someone else comes in to build your business logic, or builds your API layer. That company needs to have all of those capabilities under one roof because it’s going to make for a better product.”  — Mr. Connell at TELUS International

Do find a Software Partner

Look for a software partner that has been in this space for awhile. They will likely have more experience & be able to solve problems more quickly than newer marketplaces looking for new technology partners. Keep in mind too that some technological capabilities may get outdated over time, so you’ll need a team at your marketplace partner that’s able to keep up with developments in this industry.

When it comes to B2B marketplaces specifically, look for a provider that knows how to handle supplier onboarding & all of the business rules around that. What pricing policies are in place? Can suppliers easily update their information each month? If you’re using something like an API or SDK then they’ll need to have detailed documentation on what needs to be done and the steps involved, so vendors don’t experience any hiccups during onboarding.

Technology involve in B2B

“A great technology and infrastructure is important and necessary but at the end of the day we always say it starts with people, process and policy.”  — Niccolo de Masi at Glu Mobile

You should also consider the experience of the marketplace management team. What are their credentials? What’s their track record? You can look through online articles or speak to other people that have used the platform before, as this will give you a good idea if they know what they’re doing.

It’s important to remember that all companies have disagreements at some point in time, so it can be helpful to ask how these were handled in the past. What kind of problems did they solve and how? How well does this provider communicate between departments? Onboarding marketplaces take place over several months, so being able to handle various issues quickly & effectively is crucial.

“If you’re looking for one partner who has everything under one roof then you should go with Amazon Partner Network.”  — Mr. Bartel at InsightBASE

Think out of the box

If you’re looking for a large-scale B2B marketplace, then Amazon is probably the best option out there right now. They have the most experience in this industry & they’ve taken all of their knowledge to build one platform that has everything you could ever need. Plus their marketplace is an additional revenue stream so it can help your business grow even more too.

“We’ve seen customers come to us who are not only local but global and we know they face certain challenges around metrics that are very unique.”  — Mr. Goul at Avalara TrustFile

However, if you’re just starting out with multi-vendor marketplaces then there are lots of options to explore. It’s not as daunting as it may sound, and there are plenty of software companies with products specifically designed for B2B marketplaces. You just need to know what you want & who is the best fit for your organization.

“Every business problem can be solved by technology, but not every business problem is a good reason to build a new platform.”  — Mr. Connell at TELUS International

It all comes down to planning and budgeting . If your team truly does have the resources needed then you’ll be able to find something that fits perfectly with your overall goals for this marketplace, and you’ll likely see results much faster too. A little research into the various software companies available will go a long way.


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