E-commerce has transformed business and finance horizons on a global scale. The main driving force behind this is the rapid pace at which digital technology is evolving. Competition is also much higher than in the past and clients’ demands are changing. The B2B marketplace platform was born as a result of these needs.
What is a B2B Marketplace?
It refers to a platform that enables trade between businesses. It differs from the regular business to consumer (B2C) or consumer to business (C2B) models. It provides the supportive framework that enables businesses to compete effectively and succeed. The sector has experienced such rapid growth in the recent past that it is soon set to get a leg up on B2C trade. Growth experts predict that by the year 2020 this type of trade will account for more than double that of B2C. This would account for almost $7 trillion as annual revenue from the sector.
The sector thrives on leveraging online resources. Traders are able to link up directly and share information in real time. The model eliminates business complexity and offers buyers numerous possibilities. It also makes it easy to trade without geographical boundaries. Using online portals, these businesses link buyers and suppliers from different industries globally. They make it easy for them to start new partnerships and generate astounding annual sales figures.
The basic concept behind the online B2B marketplace is the same. But some global B2B marketplaces have set themselves apart and created international household brands. Here we look at the top B2B marketplaces in 2017 and analyze the secrets behind their success.
The greatest advantage that this B2B marketplace enjoys is proximity to the Chinese manufacturers’ hub. Launched in 1999, this portal is ranked as the world’s largest B2B marketplace platform worldwide. It only started out with 18 employees but has grown to include almost 22,000 people on its taskforce.
Its main agenda is to connect China’s wholesalers with the rest of the world. It currently boasts over 80 million registered users. Some of the most popular top selling items on the site include electronics and clothing.
There are a number of important factors behind Alibaba’s success. First, the portal has created a level playing field for both big and small enterprises. The smaller players cumulatively yield astounding profit levels. Second, it does not charge for admission onto the site. It charges for support services. This attracts sellers big and small and of course the number of sellers is directly proportional to the number of buyers.
The portal also offers a reliable level of security to users. The identity verification process used is thorough. It includes a certification test and attempts to reduce fraudulent activity on the site. The Alipay payment services also enhance security. Any payments made are held in escrow till buyers confirm goods receipt. Also notable is the fact that customer feedback on the site is rewarded with discount coupons to encourage reviews.
Alibaba has several divisions each handling a specialized trade category. This specialization has grown the individual branches to great heights. It has also ventured out to other pursuits and made a name everywhere it goes. Its location in one of the world’s biggest internet market also contributes to its success.
2. Amazon Business
Amazon business is also included in the the list of world’s best online B2B marketplaces. It poses a serious threat to other similar models. It has maintained a 20% growth pattern month over month. In 2016, its total sales surpassed the $1 billion mark and this is expected to rise to $8 billion in 2017. At the moment, the platform has over 9 million products listed.
One of its success secrets is that Amazon business has massively invested on SEO. This means that most product searches list this portal’s products on the first page. This motivates sellers to flock to the platform as it offers guaranteed visibility. Selling on the platform does not require sellers to build a website. This reduces the risk involved and allows traders to prioritize product movement.
The portal’s success inspires confidence in retailers. Traders analyzing its growth trends are inspired to operate on the platform as it guarantees success. Few other platforms enjoy quite as much exposure and popularity.
Prices on the portal are highly competitive as well. Larger distributors enjoy a unique advantage on the portal – custom prices. Most other platforms are not able to play out this advantage as they lack the scale and resources that characterize Amazon.
3. Global Sources
This B2B platform was established in 2000. It is headquartered in Singapore and has its focus on the Chinese market. It was the first B2B platform to get listed on NASDAQ. It has a close association with Hong Kong international trade fairs. A majority of its members therefore are companies from this island trading with western countries.
What sets this platform apart from the rest is that it uses a very stringent verification process for its suppliers. They have to pay for this service though the outcome is not guaranteed. The result is a limited list of select, top-notch suppliers. Traders on the platform thus enjoy the privilege of dealing with the best, quality over quantity.
Its bi-annual trade show also makes the portal attractive. This gives users the opportunity for personal interaction. It attracts import export traders in their numbers thanks to the efficient integration between the digital front and the actual show. It also organizes regular conferences to build its different buyer groups.
These aspects build a sense of trust around the model. The unique personal touch and outreach programs give it a face and an edge over most others. The exclusivity also makes it desirable to suppliers.
4. Trade India
This portal is reputed as India’s biggest B2B marketplace. It has been in existence since 1996 and to date, it boasts a 4 million registered user base. Like most others, it offers an online business directory for international traders. It also participates in trade fairs and promotional shows. The founder started out with a company that published exporter’s yellow pages. But after a few years in this field, he decided to embrace digital evolution and take his passion to the next level.
It deals with all manner of companies from SMEs to big companies and even individual traders. The web business directory has to date been its greatest strength. The model retained the yellow pages design and lists manufacturers and suppliers from all around the world. This is its most prominent feature and it facilitates easy trade on the international scale.
It also has an extensive product catalog. And by virtue of its global popularity, it receives more than 20 million hits every month. Such impressive statistics make it a favorite for import export traders worldwide.
This platform focuses on small international traders. It allows them to buy in small quantities from manufacturers mostly in China. Its vast product range features the fastest moving retail items like sport accessories, clothing and electronics. It has over 30 million products listed and sells in more than 220 countries.
The site has more than 5 million registered users and ranks highly in the frequently visited web pages. It is plagued by the major issues facing most similar portals – vendor identification. Anyone can buy or sell on the platform and it is hard to separate the genuine traders from scammers.
To this end, it has sought to implement security measures that protect its users. First, it uses an authentication process for certified goods. With this provision, you can confirm if a product is genuine or counterfeit before making a purchase. In addition to this, the site also employs escrow services for financial protection.
It has gone above and beyond other models to offer internet financing options and logistical services. It has for a long time worked with PayPal to further boost buyer confidence. It also partners with popular courier services like DHL, FedEx and UPS. Working with such industry giants and household names has helped make it seem familiar and friendly to western traders.
It pays close attention to the consumer experience. For instance, buyers can get refunds up to 90 days after making a purchase if they feel dissatisfied. They can also initiate sales dispute within a month of making a purchase.
This is one of the most recent B2B players on this list. Founded in 2012, it takes a completely different approach to the concept. And this defines its greatest selling point. It has taken a unique path by centering its attention on the customer and participating in the purchase process down to the end.
This model goes beyond matching buyers and sellers. It tackles the procurement aspect of business. The idea came from the experience of a former consultant. His work entailed handling purchasing processes for big companies. He realized the opportunity this created since most small businesses could not afford to pay consultants for this tedious work. Particularly for SMEs that deal in technological equipment, this process is a nightmare.
Their process works in the reverse direction when compared to most. SMEs post the products that they would like to buy. The platform then uses algorithms to suggest sellers who could meet that need. The select suppliers then describe their products and offer the best prices for buyers to choose. These prices vary significantly depending on vendor location and that offers the advantage. A trader is able to get a custom fit from the closest source in most cases.
This mode of operation really has customers excited as they are the focal point in the equation. It is easy for a buyer to compare offerings, effectively negotiate and pick the best solution. The concept places power back in the consumer’s hand. As a result, the company has been growing by about 30% on a monthly basis.
The Major Benefits of Using B2B Marketplaces
International traders stand to gain so much from these platforms. They have greatly simplified commerce and offer limitless growth opportunities. If you are still not using these resources to your advantage, here are some benefits that are passing you by:
Search Engine Rankings
Every online business needs to rank highly on search engines in order to succeed. Fortunately, B2B marketing strategies include a heavy investment in this regard. This means that if your business is listed on the platforms, routing traffic to your site will be much easier. You will enjoy greater visibility as a result of their high rankings. Use this to your advantage.
Easy Marketing Research
Business thrives on data. You need to know what your competitors are doing in order to devise effective marketing strategies. On these portals, it is easy to study your competitors’ products, pricing and even approach. This makes it possible to tailor your own strategies appropriately.
If you have launched a startup recently you must have felt the weight of financial constraints in your branding activities. These websites provide you with a few basics to help you along. If you choose premium membership on some sites you get a free website and logo as well as high internal rankings. This allows you to compete with incumbents on equal grounds.
Minimal Investment, Maximum Results
A majority of these platforms charge reasonable annual fees. What you get in return is so much more valuable. Easy networking, millions of buyers and suppliers, easy trading facilities and financial security features are among many other benefits.
Enjoy These and Many More Benefits on Waystocap
International entrepreneurs trading with Africa will enjoy the facilities on Waystocap. As the first African B2b marketplace, the portal brings together suppliers and buyers wishing to start out or expand their business with Africa. We offer a suitable environment for traders to connect without security fears. We help you find trusted partners and enjoy the advantages of the import export trade.
We also offer helpful services to guide you along the way. For instance, we assist trades to access information on the requirements for trading with different markets on the continent. With such information on hand, you will be able to ascertain that your products are accepted into target markets every time.
The site has useful resources to make your online business transactions smooth and flawless. We have embraced the digital revolution to avail the latest technology to your benefit. We are gradually revolutionizing the way trade is conducted on the continent. Join us on this journey today and enjoy the rewards.