When I say ‘marketplace’ you think ‘Amazon.’
Amazon is just about everywhere when we talk about marketplaces, best practices, and innovation. But it’s time to shift the conversation. Though a large influencer, marketplaces are not just about Amazon. Especially when it comes to B2B, there are many marketplace and digital commerce technology options that are better architected to meet real-world B2B business challenges.
For most B2B businesses, eCommerce cannot just be an "Amazon-like" consumer experience. The B2B landscape has complex configurations of highly specialized products, pricing, quotation, negotiation, and deal-closing processes, and far more complicated delivery, customs, and regulatory requirements. Launching your marketplace is the best way to meet customer experience expectations and put a B2B organization in front of their competition.
So how do we evolve the conversation? Here are three things that I think we need to start doing today to change how we talk about marketplaces.
1. Publicize the benefits of launching your own marketplace.
A lot of businesses opt to sell on an Amazon marketplace because it’s easy. Unfortunately, one size does not fit all, and launching marketplaces allows organizations to diversify their retail portfolio and revenue streams, without having to conform to Amazon’s strict platform terms and conditions. There are many other benefits of B2B businesses launching their own marketplaces as well, including increased product inventory, increase customer share of wallet, reduced risk of listing with third parties, and more.
We need to publicize these benefits. Share how easy it is for businesses to launch marketplaces and the significant upsides they offer. Promote companies like Mirakl, a leading example of marketplace technology that is better architected to meet real-world business challenges versus quick wins from listing on the Amazon marketplace.
2. Work with experienced partners.
Working with expert partners, such as a digital advisory firm, can equip B2B organizations with leading marketplace technology to stay in front of customer demands and outpace innovation. Consulting with authorities in the industry before selecting your preferred B2B marketplace platform is a competitive advantage. Digital advisories can evaluate your business, conduct tailored market and consumer research, and make unbiased recommendations about what will best position your company for success.
With this expert advice, your business can then conduct informed interviews with B2B marketplace platform and service providers to ensure successful adoption and implementation.
3. Go live with a strong marketing strategy.
B2B companies that choose to invest in their own marketplace platform may put the launch date on a pedestal. That’s when the marketplace will be live and the business can start generating revenue. But the launch is only the beginning.
I like to preach that businesses don’t have finish lines – your marketplace launch date is a prime example. You know that your marketplace is live. How does everyone else know?
A strong marketing strategy is required, which should include a marketing plan for all of your different audiences: internal employees, partners, suppliers, existing customers, and the general public. The more audiences that are aware, the more likely they are to bring success to your marketplace.
From there, we can start sharing more success stories about businesses that have launched their own marketplaces. Promoting why businesses chose to launch their own marketplaces, how they navigated challenges, and how they are continuously improving to meet market demands will help us reshape the conversation and create original best practices.
Instead of surrendering to Amazon, launching an enterprise marketplace is enabling organizations to diversify their portfolio and revenue streams, while eliminating dependencies on third-party platforms. The result is not just increased profit, but also a robust customer experience that will build loyalty over time.
So let’s shift the conversation by focusing on the benefits of launching enterprise marketplaces, emphasizing success stories, and bringing marketplaces to market more effectively.
Written by Evan Klein
Evan Klein is the CEO of Zaelab, a leading digital advisory and solutions company. Zaelab accelerates client growth through the continuous innovation of digital platforms and customer experiences. Zaelab removes the complexity and friction of digital platform implementation and operations, and proactively provides clients with leading tools and insights required to deliver exceptional experiences.