By 2024, B2B online marketplaces are predicted to account for 30% of all digital B2B sales. While giants like Amazon, eBay and Alibaba often dominate the marketplace conversation, there’s a growing opportunity in B2B e-commerce for specialized marketplace players operating within niche verticals.
What are vertical marketplaces?
Vertical marketplaces, also known as niche marketplaces, are digital forums which allow businesses to sell goods to a very specific audience — often within a single vertical. When you sell within a niche marketplace you can create more targeted and effective customer experiences for buyers looking to research and purchase products and services online. Additionally, these vertical marketplaces help build trust between buyer and sellers, creating a sense of community and connection that the marketplace giants often lack. Finally, by making it easy to discover new suppliers, vertical marketplaces also help increase discoverability and, ultimately, market share.
Self-service and today’s B2B buyers
Research shows that B2B buyers will choose suppliers who provide outstanding digital experiences at twice the rate as those who don’t. Providing a satisfying self-service experience is key for today’s B2B buyers. These digitally-driven, tech native millennials like their B2B experiences as streamlined and automated as B2C — even when making large purchases or placing a reorder.
Facing organizational roadblocks
Sellers still struggling with B2B e-commerce may be experiencing significant organizational roadblocks when it comes to digital transformation. Even for those businesses who have adopted some digital technologies into their systems, with other workflows unchanged for decades, many industry stalwarts are still overly relying on outdated tech and manual processes that extend the sales cycle and frustrate prospects. Rethinking the entire sales funnel in the name of better customer experience may seem like a daunting proposition, but today’s B2B buyers are demanding nothing less.
Vertical B2B marketplaces benefit buyers and sellers
Vertical marketplaces offer sellers and buyers a range of e-commerce tools and features to help them manage their accounts and grow their businesses.
- Improved business efficiencies — Sales and procurement teams often spend hours on repetitive tasks. Marketplaces can introduce automation for many common, time-intensive tasks (i.e. commissions reconciliation or manual data entry), thereby freeing up associates to spend time in other parts of the business (and saving a considerable amount of money paying for inefficient processes).
- Introducing price transparency — Marketplaces can help introduce price and product transparency, something of critical importance to today’s B2B buyers who spend more and more time researching purchases, doing price comparisons, and reading reviews before placing an order.
- Accelerating digital transformation — Especially for businesses transitioning to B2B e-commerce, or those trying to reach new audiences, joining a vertical marketplace gives them access to the kind of digital sales tools and features they need to better meet the needs of today’s B2B buyers.
A growing B2B marketplace opportunity
With digital technologies and e-commerce changing the way whole industries sell their goods and services, particularly within global manufacturing and distribution, vertical marketplaces will continue to proliferate.
Looking to start a vertical marketplace of your own? At Aleran, we’ve created a marketplace builder to support trade shows, showrooms and other B2B marketplaces. Our solution gives you all the tools you need to quickly and effectively recreate the wholesale showroom or implement a vertical marketplace experience online — no cost-prohibitive builds, no months-long integration cycles, and no IT headaches. With integrated order management software and automated upsell features, Aleran’s marketplace solution helps you sell without limits.
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