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A deep dive into B2B web marketplaces

May 22, 2015 01:06 PM
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From the massive Amazon Business to startups like Tradescraper.com and Kinnek.com, a new crop of B2B e-marketplaces lure manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors with promises of new markets and growth—but they can also represent tough new competition for companies that sit on the sidelines. A new report surveys the B2B marketplace landscape.

Since January 2014, B2BecNews has covered more than 20 B2B e-marketplaces that have either launched or expanded, including in the United States, Brazil, Europe, India and China. Now in a new 32-page special report, “Portals to Business, Amazon and the rapidly evolving world of B2B marketplaces” which is available for free download by clicking here, B2BecNews looks inside some of these marketplaces and explores how both sellers and buyers can make them part of their business strategy.

The report, the first in a series of quarterly downloadable reports on B2B e-commerce, offers an inside look at how Amazon Business operates and how companies deal with Amazon as both a competitor and an important source of online traffic and sales. “The management of marketplaces is really challenging,” says Jeff McRitchie, vice president of marketing at MyBinding.com, a web-only provider of equipment and supplies for making bounded paper reports used for corporate presentations and marketing materials. “It’s almost like sleeping with the enemy. And the biggest and scariest is Amazon.”

Yet MyBinding and other companies like N2 Surplus, which sells a broad range of business and industrial products, are finding ways to make Amazon as well as other marketplaces work as important sources of business.

The report includes a table listing more than 40 B2B portals. They include New York-based Kinnek, which has received $10 million in venture capital to fund its online service connecting millions of small-business buyers with sellers of equipment and supplies for restaurants and other operations; AutoWurld, which is seeking to upend the world of automobile auctions by charging dealers a flat subscription fee rather than a percentage of sales; and London-based Tradegood.com, which reports having more than 5,000 corporate buyers on its portal, where they buy products ranging from apparel and consumer electronics to home furnishings and health care supplies from more than 100,000 suppliers.

As the report notes, the growth of B2B e-marketplaces, meanwhile, is helping more companies—sellers as well as buyers—get on board with e-commerce.

Most B2B companies, however, still are in their infancy in terms of “effectively targeting B2B buyers online, developing an industrial-strength B2B e-commerce infrastructure and achieving an acceptable business-to-consumer-like customer experience standard,” says Andy Hoar, an e-business analyst at Forrester Research Inc. who specializes in covering B2B e-commerce.

Building out from scratch a customer-friendly and useful B2B e-commerce site, as Hoar and other experts recommend, can take months or even years. But one way many sellers start out—and continue to hone their online selling skills, while learning how online buyers respond to their product offerings—is through e-marketplaces.

The report also includes a review of how Groupon Goods, the online retail operation of online coupon giant Groupon Inc., worked with marketplace developer B-Stock Solutions to build a B2B portal to sell excess goods to retailers and other businesses.

It also features several profiles of such marketplaces as DHgate.com, which connects buyers from North America, Europe and other areas to suppliers in China; DiscoverCloud.com, where businesses can shop for cloud-based business software like customer relationship management and inventory management applications; and other portals for products ranging from apparel to mobile apps.

To download a copy of the complimentary special report, “Portals to Business,” click here.

Sign up for a free subscription to B2BecNews, a weekly newsletter that covers technology and business trends in the growing B2B e-commerce industry. B2BecNews is published by Vertical Web Media LLC, which also publishes the monthly business magazine Internet Retailer. Follow B2BecNews editor Paul Demery on Twitter @pdemery.
 

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