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As far back as June 2020, the Harvard Business Review summarized the benefits of aggregated e-marketplaces:

 

“The appeal of doing business on the Web is clear. By bringing together huge numbers of buyers and sellers and by automating transactions, Web markets expand the choices available to buyers, give sellers access to new customers, and reduce transaction costs for all the players.”

Twenty-two years ago the market potential was enormous but the landscape small. Perhaps too, the timing just wasn’t right. A well cited example was the Dell B2B exchange which shuttered after only 4 months in 2000 when only 3 suppliers signed up.

Digital transformation and buyer behaviour has accelerated and evolved. By 2024, current estimates suggest that 30% of all B2B sales will take place through digital marketplaces. And there’s a clear reason for this. The benefits to all role players in a vertical marketplace are now well understood – even more so for niche aggregated marketplaces. And so vertical B2B marketplaces are popping up everywhere from Aerospace (GoDirect Trade) to iron and steel (FastMetals) to chemicals (CheMondis).

 

All about trust and the power of self-service

When B2B buyers are committed to researching and purchasing their products and services online, vertical marketplaces build trust and create a sense of community and connection.

At the same time, B2B purchases can be expensive with lengthy sales cycles. But even this barrier is being eroded by vertical marketplaces that provide buyers with outstanding digital experiences. No longer confined to low value, commodity purchases, aggregated marketplaces are increasingly used for complex, high value sales.

Research shows that a B2B buyer is twice as likely to consider a supplier with a digitised, aggregated marketplace than those who don’t. The elixir in this digital experience is self-service. Increasingly B2B buyers see salespeople as trusted advisors rather than a sales channel in and of themselves as they look to digital channels to transact and engage. Besides self-service, the benefits of aggregated marketplaces are numerous.

 

… the benefits of aggregated marketplaces are numerous.

 

They remove friction for the customer…

Typically, procurement teams waste hours on repetitive, tactical tasks. These tasks are almost eliminated by e-marketplaces, giving procurement specialists time back to spend on strategy.

 

They create more transparent partnerships…

E-marketplaces are inherently more transparent with pricing and product information and are particularly useful for companies who wish to source from several suppliers to meet specific needs. Price and product transparency is of critical importance to today’s B2B buyers.

 

They improve the customer experience…

Pre-integrations for payments and embedded finance are now more commonplace. In addition, with simple check-out processes, complex sales structures are virtually eliminated. This provides a significant competitive advantage.

 

They take businesses online quickly and simply…

E-marketplaces are the right step for businesses who want to bring their offline transactions online for the first time. Businesses served by vertically integrated marketplaces benefit from immediate innovation and digitisation.

 

They connect buyers and suppliers…

Vertical e-marketplaces connect buyers and sellers within a niche and where buyers have common needs. The result is a customer experience that is defined and focused on self-service, helping business save time and money.

 

ChannelCenter is an independent B2B platform that connects Resellers with IT vendors and distributors and provides online marketplaces for end-customers to self-service and transact.

The platform digitises and automates the sales process – reducing manual sales interventions, improving the customer experience and reducing operational costs.