The Astronomical Rise of B2B Digital Marketplaces
The B2B buying journey follows a complex, nonlinear path and often involves a chain of decision-makers. Marketplaces have become a key avenue for buyers to research their options and connect with multiple brands and products at once.
“Opening up the business to comparison is one of the biggest push backs from B2B sellers when it comes to marketplaces, but we’re way past the era where a comparison is restricted,” says Jonathan Whiteside, Principal Technology Consultant at Dept. “Even before marketplaces, your customers were accessing multiple supplier websites to create their own comparisons. By participating in the process, rather than resisting, you’re making it easier for them. When it comes to customer experience, you have to give an inch to get their attention and prove value.”
A customer previously unknown to your brand may now be discovering your products. “If a builder is looking for a home appliance, they’re searching for options that match specific criteria; whether that’s related to size or energy consumption, they’re able to easily compare a Bosch product vs a Samsung vs models from a new manufacturer. Being considered alongside premium vendors adds credibility and gives your brand a chance to win new business. Use marketplaces as an inbound channel.”
How Wholesalers Embrace E-marketplaces
Take advantage of marketplaces’ strengths in fulfilment, standardised delivery, immediate visibility, and compliance can help maximise your overall sales and distribution strategy. The opportunities are fairly straightforward for manufacturers to optimise warehouse space: combine several low margin products into a high margin bundle and offload slow-moving inventory, surplus or overstock items, as well as discontinued product ranges.
It’s a lot more complicated for distributors since a lot of their value is tied to their ability to fulfil orders in a unique way that often involves their own delivery fleet. “If you’re sending a big pipe for a water supply company, you know how to deliver that product in a special way, so keep that on your delivery system, but maybe let go of the nuts and bolts that fit into standard boxes. The brand awareness benefits and efficiencies of the marketplaces are worth it if you’re sending standard items. Work with them sometimes, but preserve your value.”
Opportunities for Marketplace Creation
The demand for niche B2B marketplace keeps growing, providing fertile grounds for sector-specific and tightly seller-focused marketplaces to rise.“If you’re already a leading manufacturer or distributor in a particular area such as bus parts or chemical components, launching a vertical-specific marketplace is a logical next step to reaffirm your market position, open up new revenue streams and attract serious buyers. Having a well-established company domain will boost the launch, while your industry knowledge will ensure satisfaction and longevity, simplifying the buyer journey and creating new sales opportunities for sellers tailored to the unique needs of their sector,” Whiteside added.
Vertical leaders who have established their own B2B marketplaces include , and in aviation and aerospace; Siemens in trains; Toyota Material Handling in forklifts; CheMondis for chemicals; in electronics; HP Enterprise for IT supplies; and Tetra Pak for food and beverage.
Just Eat Launches a B2B Marketplace
Following the merger between Just Eat and Takeaway.com in spring 2020, the company transformed into a global platform that operates in eleven countries, serving over fourteen million customers annually. to accelerate its digital transformation with the launch of a new B2B marketplace that caters to the needs of restaurateurs by leveraging the wealth of data the company has at its disposal.
“In addition to its customer-facing marketplace facilitating food delivery, the company also enables restaurant owners to purchase both food and non-food items from third-party sellers. Powered by , the Just Eat B2B marketplace provides regional insights into consumer demand to help local restaurants better tailor their menus based on local supply and demand.”
B2B marketplaces are still very much in their infancy, and there are a lot of opportunities for advancement through tech innovation and customer activation. Whiteside predicts: “the evolution of B2B marketplaces will more be more focused, offering less commoditised, more unique goods or services sourced for a particular industry. These marketplaces will have more complex workflows and may be tougher to set up as opposed to traditional marketplaces due to their inherent complexity though, for this reason, they will also be more defensible.”
5 Minutes With: Jim Bureau, CEO Jaggaer
What is data analytics, and why is it important for organisations to utilise?
Data analytics is the process of collecting, cleansing, transforming and analysing an organisation’s information to identify trends and extract meaningful insights to solve problems.
The main benefit for procurement teams that adopt analytics is that they’re equipped to make faster, more proactive and effective decisions. Spend analysis and other advanced statistical analyses eliminate the guesswork and reactivity common with spreadsheets and other manual approaches and drive greater efficiency and value.
As procurement continues to play a central role in organisational success, adopting analytics is critical for improving operations, meeting and achieving key performance indicators, reducing staff burnout, gaining valuable market intelligence and protecting the bottom line.
How can organisations use procurement analytics to benefit their operations?
Teams can leverage data analytics to tangibly improve performance across all procurement activities - identifying new savings opportunities, getting a consolidated view of spend, understanding the right time for contract re-negotiations, and which suppliers to tap when prioritising and segmenting suppliers, assessing and addressing supply chain risk and more.
Procurement can ultimately create a more comprehensive sourcing process that invites more suppliers to the table and gets even more granular about cost drivers and other criteria.
"The main benefit for procurement teams that adopt analytics is that they’re equipped to make faster, more proactive and effective decisions"
Procurement analytics can provide critical insight for spend management, category management, supplier contracts and negotiations, strategic sourcing, spend forecasting and more. Unilever, for example, used actionable insight from spend analysis to optimise spending, sourcing, and contract negotiations for an especially unpredictable industry such as transport and logistics.
Whether a team needs to figure out ways to retain cash, further diversify its supply base, or deliver value on sustainability, innovation or diversity initiatives, analytics can help procurement deliver on organisational needs.
How is data analytics used in supply chain and procurement?
Data analytics encompasses descriptive, diagnostic, predictive and prescriptive data.
Descriptive shows what’s happened in the past, while diagnostic analytics surface answers to ‘why’ those previous events happened.
This clear view into procurement operations and trends lays the groundwork for predictive analytics, which forecasts future events, and prescriptive analytics, which recommends the best actions for teams to take based on those predictions.
Teams can leverage all four types of analytics to gain visibility across the supply chain and identify optimisation and value generating opportunities.
Take on-time delivery (OTD) as an example. Predictive analytics are identifying the probability of whether an order will be delivered on time even before its placed, based on previous events. Combined with recommendation engines that suggest improvement actions, the analytics enable teams to proactively mitigate risk of late deliveries, such as through spreading an order over a second or third source of supply.
Advanced analytics is a research and development focus for JAGGAER, and we expect procurement’s ability to leverage AI to become even stronger and more impactful.