The Importance of B2B Online Marketplaces

If you need evidence of the importance of B2B online marketplaces, let the investment market point the way. NuOrder, the online wholesale marketplace for fashion and apparel just got an $8 million cash infusion in its second round of capital investment.

This raises the company’s stake to nearly $22 million but more importantly to the wholesale world, it’s another sign that wholesale channels go where b2c channels have already gone.

It’s not just confirmation of where the market is heading. It’s an affirmation of what’s happening already. According to apparel trade publication WWD, NuOrder now has a transaction volume of $5 billion.

The Changing Nature of B2B

Generally speaking, the B2B world lags behind B2C in its adoption of eCommerce. But not by much. The longheld channels connecting wholesalers to retailers will continue to dominate in the near future.

While one observer expects eCommerce to account for 13.1% of B2B sales in the US  by 2021, that isn’t far behind expectations for B2C. eMarketer predicts eCommerce will make up 14.6% of global retail spending in 2020.

Thus in the same way brick-and-mortar continues to work for retail, so will traditional methods (sales reps, phone calls, trade shows, etc.) drive B2B.

However, B2B Online Marketplaces Are Important

It’s obvious, then, that eCommerce will play an increasingly important part in the B2B business model as time moves on. Furthermore, as B2B purchasing behavior mirrors B2C behavior, marketplaces will become a more and more important channel.

In fact, this has been true, at least the US, for a few years. Even in 2015, the National Retail Federation noted that 32% more retailers planned to spend more in marketplaces than the previous year.

That organization saw the marketplace as an important channel for retailers to find suppliers. Technology simply makes it easier for B2Bs to do business with one another. Needless to say, they parallel B2C marketplaces in other ways allowing more rapid delivery, greater product selection, and transparent pricing.

So, Will You make B2B Marketplaces One of Your Channels?

If you’re a B2B or considering scaling up to wholesale, it’s time to consider online marketplaces. Adding a B2B online marketplace can connect you to more retail trading partners in more places than traditional methods like cold-calling. It’s even easier to manage as a channel when you integrate your marketplaces with the rest of your supply chain.

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