The Future of B2B Marketplaces


More than bearing out predictions, B2B marketplaces are proliferating, and traditional channel players are quickly finding themselves at a crossroads. Before the start of the year, B2B sales processes were already on track to mirror the shift toward digital interactions in the B2C environment. Now, however, the phasing out of traditional sales has dramatically accelerated.

2020’s business buyers expect superb digital experiences, and they’re seeking them on marketplaces more often than ever before. These B2B customers see digital interactions as being twice as important as they were pre-pandemic, and going forward, two to three times more important than traditional sales interactions.

With e-commerce and marketplaces expected to drive almost one-fifth of B2B sales by 2023, channel players will need to overcome a host of obstacles in the near future. For vendors and partners, the reshaped terrain of B2B sales will require careful navigation based on these new complexities.

What’s on the horizon for your business

The era of the marketplace is arriving sooner than experts initially projected. And the first step toward preparedness is understanding what’s coming and then exploring the four important changes that are likely to dominate business in the coming years:

  • Software companies will increasingly move to create their own marketplaces.
  • A world-class customer experience will be the hallmark of successful B2B marketplaces.
  • Marketplaces will evolve to serve verticals and then move toward full-solution offerings.
  • The proliferation of marketplaces will coincide with the proliferation of channel partners.

The challenges awaiting you

With this new marketplace-oriented ecosystem swiftly materializing, there are multiple challenges faced by independent software vendors (ISVs) and channel partners.

First, roles and relationships will become more complicated as all parts of the value chain start to launch marketplaces.

Second, seller risk will become an important consideration for those launching their own marketplace. Any instance of incomplete or inaccurate product information as well as orders that don’t arrive on time will reflect poorly on the marketplace and therefore on the brand.

Third, the inherent transparency of marketplaces will shake up your sales strategies. Once loyal customers inevitably start to shop around, it will be up to marketplace owners to find ways to highlight their product differentiators, develop customer relationships and serve up an industry-leading customer experience.

Minimize your risk, maximize your potential

The rapid expansion of marketplaces means a rapidly evolving set of new challenges for your company in a market of drastically heightened competition.

As the number of channel partners swells, up to one million software vendors are set to crowd the $528 billion cloud services market by 2027. With COVID-19 kicking trends such as digitalization, e-commerce and marketplaces into even higher gear, your B2B success will depend in no small part on your ability to adapt to marketplace-oriented sales.

Recommendations for companies that are launching their own marketplaces and for those selling products through third-party marketplaces are available in our latest white paper, What’s Next for Marketplaces: How to Ready Your Business for a Fundamental Shift in B2B Sales Processes.

To learn more about how your company can leverage this information to ensure greater success in the years ahead, download your complimentary copy of the white paper now.

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