The industry shift to online marketplaces is not only a result of new software specifically designed to help B2B companies operate more efficiently… Early last year, Bank of America analyst Justin Post said the firm expected Amazon to capture 10% of the addressable B2B market by 2021. Since then, companies around the world from aerospace to construction and more have been launching online marketplaces left and right, hoping to get ahead of the curve. If the alarm bells aren’t ringing yet, they should be, as Amazon’s incredible ability to scale will soon disrupt B2B the same way it dominates retail today.
Competition aside, giving your vendors and buyers a “one-stop shop” experience is just good business. And make no mistake, B2B marketplaces give incredible benefits to the businesses that own them. Let’s take a look at two top companies to learn how their marketplaces strengthen their overall strategy.
Strategic Advantage: AB InBev’s B2B Portal
In December, global beer distributor AB InBev (owner of top brands like Budweiser, Corona, and Stella Artois) constructed a one-stop shop B2B marketplace for all the individual vendors of their products. With 98% of AB InBev’s business coming from B2B distribution, providing their sellers a much easier to use and automated way to order stock was extremely important. After generating $6 million GMV in the first month, AB InBev plans to scale this digital platform continuously in 2021 and beyond.
Their new B2B vendor portal also allowed them to map the customer journey for all their vendors. With this insightful data in hand, AB InBev is armed with the tools to continue to improve their buyers’ experience. The data also helps them stay ahead of buyer trends as they change with seasonality and other variables. Constantly improving and changing, the marketplace gives AB InBev added adaptability and flexibility with their commerce operations.
Strategic Advantage: 3M’s Marketplace
3M also launched a new B2B marketplace this year where their channel partners can all sell their products independently on the same platform. They took a different approach; instead of controlling the buyer process, they allow their channel partners to control all the selling and transactions, even with their own offers and pricing. 3M only facilitates the connection between their partner sellers and buyers. 3M simply provides the front end and a premium customer experience.
This hands-off approach allows 3M to oversee all of their online product sales without having to micromanage vendors. It also allows them to give their vendor customers a better, more efficient buying process while avoiding channel conflict.
Top 5 Features of B2B Marketplaces
What are some of the biggest benefits of implementing a B2B marketplace?