The Biggest Disruptor for B2B Business in 2022

The Biggest Disruptor for B2B Business in 2022

At HPE Discover in June 2020, former Cisco CEO turned Venture Capitalist John Chambers shared this warning to business leaders around the globe:


“40% to 50% of the Fortune 500 will not exist in a decade, it’s going to be a brutal change. These terrible events we’re now seeing will accelerate that. Probably 60% of the startups won’t exist in a decade and several won’t exist in two to three years. So, it’s a period where you either disrupt or you get disrupted.”


Disrupt, or Get Disrupted.


Buyer habits and demographics are changing rapidly, forcing B2B companies to fight tooth and nail for attention. But, how do you disrupt a trillion-dollar industry like pharma or manufacturing?


The key is creating a centralized, easy to use interface for buying and selling online. One that easily connects buyers and sellers while collecting valuable customer data. For these reasons, 2021 is quickly becoming the year of the B2B marketplace. So, what are B2B marketplaces and what advantages can they provide you?


What is a B2B Marketplace?


what is a b2b marketplace buyer portal online digital market


In the same way Amazon allows consumers to purchase items from 3rd party vendors on, corporate megaliths like 3M and AB InBev now have online portals that provide better buying experiences for their vendors. In other words, a B2B marketplace is an online store that uses eCommerce functionality to let buyers view different brands and product lines from hundreds of vendors all in one place. Buyers using these B2B marketplaces can easily compare prices and products to ensure they order the products they need at the best price.




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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

ab inbev b2b marketplace portal store digital b2b market


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

brandless b2b marketplace online chemical healthcare portal


What are some of the biggest benefits of implementing a B2B marketplace?

  • Providing faster ordering and automatic reordering, custom pricing, minimum order quantities, shipping options, payment options, and other premium digital features to your customers, all without calling a sales rep.
  • Allowing your business and/or individual BUs to scale faster in a rapidly changing digital ecosystem.
  • eCommerce platforms, especially SaaS platforms, are easier to maintain and upgrade as needed, compared to manual and physical supply-chain infrastructure.
  • Digital systems provide employees with much-needed assistance with automation and analytics, enhancing the capabilities of your teams from sales and marketing to accounting, tax, compliance, and more.
  • Making things much easier on their sellers and vendors helps them thrive in this new ecosystem as well, connecting digital systems and speeding up processes for everyone.

With online orders reaching levels previously expected 10 years from now, making the buying process as easy as possible is crucial to ensuring products get to the right places at the right time.


For companies with multiple brand names under their umbrella, the need for an online marketplace becomes even more apparent. The more complicated the fulfillment process, with multiple warehouses, distribution centers, and massive amounts of inventory, the more necessary a comprehensive online portal becomes to automate and speed up these processes.


Different Types of Marketplaces

walmart b2b marketplace digital online portal marketplace


All kinds of companies are building B2B marketplaces to expand their digital capabilities in 2021. Walmart has launched a digital marketplace, shown above, to compete with Amazon. This allows for a much larger selection of brands and sellers to sell on Walmart’s website. Giving Walmart an even larger market share than they already had.


honeywell b2b marketplace buyer portal online digital


Outside of CPG, a household name in Aerospace manufacturing Honeywell established the Honeywell Marketplace for aerospace parts companies, and in an industry dominated by brand loyalty and trust, it’s almost impossible to get buyers to see your products if you aren’t on Honeywell’s trusted marketplace.

In Healthcare, Fulcrum Digital and Redstage collaborated to create an online buyer and seller marketplace for DMEhub, a seller of durable medical equipment. A more creative use for a B2B marketplace, DMEhub was able to greatly increase the speed and rate at which they could accept orders of important medical equipment while staying 100% HIPAA compliant.


The incredible number of uses and benefits of creating marketplaces for connecting buyers and sellers is well documented. To become a digital leader in 2021, innovation and creativity is sorely needed, and we’re finding new ways to use them every day!


Let’s Get Started!

Remember, 40% to 50% of the Fortune 500 will not exist in a decade. So, for companies on the list looking to stay there, and for rapidly growing companies looking to make their first appearance on the acclaimed list, the message stays the same:

Disrupt, or be disrupted.

The biggest disrupter for these businesses is going to be major marketplaces increasing customer’s ease of access to multiple vendors and confidence they’re making the right decisions. It’s time for you to provide the same value as Amazon, if not more.

Not sure where to start?

Redstage is offering completely free eCommerce and business analysis to the first 5 merchants who schedule one. Schedule your free website usability assessment here and find out where you stand compared to others in the same space. Check out our Top 5 B2B eCommerce Features customers are requiring from merchants here.

Want to learn more about marketplaces and other B2B trends? Check out our webinar on the biggest eCommerce trends we saw during the last year with our CEO here

How to Stay Competitive In The Shifting B2B eCommerce Landscape

How to Stay Competitive In The Shifting B2B eCommerce Landscape

eCommerce and digital transformation are taking over the B2B industry at a rapid pace. Prior to COVID-19, 2020 was already looking like the biggest year in B2B sales by dollar value, operating at twice the size of the B2C market at $6.7 Trillion. Why are things changing so quickly, and what steps can you take to make sure you aren’t left behind?


Buyer Demographics

millennial eCommerce

A big part of this overall macroeconomic force is the changing demographics of B2B buyers. The B2B landscape is changing dramatically as Millennials take hold of most buying responsibilities in B2B and distribution to B2C firms. Unknown to most, millennials are already the largest generation in the workforce. By 2025, millennials will account for 75% of the workforce worldwide. This is a generation of digitally connected, technologically dependent, and software-savvy workers.

What does this mean for B2B companies? Right now, more than 46% of all B2B purchases are made by millennials. For millennials, the convenience and ease of digital buying experiences are more important than other factors impacting their choice to buy. In fact, 69% of millennials say that the ease of doing business is why they choose the companies that they work with. For more than two-thirds of the customers you attempt to sell to, your online portal or buying experience is the most important aspect of your business for retaining them.


“Millenials don’t want to have a conversation with a sales rep, they want to have a conversation with your website.” – Adam Morris, Redstage CEO


How Amazon’s Marketplace is Hurting B2B Business

b2b business

Pre-COVID, Amazon Business was projected by Bank of America to take 10% of the US market for B2B. With eCommerce and online sales booming during the crisis (up 25% industry-wide since March), Amazon’s dominant market share has only grown. How can Amazon’s push into the B2B eCommerce market hurt your business?

As the market expands, customers without brand loyalty will shop on the Amazon Marketplace for things like materials, parts, and even industrial chemicals. Customers will see your products alongside your competition, where the only comparable attributes are price and quantity. Without your differentiation and product knowledge, you are losing a large number of sales to competitors.

Many industry leaders are trying to get ahead of this trend. Honeywell established the Honeywell Marketplace for aerospace parts companies, and in an industry dominated by brand loyalty and trust, it’s almost impossible to get buyers to see your products if you aren’t on Honeywell’s trusted marketplace. This has given Honeywell a major advantage in the market in terms of industry leadership, as well as increasing revenue by being a “middle man” of sorts in the industry. However, it may hurt smaller distributors who are competing for sales with every one of their competitors also on the marketplace.

In another industry vertical, DMEhub partnered with Redstage to build a buyer and seller portal for durable medical equipment. The new site connected physicians and other medical practitioners with medical equipment suppliers directly, allowing consumers to get their medical equipment from an online marketplace with direct access to their prescriptions. This majorly cut down the timeline for accepting these orders, as well as greatly improving the security of highly sensitive medical data in the backend of the site. Learn more about the project here.


What can you do to get ahead of your competition?

b2b eCommerce

B2B eCommerce sales are growing 7X faster than any other electronic channel. Yet, only 73% of B2B sellers sell through eCommerce or online marketplace portals today. While that may seem fairly low, keep in mind that 86% of US-based B2B companies with over $500 million in annual revenue have already implemented these solutions.

What does this all mean? It means there’s still some room for companies to begin their digital transformation, adopt eCommerce, or build industry-specific online marketplaces. However, we’re starting to get to a point in this journey where executives have already thought through these strategies and have implemented or are implementing them. If you continue to hold off on digital transformation projects, your competition will start looking at you through their rearview mirror.

According to a study by McKinsey, B2B’s digital leaders in eCommerce are vastly outperforming their competitors. Digital B2B leaders who adopted online buying opportunities have reported up to 5x revenue growth, 8x operating profit growth, and up to double their return on shareholder growth. The value of showcasing your products to your customers, highlighting key product attributes, and allowing those customers to buy from you quickly how they want to, is extremely self-evident.


Final thoughts

As B2B online marketplaces and buying portals become more and more commonplace, the room to differentiate yourself is growing scarce. Don’t get left behind the pack by waiting to innovate, the time to utilize eCommerce platforms is now. Check out how we helped Zwilling Beauty Group boost their revenue year over year by 87% by tapping into the power of Magento Commerce Cloud here.

If you’d like to know more about how to implement these solutions or have any other technology questions, contact us here.

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