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B2B eCommerce Website Development: Step-by-Step Guide

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The growth of the B2B eCommerce sector has become an impressive beast that is wildly out of control. Statista released their impressive forecast report too much fanfare by proclaiming that in 2021, B2B sales will hit a remarkable $1.2 trillion. Many would-be businesses to business owners are putting on their rose-coloured glasses and planning to launch on the marketplace to ride the waves of success. 

Currently, the most significant worldwide B2B marketplaces to watch are the following:

Worldwide B2B Marketplaces - B2B Marketplace Development

The above B2B powerhouses are ‘must-watch’ marketplaces. They clearly have their fingers on the pulse of B2B eCommerce website development.

We cannot let you go without some more tips in the end.

At the end of the article, you can save a DOC with the Best Practices for B2B Marketplace Development.

What Is a B2B Marketplace Platform? 

A business to business working in the realm of eCommerce uses software for promotion, selling, buying, product displays and the sharing of information. Undoubtedly, the platform used by any booming B2B marketplace is an essential component in their ongoing and long term success. 

All B2B platforms share the following main features to build their framework: 

  • Appointment scheduling where services are booked by businesses and customers. The scheduling software consists of an integrated calendar where buyers can effortlessly make bookings. 
  • Customer profiles options where potential customers build their profiles prior to buying goods or services. The information should consist of an email address and other potential demographics such as age and gender. 
  • Analytics that have a vendor-facing section so that vendors can watch and adjust when needed. 
  • Subscription options to secure business while still striving to reward frequent customers. 
  • Marketing tools to reach new customers, build a presence and gain insights. 

A B2B marketplace platform is usually classified based on its products and services. Most fall under the easy-to-follow criteria of either vertical or horizontal. 

  1. The vertical marketplace pinpoints a particular niche.
  2. Whereas the horizontal marketplace supplies both goods and services to a wide array of other businesses.
  3. A multi-vendor marketplace hones its serves by supplying physical goods to other businesses. It is a business sector of the marketplace with a reputation for being a high investment with burgeoning overhead costs that can quickly add up to astronomical numbers.
  4. That being said, a product-based marketplace can quickly become an awfully expensive endeavour.
  5. Service marketplaces focus on helping other businesses by offering services that can run the gamut from content creation to food catering, talent, or even event management. 

The Core B2B Marketplaces’ Challenges 

The primary challenge of B2B marketplace development is to deliver a beautiful, easy-to-use and customer-centric site that also supporting complex business workflows like the following:

  • customer-specific contract pricing and custom catalogues,
  • purchasing approvals,
  • payment on credit terms and other business-specific types,
  • easy re-ordering, delivery and pickup methods,
  • and digitization of other traditionally offline processes.

Building a successful B2B marketplace development is not for the faint of heart. It has a great deal of challenges. However, with dedication and by grabbing the bull by the horns, a business can spring ahead of the pack and rise to the top. Let’s look at the core marketplace obstacles. 

  • Competitor Scanning: The global marketplace is big, and your B2B company is not going to be the only one pushing similar services or products to buyers. You’ll want to tackle an in-depth competitive analysis to take a hard look at the main players, so you can see what they are using for a strategy, so you can show their weaknesses and strengths to gain the competitive edge. 
  • Budget — Resources: The ticket to success is always developing a stringent budget and sticking to it. You’ll need to launch things with a concise financial plan. 
  • Trending Products Research: Learn who your customers are through aggressive product market research. You want to know why they are buying products, so you can figure out the metrics involved, such as the cost of acquisition. You’ll also gain insight into what the market wants with either a service or product. 
  • Target Audience: Who exactly is your target audience. You’ll need to answer this critical question to meet the challenges of a B2B marketplace development truly. 

 Read on the useful article: Website Challenges for Magento Site Owners in 2020: How to Overcome Them?


B2B Marketplace Development: The Best Practices 

Let’s explore the five smart steps needed to successfully build a B2B marketplace. 

1. Choose Your Marketplace 

It’s going to take research to choose a workable marketplace. Niche markets are hard to break into because you won’t have a lot of buyers (typically, they just buy from the suppliers directly). Overall, you’ll want to avoid becoming a middleman who no one wants to deal with. Basically, choose your marketplace wisely. 

You’ll need to identify your clients/buyers. Every factor must be carefully weighed to ensure the future and welfare of your business. It’s time to examine all the pain points with the products and services you’ll be offering.

2. Value Proposition

Take a hard look at the value proposition. It must be something that grabs attention and holds it. You want to stand out from everyone else and become truly memorable. Make things clear, concise, and exceptionally unique. Honestly, ask yourself how many times will a buyer buy the product or service you are offering. This will give you an idea of your value proposition. Low-frequency sales are high-value sales. However, if you are making high volume sales, then you can easily supply a lower volume for each sale. 

You’ll want to focus on your market, offer a better price than your competition, and look at convenience.

3.  Examine Your Distribution Option 

You’ll want to examine your distribution options. Will you be using Google Ads? You’ll have YouTubers give your products a shout-out by providing them with free samples. Make a concrete game plan for distribution. 

4.   Referrals 

Referral programs have become big in marketplaces recently. They are an excellent way to grow your users and buyers. Also, referrals help you stay relevant.

5.  UX Design 

UX design principles matter in the B2B marketplace. Keep things subtle and avoid anything overwhelming. Vibrant colours are a serious no-no that brings the only conflict to the viewer. Users should have the option of effortlessly checking product availability and, hopefully, moving onward to check out. 

Avoid overlooking automatic recurring purchases, which are a great way to save your clients time and are typically much appreciated. The entire sign process also must supply simple, easy-to-understand information. Create categories for the products, so they are easy to find. Also, offer demos, social proofs, and white papers. 

Cost of B2B Marketplace Development 

It’s hard to escape the reality that the cost of a B2B marketplace launch matters. You need to have an idea beforehand, and then you need to stick to the budget. Building any platform from scratch involves recruiting a team of experts. 

Some people use a SaaS solution or open-source software marketplace to save money. You can even use an eCommerce and website builder to skirt spending a substantial amount of money. If you can code or have a friend who codes, you might avoid hiring a software development team. These ideas are all ways to spend as little as possible. 

You can use API-based software to build the website or hire a developer or generic website builders. Open-source software might also be a possibility if you need to cut financial corners. 

In the perfect world when building an online marketplace, you’ll have a generous budget of $50,000 to $150,000, which gives you what you need to higher-skilled software developers to build your custom marketplace. 


How Much Does It Cost to Build an Online Marketplace

Below is a table that outlines the basics budget tiers needed for b2b eCommerce website development:  

Cost  Breakdown of eCommerce Marketplace Development Costs 

(The DIY Package Option) 

Use a SaaS solution or go with an open-source software marketplace. 

Create with a generic, easy-to-use website builder.

Code yourself or recruit a friend to help you out. 


(The Shop Around and Cut Corners Package Option) 

Hire a skilled and affordable developer. 

Use generic website builders. 

Open-source software is a possibility. 

$50,000-$150,000  This generous budget gives you the ability to hire leading software developers. 

You can build a custom marketplace that boasts all the needed features. 


Final Thoughts

Many people who start exploring eCommerce website development for a B2B quickly become concerned that the task might prove too much both from a time perspective and a financial scope. However, if you follow this guide, you can see that even small B2B marketplaces can compete against the big dogs if they have a plan of attack and a general idea of the steps needed to achieve success. 

Even budget should not hinder you too much in building an online B2B marketplace because you can create a nice and functional site with extraordinarily little up-front cost. Yes, it’s a struggle, but it is doable. It’s just going to take work, research, and dedication. 

If you are embarking on your own eCommerce marketplace development, you might need a little help along the way. Our experts can help you with your business and tech consulting needs. Reach out to us to learn about our all-in-one services. We can help you solve your tech challenges one step at a time, so your B2B eCommerce website development becomes a success. 


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