A B2B marketplace is an online platform that gives B2B buyers access to a huge range of solutions and services. Equally, sellers can reach a much wider audience, and enhance and refine their offering through connection and collaboration. Unlike traditional B2B selling, this digital setting fosters an ecosystem of different technologies and providers, enabling businesses to leverage bundles and integrated solutions in a safe and secure environment meeting the needs of buyers in search of the next leap forward.
B2B marketplaces offer an efficient way to offer SMBs - and enterprises – highly specific solutions at scale. They also provide an opportunity for partners to pool knowledge, and share tools and software. Other benefits include:
Establishing a brand presence in a B2B marketplace increases reach to customers across different verticals and territories. Enterprises and SMBs are looking to invest in digital solutions. And with so many solutions available in one place, the B2B marketplace can become the go-to destination for buyers - and the most convenient and accessible way for CSPs to market, sell and manage partner services.
Many CSPs have already attempted to operate their own versions of a B2B marketplace. However, these marketplaces have been largely unsuccessful, held back by inadequate infrastructure and the inability to integrate multi-party offerings. But the Beyond Now proprietary marketplace changes everything. It enables CSPs to partner with multiple providers to deliver unlimited solutions for customers, seamlessly integrating different technologies and products, and automating all of the necessary functions including catalogues, billing, and fulfilment.
CSPs set up a virtual shopfront for third-party apps and more straightforward solutions, facilitating transactions between third-party sellers and buyers. The user searches the platform by the service or product they require. Owners have control over the overall experience in everything from pricing to availability.
As new technologies like 5G, Edge and IoT make their presence felt on the market, it opens up the opportunity for a huge range of new and unique use cases. Marketplace sellers can partner up to provide the most useful, innovative solutions using these technologies. CSPs are faced with the choice between continuing with their more traditional services offering, or making the leap and embracing the true, solutions-based marketplace.
Much of the appeal of setting up a B2B digital marketplace is in its scalability and reach – offering solutions for businesses of all shapes and sizes to make their everyday processes smoother and simpler. Some of the features that help accomplish those objectives for marketplace buyers and sellers alike include:
Global reach, local touch. The ability to offer services that cross borders, offering relevant and timely services to customers at speed and at scale – while also taking into account local market conditions and, if applicable, geographic availability of goods and services.
Scalability and agility. The right platform comes with capacity to handle the vast streams of data flowing in from various use cases of Edge computing, IoT services, and more – and to automate processes at scale. There’s also the agility to respond and adapt to specific needs by integrating new technologies and services into the wider offering – at speed – if the customer spots an opportunity.
Flexible pricing. One size does not fit all in a fast-moving market – a B2B marketplace enables support for any pricing model or multi-party agreement.
A secure solution. Security is a massive requirement – and an increasingly complex undertaking at scale. With full control over billing, services and packages, and partner services, suppliers can safely monitor progress and ensure data is managed securely.
Simplified sales process. Customers can take the hassle out of repeat orders with one-click checkout, and avoid dealing with reps. With easy-to-arrange repeat transactions, customers will want to keep coming back because it’s such a time-saver. Standardize shipping methods, payment orders and order fulfilment for a simpler, smoother process.
Opting for the scalable, secure, and agile solution, a B2B marketplace platform offers a great deal of benefits for businesses.
New revenue streams. CSPs can generate additional income by joining B2B marketplaces. There they can offer telecommunications services such as connectivity and cloud solutions to other businesses.
Efficient procurement. B2B marketplaces can be a cost-saving source of procurement for CSPs. Simplify processes and reduce costs by sourcing network equipment, infrastructure and software from other sources on the same platform.
Rich analytics. From the rich seams of data generated in a B2B marketplace, brands can create targeted insights on customer and partner preferences through specialist, customizable reports, and built-in dashboards. Monitor service in real time, and make informed decisions on pricing, positioning and product development.
Flexible commercial models. CSPs can partner up with other businesses within the ecosystem. Revenue sharing between partners collaborating on bundled solutions can be dynamically adjusted depending on seasonality, demand, and capacity.
Rapid response. A SaaS delivery model, plus an agile and scalable framework provides ample support for rapid development and deployment of customer support solutions.
Autonomy within the partner ecosystem. Partners can oversee their own offering through customizable controls, giving them the freedom to self-manage and collaborate on new marketplace solutions.
Full control and governance. The owner of the digital marketplace has full visibility over orders and payments, so it can use customer data to formulate product strategy and price products according to demand.
Scalability. CSPs should be able to scale with demand, adapting to market forces by having the ability to customize solutions, integrate with technology, and assess feasibility for expansion into other sectors, territories, and platforms.
The benefits that B2B marketplaces represent for SMEs
With the right B2B marketplace platform, there is the capacity and flexibility to integrate new and emerging technologies designed to reduce buyer-seller friction and increase efficiency.
Sustainability is always front of mind when considering the possibilities of new technologies. Some platforms may require sellers to prove their credentials on sustainable selling to receive access to the platform, or enjoy particular perks on visibility. CSPs should focus on not only their own sustainability measures – and some of them are succeeding according to this report – but those of their customers too.
The B2B marketplace model is becoming increasingly about collaboration between partners in the ecosystem. Brands come together to develop and combine technologies that accelerate innovation and make the best use of what’s already on the shelf. The needs of buyers are becoming ever more specific, which is why brands are seeing the value of partnering up to meet demand.
Most marketplace owners are looking at the opportunity presented by artificial intelligence – it’s become synonymous with progress but needs more long-term thinking. With its ability to perform more commonly perceived human-only tasks, AI is another timesaver at its core, with the ability to analyze data and make predictions, recommend courses of action, and fill in the gaps in customer behavior. CSPs should not rush into implementation at the cost of the user experience, however.
What do SMBs need and expect from their CSPs?
The digital B2B marketplace should be a business’ first port of call for finding bespoke solutions to their needs. That’s why as an owner, you hold the key to a game-changing suite of solutions. Facilitating frictionless collaboration within your ecosystem is where the true value lies in digital transformation – unlocking growth at speed, and at scale.
Go beyond B2B marketplace platforms – Start something today.