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Key features of a B2B marketplace

by Byrne Anderson
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Marketplaces like and Amazon Business – which reached one billion dollars in its launch year in the United States – are emerging as the global leaders in B2B e-commerce. Other smaller players such as Upwork – connecting companies with technical freelancers – or Procsea – selling seafood products to restaurants, wholesalers, and supermarkets – present interesting and more specialized models. The success of these marketplaces reflects a shift in professional buyer behavior. These buyers replicate a personal experience in their professional practices while adding the specific demands of B2B. Today, while the marketplace model increasingly attracts B2B players, it must meet the technical constraints inherent to the segment. From price display to user rights management and the accessibility of the marketplace in multiple languages, discover the key features of a B2B marketplace.

Managing Deferred Payments: A Specificity of B2B

Deferred payment is a common practice in B2B when you create a marketplace. Professional buyers expect to find the same functionalities on B2B marketplaces as on e-commerce sites that already manage this payment method. From the perspective of the marketplace operator, the operational impacts are very different from those of a traditional e-commerce merchant, notably in four areas:

Adaptation of Payment: Historically, marketplaces operate direct payment (payment by card, transfer, direct debit) and place the order with the sellers once the payment is secured. In the case of deferred payment, the payment schedule must be adapted so that the seller receives the order, even if the payment is not yet effective.

Responsibility Carried by the Marketplace: Unlike a B2C marketplace, in the context of deferred payment, the marketplace generally carries the responsibility of the transaction if it occurs after order validation. Only the marketplace knows the buyers, so it must ensure their solvency and manage the allocation of credit limits and specific payment terms.

Use of Credit Insurance for Orders Not Operated by the Marketplace: Traditionally, credit insurance companies provide this type of service to e-commerce merchants operating directly on their merchandise. The marketplace brings a new approach to which they are gradually adapting. For example, Finexkap, through its Cash Market solution, covers the risk of unpaid invoices on marketplaces.

Order Control: Unlike direct payment, funds are not immediately recovered. As the entity responsible for receiving the payment, the marketplace has every interest in collecting the funds as soon as possible. Payment delays can imply seller payment delays, even though they are not responsible. The operator must therefore conduct fine control of the transactions to be settled.

The technical approach to managing deferred payment is to integrate the operator’s CRM with the marketplace. In this way, the operator enters the clients authorized to pay on credit into their CRM and informs the marketplace of the credit limits and authorized payment terms (type of payment, collection date, etc.). The instruction is then given to the payment service provider (PSP) to schedule a direct debit on the indicated date. The only control body responsible is the CRM, simplifying the process.

User Rights Management

Managing groups and rights is an important element in B2B marketplaces. Organizations often need several steps to create and validate an order. Prescriber, buyer, decision-maker: the person who wants to order is not always the one who validates or pays for the order. A company may also have multiple sites. It may therefore be interesting for them to distinguish the different establishments and authorized employees to place orders. Additionally, within the same organization, there may be more than one user authorized to order on behalf of the company. The marketplace must be able to identify them and provide an overview of all buyers to administrators.

Several functionalities are necessary to manage user rights in a marketplace:

Organizations: Allows grouping buyer accounts under a single entity.

Groups: Allows grouping buyers under common roles (buyer, payer, etc.).

Sites: Authorizes actions on one or more sites of the organization.

Rights: Allows assigning specific rights to user groups within the organization (potentially based on the site as well).

Managing Dynamic Pricing

Depending on the contracts negotiated between the marketplace operator and professional buyers, the latter will not benefit from the same prices for a given product or service. The marketplace must therefore be able to display different prices per client. This is known as dynamic pricing or multiple pricing. Pricing management tools handled by the marketplace in most cases or by sellers, which is much more complex to implement, come into play.

In some cases, the activity imposes very specific pricing rules that cannot be anticipated when entering prices into the marketplace. The platform must then query a third-party tool that will define the associated pricing rules. This is notably the case when producing custom products.

Quantity Discounts on B2B Marketplaces

Product prices can also vary based on the quantities ordered. In B2B, it is common for professional buyers to order larger quantities than in B2C. For example, for purchasing office supplies or ordering parts needed to manufacture finished products, sellers often offer quantity discounts to encourage the purchase of larger volumes. The marketplace must be able to manage prices adjusted to the volume of products ordered.

Managing Packaging and Delivery

It is common for products to be offered in lots in B2B. These practices directly impact product packaging, their delivery mode, and consequently the delivery price. Indeed, weight and volume can significantly affect delivery costs. Regardless of the delivery method, it is essential to be able to track the shipment stages of parcels online. It is also important to involve the client in logistics and know their packaging preferences.

Going International

Accessing your marketplace should be possible in all languages and across all countries, or nearly so! This allows for development prospects by attracting more sellers and buyers. Features related to internationalization are increasingly in demand on marketplaces and will become essential: your marketplace should not hinder European or international expansion. To address this, the back office and front office must manage multiple languages. Beyond languages, the marketplace must also manage multiple currencies to display prices in each country and manage product availability by country. Some products may be prohibited in certain countries. If products are not available or deliverable in certain countries, indicate this.

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