Previously, launching a B2B marketplace was a rather non-trivial task, which included a lot of complex and time-consuming actions, such as creating an e-commerce website, developing a design, setting up an ordering system, integrating web payments and delivery options, and much more. But now it’s much simpler: anyone can use marketplace softwares and without any difficulty create a marketplace like Amazon or Alibaba Business.
In this article, you will learn how to create marketplace softwares to launch B2B (Business to business) online stores. What you need to consider, what functions to add and how to find a promising niche for your project, as well as what things businessmen value in such platforms. The instruction consists of six steps.
Step 1: looking for a project niche
B2B marketplace software
is an almost ready-to-use solution that allows entrepreneurs to create trading floors from scratch and manage them with maximum efficiency. It should be easy to use, flexible in settings and choice of functions, as well as targeting certain markets and users, since each niche has its own specifics.
So, if an entrepreneur wants to create a wholesale online store for food producers and retailers, then this will most likely be an online store focused on selling goods according to the tender system (like on eBay). If the entrepreneur wants to build a logistics platform for networking between transport companies and their customers, then such a platform will be more oriented towards building relationships.
In other words, the first step in developing a marketplace software is to choose a niche and target audience. That's what you will choose from:
- Product or service. First of all, you need to understand whether businessmen will use your platform to create a market for services or goods. This is important, because in the case of the product market, you need to make several options for standard listings and product cards where it is important to show the product (like on Amazon or Airbnb). Whereas when selling services, you need to pay more attention to the service provider, analytics, pricing mechanism, the list of advantages and business partners of the counterparty.
- Specific industry. Next, you need to choose which group of goods or services is best to bet on. For example, the market for household goods, real estate, bulky vehicles or children's toys. Either tourism, logistics or IT development in the case of services. Both the functional and the monetization model, invoices and analytics depend on this.
- Region, country, language. Existing marketplace software are programs that support English and several other languages (developed countries). What is clear, these are big markets and there is more money there. However, there are many developing countries where people do not speak English, French, Chinese, Spanish or Russian. Business in these countries is forced to do marketplaces from scratch or order expensive localization of popular marketplace softwares.
Step 2: choosing a business model
At this stage, you should clearly understand your niche and target audience, since the choice in favor of a particular business model depends on it. For example, for markets where transactions are expensive and rare (from $ 5,000 every 1-2 months), it is better to use a business model
with subscription and listing fees. If transactions occur frequently and they are small, you can use commission fees, if transactions occur very rarely (1-2 times a year), abandon such a market.
In addition, it is also important to consider the size of the business you are targeting. If these are companies with relatively small incomes and staff, then they will probably choose a business model with a subscription, the ability to choose features, and technical support from a marketplace software provider. Whereas a large business will be ready to pay a lot at once to get a standalone secure solution with great opportunities for individual customization of an online store.
The most common business models of B2B marketplace software:
- SaaS solution. A distribution model in which customers access ready-made application software over the Internet, usually through a monthly subscription. Maintenance and development of the software lies with its supplier. The client only sets it up for himself. Typically, the cost of a subscription is from $ 20 to $ 1,000 per month. Examples: Sharetribe Marketplace, Arcadier Marketplaces, Near Me Multivendor.
- Autonomous decision. The client receives software that must be installed on their servers (local or in the cloud) and configured for their needs. Usually, in this case, the buyer is engaged in the maintenance and development of the software product, less often, customer service, and software developer development. Cost - from 500 to 50 thousand dollars. Examples: CS-Cart Multi-Vendor Software, X-Cart Multivendor, Yo!Kart.
- Other business models. Still marketplace softwares can be distributed in the form of themes (templates) for WordPress ($ 50-500), free open source software, or in another way. For example, the platform can be delivered free of charge, but the marketplace will pay the developer 5-20% of each transaction conducted through the trading platform. Examples: WordPress themes Dokan Multivendor and WC Vendors, Magento-based platforms.
Step 3: determine the functionality
What features you need to add to your software to run B2B marketplaces, you need to decide based on the selected niche. Listing
will be quite simple: find the best online stores in your niche and do the same. In addition, it is also worth looking at the feedback from their customers, perhaps this way you will find out what functions are missing on existing sites or what functions do not work as users would like. Here are some of these top-end projects:
Key Features Required for B2B Wholesale Trading Platform:
Detailed Product Description. The product or service card should include the product specification, price, availability information, delivery options, and the ability to download HD videos and images. The page should contain as much detail as possible in order to remove any obstacles in the decision-making process. At the same time, all options must be implemented in several options so that your customers have the opportunity to customize the trading platform for themselves.
Search engine and filters
. Your system should allow you to search for products by keywords and filters (the set depends on the niche), usually this is size, color, cost, key characteristics. In addition, you need to realize the ability to compare multiple products and save your search history. You can also add search suggestions, automatic suggestions, and related searches based on user behavior.
Various product catalogs
. Add suppliers the ability to download catalogs, where they can showcase products with the option to order them directly from the catalog. Of course, for the B2B marketplace software it is important that there are as many options as possible for customizing the selection of directories and their fields. In addition, you can add interactive features to directories, such as pop-ups, animations, and videos. Another nice idea is to give the opportunity to "invite" customers to the product catalog and provide them with custom-made cards.
Automatic invoice processing. Allows the business to quickly process invoices and receive the necessary data. The choice of payment solutions most depends on the region and the size of the companies. There should be an option to automatically divide users of the marketplace by region (currencies).
Real-time order reports. You should also provide B2B suppliers with access to advanced and detailed order analytics. This option will allow them to accumulate and analyze sales data in real time, which is important for marketing and sales forecasting. For example, the Joor fashion wholesale market offers advanced order reports, where brands can track sales and analyze their performance.
Traffic Reports and Analytics
Market Place Orders Report
. B2B wholesale providers need analytical tools to track and measure their effectiveness. Implement the response function in real time on the pages of suppliers so that they can track traffic: the number of views (unique, in general), the dynamics of the time of day, days of the week and months. It’s just great if it will also be possible to track traffic sources (search engines, social networks, referrals).
Personal recommendations. If there are many products with similar characteristics on your customers ’sites, it may be difficult for customers to find what they need. Algorithms that track user actions and recommend similar products or services to them will help here. Now they use AI.
Personalized prices. In most cases, pricing in the B2B industry is significantly different from prices in the C2C and B2C segment. Quite often, prices in B2B markets change depending on sales, season, demand-to-supply, and other things. Therefore, many B2B trading floors have calculators with which the buyer can find out the price for today.
According to Gartner,
B2B-sellers using personalization, lifted its revenue by 15%
. This may be a commission, listing fee, registration fee, fee for access to information, advertising, freemium-model or another option for profit from the marketplace. Let customers choose one or a combination of monetization models, as well as the ability to customize them. And do not forget about the functionality for collecting big data. They also cost money.
Marketing management system. This functionality will help suppliers create multi-channel marketing to improve customer interaction, and will also provide the ability to remotely manage all operations and track important analytics in real time.
Step 4: looking for a technical partner
Ideally, the development of B2B marketplace software
should be handled by your team of web developers, who should have many years of experience and several similar successful cases behind their backs. That's just such a rarity, so most often for such projects they are looking for a technical partner who is faced with two tasks:
- The first is to create the right software, test it and bring it to mind. Sometimes this also involves analyzing the market, competitors and target audience, as this data is very important for developers.
- The second is the creation of a team that will support and develop the created software. To do this, you need to find the right people, make a whole team out of them and test it in real situations (during development and at first the software).
Where and how to look for a technical partner,
we described in detail in articles on how to choose an ERP
and CRM development company
. The ultimate goal of searches in them is different, but the techniques are essentially the same. You need to:
- Use Google, Clutch.co Goodfirms.co, Codementor.io and other services to find technical partners that meet basic requirements.
- Check in more detail the found candidates by examining their portfolio, reviews and comments, public activity, blog and social networks.
- Contact with former customers of the company and ask about their experience of cooperation, results, working algorithm, communication and other.
- Make an appointment with the best candidates.
- Choose the best based on the ratio of quality / price.
Step 5: preparing the project budget
The cost of developing a trading platform from scratch is from 3 to 100 thousand dollars. If we talk about platforms for launching B2B online stores, then their cost will be two or four times higher, since you need to implement more functions and add the ability to fine-tune them. In addition, you also need to create a mobile app
template for the store, which also needs to be customizable. This is from 5 to 50 thousand dollars, if not more.
As you can see from the table, creating a platform for launching online stores like Alibaba will cost from 215 to 431 thousand dollars. But, this is true only for SaaS and full-fledged stand-alone B2B marketplace software solutions. If you just create a WordPress theme, then it will be much cheaper - from 500 to 5 thousand dollars. In addition, you can find free open source software and improve it, which will cost from 5 to 20 thousand dollars.