Which Companies Can Benefit from Virto Marketplace. Architecture of the Solution.
Since the release of the Virto Marketplace platform in March 2022, we have received questions about the target audience for this new product. In other words, what kind of company will typically benefit most from using the Virto Marketplace platform for their marketplace project?
The Virto brand is well known in the software market, primarily as the vendor of an advanced B2B ecommerce platform. Many respected brands use Virto for their B2B ecommerce activity.
In 2021, Virto Commerce software
was included in Gartner's 2021 Digital Commerce
with an Honorable Mention.
We understand that some prospective clients may want to read more about the scope of Virto Marketplace and evaluate the product's capabilities before contacting us for demos and pre-sales advice. If that’s you, let's dive into business objectives and what Virto Marketplace software can do for you.
Why Companies Are Interested in a B2B Marketplace
The most illustrative example of using the Virto Marketplace platform is when a company already has a B2B online store and wants to expand its sales opportunities by inviting partners and third-party sellers to promote and sell products on its website, turning a mono-brand online store into a marketplace.
The first step we see in such cases is when a company from the B2B sector simply adds some pages with a description of partner products to the website. Generally, these descriptions do not have product attributes and are often displayed without even a price.
Obviously, placing partner product descriptions on the vendor website is just an exchange of links, not a marketplace. Prospects are invited to go to the partner's website and submit their request there. The maximum benefit a vendor receives is the ability to track the number of visitors continuing on to a partner's website. You will never know, however, if that customer bought a product from the partner or not. Accordingly, you cannot count on commissions.
You can find other illuminating examples of electrical engineering and mechanical engineering at vendor portals. Their partners are listed on their website, with relevant offerings like project documentation and professional services for the maintenance of machines, etc.
Some partners also build their physical products based on the vendor's components, like assembling electrical cabinets from the vendor’s relays and switches. But for customers, there are no actual prices, no product or service specs, and no ability to place the order and pay.
Take note of another rapidly growing niche for online marketplaces. Many IT companies are interested in building their application ecosystem as a marketplace. Such a marketplace is intended to sell various add-on applications and digital services developed by third parties to expand the functionality of software products from the marketplace owner.
The truth is that many B2B vendors are interested in building a marketplace, but the ecommerce software they use is probably not capable of implementing this functionality. So SMB sellers are especially interested in expanding their customer base through the marketplace owned by a large vendor.
Now, as we have identified the market niche and target audience for our new product, including vendors, suppliers, implementation partners, and third-party sellers, let's see how Virto Marketplace works in more detail.
Build Partner or Private B2B Marketplace Using the Virto Marketplace Platform
What kinds of online marketplaces do B2B vendors usually consider building? We submit there are at least two types, possibly more:
- Partner B2B marketplaces accumulate offers from partners with products and services that expand the functional capabilities of a portal owner's products.
- Private B2B marketplaces offer industry-specific products and services to approved buyers and sellers with access.
Virto Marketplace provides out-of-the-box support for ready-made business processes and workspaces for Marketplace Seller and Marketplace Operator. The functionality of the business processes is divided into two roles – the seller and the marketplace admin (also called the portal operator, i.e., the employee who manages the portal for the portal owner).
We are positioning the Virto Marketplace software as a vendor-independent or agnostic marketplace platform. It delivers the flexibility to build an online marketplace from scratch or add marketplace capabilities on top of a customer’s existing ecommerce solution.
Creating a marketplace from scratch is no problem.
Virto Commerce is a great place to begin your next project.
Virto Marketplace allows you to extend virtually any primary ecommerce solution that is ready to integrate with a private or partner marketplace. This can be done via API endpoints, connectors, or low-code tools like Microsoft Logic Apps, which can be built without re-platforming.
If you need additional functionality, Virto Marketplace
can be extended with new functionality and business processes
by integrating market-leading third-party applications.
What's Under the Hood of the Virto Marketplace Software?
For starters, Virto Marketplace is built on Virto Commerce platform architecture. This means Virto Marketplace inherits all the benefits of the Virto Commerce platform and architecture, such as API-first, headless, microservices, composability, and atomic-like modularity.
TheFeaturedCustomers rated the Virto Commerce platform a Rising Star
in the 2021 Headless eCommerce Platforms Category.
This review gives prospects better insight into which headless ecommerce platforms would work best for their business according to real customer preferences.
Virto Commerce has developed new packages and modules for Virto Marketplace to build out-of-the-box tools for Operator and Seller roles. The Operator (aka Admin) is the owner of the marketplace, and the Seller is the company or other body intended to sell their products on the marketplace.
The logical division into Seller and Operator packages allows for independent deployment of the solution, scaling (Scale Up and Scale Out), and development. Security requirements are paramount in the choice of such a scheme as well.
The solution also includes a new responsive Seller Portal with intuitive UX/UI for sellers to manage tasks.
- All modules included in Virto Marketplace software can support the unique Virto Extensibility Framework, which makes it easy to customize the solution and still receive updates from the Virto Marketplace team.
- All functionality is available through the API. Therefore, Sellers can start building their own integrations.
- Virto Marketplace supports out-of-the-box deployment in Virto Cloud (PaaS), which allows you to get a full-fledged DevOps, infrastructure-as-code environments, and pay-as-you-go price model in a matter of minutes.
Integrating Virto Marketplace with your ecommerce software is carried out using special API-based connectors. We offer integration with Virto Commerce and the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Commerce engine.
How To Get a Virto Marketplace Demo
Now it’s time to see how your new marketplace can be built on top of your existing ecommerce engine using Virto Marketplace.
- The first step is to deploy the Virto Marketplace solution in the cloud.
- The next two steps can be executed in parallel or one after another:
a. Customization of the marketplace solution.
b. Setup of the integration layer
- If needed, the third step is developing add-on functionality. If Virto Marketplace out-of-the-box functionality is not enough or does not completely match the customer's business requirements, new features may be needed to develop or adjust existing functionality.
- Building integration connectors with the existing ecommerce solution is the most critical step. The deployment team needs to communicate with the ecommerce solution team about establishing endpoints and data exchange formats to execute the next scenarios:
a. Integrate catalog structure and build taxonomy synchronization from the existing ecommerce solution to Virto Marketplace. Now the Marketplace Operator will be able to manage catalog categories for the Sellers.
b. Build the synchronization for products and variations (including offers, price lists, stock levels, etc.) from Virto Marketplace to the existing ecommerce solution. Then, products from the Sellers will become available in the ecommerce back end.
c. Build order synchronization from the ecommerce solution to Virto Marketplace. Orders must be synchronized to allow marketplace Sellers to process them. The marketplace receives the orders and passes them on to the Sellers.
d. Build order updates' synchronization from Virto Marketplace to the existing ecommerce solution. The purpose is to synchronize order updates from Virto Marketplace to the ecommerce solution and make this info available to end customers.
- The last step is customization of the buyer's customer experience. That includes updating the storefront, applications, and other touchpoints, if any.
- Perform additional tuning and customization for integrated dataflow between the existing ecommerce solution and Virto Marketplace, based on the pilot launch of the marketplace for a limited number of sellers.
- After all the previous steps are completed and confirmed, the marketplace solution is ready to go live and start onboarding Sellers.
Converting your company portal to a marketplace is a good way to expand sales opportunities both for marketplace Owners and Sellers. Revenue models for marketplaces include commission from each order, subscription or membership fees, listing fees, lead fees, charging for additional services and items, and third-party advertising. Marketplaces often combine several different revenue models.
On the side of Buyers, marketplaces of any type provide greater business opportunities, a wider range of products, and competitive prices. Virto Marketplace allows you to build a very flexible and composable ecommerce solution, which includes a developer environment for customization and fine-tuning of the marketplace features.