Marketplaces offer unique opportunities to discover new, more efficient ways of doing business, expanding existing ecosystems and unlocking new revenue streams. As the enterprise marketplace grows, third parties will increasingly contribute to the sale of products and services on the platform, which has implications for business and operating models. The ecommerce company needs to adapt to recruit and engage third parties and manage the marketplace business.
The broader ecosystem includes suppliers and distributors beyond the traditional value chain, such as technology vendors, financial service providers, competitors and so on. To stay on top of the market and continue to be relevant, marketplace operators need to develop new operational capabilities to source partners and vendors, improve technical capabilities of the B2B ecommerce platform, and introduce new products (and services).
As mentioned above, new sources of revenue can include proceeds from commissions, fees, gathering, and selling of data or digital advertising space, logistics, financial services and so on. Even if the above implications don’t sound like the obvious marketplace benefits, they genuinely are because change encourages progress and stimulates business growth. Among the obvious marketplace advantages are improvements in efficiency, better control of the buying/selling process, decrease in costs, expansion of partner network and product offering, among others.
By providing a platform to third parties, the marketplace owners get invaluable insights into both prospective buyers and suppliers (sometimes at a global scale), which allows the company to leverage data assets to its advantage. For example, the marketplace can sell the data to third parties, use it to promote (or even develop) specific products, negotiate better prices and capture important leads. Moreover, by strategically seeking third parties that offer complementary offerings to the company’s main product portfolio, marketplaces can boost assortment quickly and increase overall marketplace sales.
In turn, by joining a marketplace, sellers get access to a great number of buyers across different geographies and the marketplace technology. Sellers can use the marketplace B2B ecommerce platform as a single point of collecting, tracking and managing orders, gathering feedback from users on products and deliveries, all of which significantly simplify their operations and lower operational costs. What benefits all (including customers) is the transparency that the marketplaces allow with their clear, competitive pricing and service costs.