The 2020 pandemic greatly influenced consumers’ preference for online shopping. This preference for online shopping, coupled with the closure of many companies, significantly impacted the popularity of B2B marketplaces.
B2B marketplaces offer many benefits, including analytics, flexible payment options, and seamless business operations. With technological advancements like cloud technologies, the B2B platforms have helped many business owners deliver great customer experiences.
In this article, we’ll explore how you can leverage B2B marketplaces for business success in 2023.
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B2B e-commerce involves the selling of goods and services between one business to another business over the internet. It is different from B2C, which is between businesses and end consumers. B2B is conducted between two businesses or companies, such as a wholesaler and retailer or a manufacturer and wholesaler.
Here are some relevant B2B market facts and statistics to keep in mind:
The market size of B2B e-commerce was US $8,523.3 billion in 2021 and is projected to reach US $18,771.4 billion by 2027.1 The global B2B market was forecasted to register a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.36% between 2022 and 2027.2
In addition, the B2B e-commerce marketplace worldwide is estimated at US $2.7 trillion and is expected to be valued at US $20.9 trillion by 2027.3
The B2B market has different segments, including home and kitchen, consumer electronics, healthcare, clothing, sports apparel, automotive, books and stationery, beauty and personal care, and so on. The home and kitchen segment accounts for the largest share of the B2B e-commerce market, with a value of US $1,511.13 billion in 2021.3
The key players in the global B2B marketplace include Alibaba.com, Amazon, eBay, ChinaAseanTrade, DIYTrade, IndiaMART, InterMesh, among others. These B2B marketplaces offer one-stop shopping for all needs. Many more B2B marketplaces are now emerging, with research predicting that by 2023, 15% of medium-sized B2B brands will have launched their online marketplaces.4
Asia makes up about 80% of the global B2B marketplace. In 2021, Asia-Pacific accounted for the largest B2B e-commerce market share, capturing more than 60% of the overall revenue share.5 In terms of gross volume, market size, and market share, Asia ranks number one in the world.
Meanwhile, B2B marketplaces are very popular in North America due to the presence of giant platforms like Amazon and eBay. North America ranks number two in the world after Asia-Pacific.
Other regions with great B2B market popularity are Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East and Africa (MEA). The major countries in these regions include the US, UK, Canada, Germany, China, France, Japan, Brazil, Mexico, and other Latin American countries.
According to a McKinsey & Company report, 65% of B2B companies will be transacting online in 2022.6 One of the major factors driving the B2B market growth is the increased acceptance of online platforms by business owners who want to build an online presence. Other factors include the proliferation of digital business mediums, ease of doing business and fulfilling orders, and increased third-party B2B marketplaces.
According to Gartner’s Future of Sales research, 80% of B2B sales between suppliers and buyers will occur on digital channels by 2025.4 Many people now want a seamless buying experience and online shopping offers that.
To boost your business growth and stay relevant in a competitive industry, selling through a B2B marketplace is recommended. Here are some strategies to set up your business for success on B2B marketplaces:
Inbound marketing involves creating customer-centric content to draw people to your business. It combines different marketing strategies, which often include creating captivating content, providing valuable advice, and focusing on moving your target audience down the sales funnel. Content marketing and inbound marketing are both timeless approaches to building relationships with your customers and providing something of value so that they can return.
Some of the most popular forms of content to boost visibility and stay on the mind of your potential audiences include blog posts, videos, e-books, and infographics. You can combine this with inbound marketing strategies like PPC advertising, SEO, and social media marketing.
It is important to keep up communication with your B2B leads, and one of the most cost-effective ways to do this is through email marketing. This is especially important at this time when customers easily get overwhelmed by online information and digital noise.
Email marketing is more direct and more personalized and allows you to build a bond with your existing customers. You can also segment your audience with email marketing, this allows you to send personalized messages to each segment for increased conversions, and track your B2B efforts.
Regardless of your industry, you must set yourself apart from your competitors to achieve success. How do you separate yourself from other companies and establish a memorable presence in the marketplace? By engaging in B2B brand building!
Branding involves all the strategies and activities employed to make your business compelling to your target audience. It’s about influencing people's perception of your business when they come across it.
Some of the best practices for building a great B2B brand include:
Social media networks like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram have become valuable hubs for business owners who want to expand their reach and penetrate more markets. These days, sales meetings and business decisions happen online, and social media can be a great place to build connections and boost brand awareness.
According to a study, social media is a top distribution platform for B2B content marketers, with 89% using social tools.7 Another research found that more than 60% of buyers research service providers on social media.8
Even though your target audience is other businesses, you must know that those businesses are made of individual users who use social media. So identify your customers and determine the right social media platforms you can use to reach them. You can use your social platforms for the following:
B2B should not only be focused on generating leads but also nurturing the leads and leading them down the sales process. Lead nurturing is important to convert your leads into paying customers, and it’s about bonding with your leads and giving them value to influence their purchasing decision.
The best way to do this is by showing them you care and maintaining a relationship with them regardless of where they are on the sales funnel. Your leads should cover your existing, potential, and past customers.
How do you nurture leads? There are many tips, and some of the most effective ones include the following:
As a B2B company, customer insight is crucial to delivering services that cater to customer needs. This is because you will have more than one type of customer as your organization grows, and different customers will have different needs, motivations, and pain points. Intent targeting is about segmenting your audiences and providing personalized messaging that best suits their needs.
You need to invest in getting accurate customer data to help you understand your target audience's preferences, needs, and behavior better. From your customer data, you can segment customers and build customized messaging that best fits their buyer persona.
For example, let's say you find out that your B2B company has 3 major customers segments, which are: tech companies, construction companies, and insurance agents. In this case, you can share relevant content that matters to each of the customer segments. If you have a blog post on a tech-related topic, you can send your tech customers a personalized message.
One of the most important things in B2B marketing is the quality of leads you generate. Focusing on the number of quality leads is important because they have the highest chance of converting into paying customers. It is far better to have 20 quality leads than 100 leads who don't really care about your product.
How do you improve the quality of your leads? There is no one correct answer, which is where A/B testing comes in. A strategy that works for Company X and Company Y may not work for you, so it’s best to test everything. A/B testing is a valuable tactic that involves comparing two versions of your marketing campaign, services, products, or other aspects of your business.
Test two versions of your website design, test two variations of your content format, test two social media strategies, and see which one impacts your conversion the most.
Marketers apply A/B testing for different areas of business and marketing, including:
You can test everything, and you should test as many things as possible because the more tests, the more you know what your customers like and what works best for your target audience.
The results and insights you get from your A/B test can help you improve your marketing and business growth. For example, if your target buyers prefer long-form content or illustrations, you can focus more on them.
Customers are important for B2B businesses, but building a community is key. The best way to attain business success is by building a community of supporters and an audience which cares about your business and will always refer to your brand.
One of the best ways to build a community is by maintaining interaction with your past, existing, and potential customers. Follow up on sales, reply to comments, send personalized emails, attend industry events, and nurture leads.
Whether you are a B2B or a B2C company, we can all agree that reviews, case studies, and testimonials are very important to gain consumer trust. Reviews offer a layer of endorsement that can influence the buying decision of your target audience.
For this reason, try to get as many reviews as you can from your past customers and share them on different platforms, including your website, the B2B marketplace of your choice, social media, and review platforms.
There are many ways you can advertise your B2B business to reach a wider audience. You can use paid ads on social media, invest in Search Engine Marketing like SEO and keyword research, or get your brand on industry publications.
Advertising involves promoting your brand to improve the awareness and visibility of your business. It plays a major role in your website traffic, lead generation, sales, and revenue. One of the important tips to note while advertising is your target audience; your marketing campaigns must target the right people for your brand.
Also, while you advertise and market your brand, tracking and measuring the results is important to help you understand what’s working and what isn’t.
There are many ways to grow your business, and one of them is leveraging B2B marketplaces to reach a wider audience. Alibaba.com is one of the top B2B marketplaces in the world, with over 14 million active buyers and sellers.
This platform is a one-stop marketplace for buying and selling anything, regardless of your industry. Alibaba.com also benefits users with features that include: