As the number of listings and transactions through online marketplaces such as Amazon Business and Alibaba.com takes off, sellers must determine if they are a convenient way to reach new customers, a competitive threat — or both. And for those providers who are all in on digital, is it time to consider launching your own marketplace?
If you’re a B2B seller, marketer, or product leader, join me for my fast-paced session at Summit 2020. In 20 minutes, we’ll cover the current state of B2B marketplaces, why they have returned as a key online channel, and how to choose the best on-ramp. You can register here for our online event.
Why are marketplaces back? eCommerce is increasingly the way business gets done and is even more front and center recently as COVID-19 disrupts supply chains and pushes more buying and selling online. But more broadly, business buyers like marketplaces because they can shorten their search and find prevetted options — and often find better prices. Sellers, meanwhile, gain access to new markets, even if they have to trade convenience for less control over the customer experience.
Mapping your marketplaces strategy requires significant disruption of your current thinking. Here are some of the questions we’ll address at Summit to help you find the right approach for your business:
- Which of my products are a fit for marketplace selling? For tech firms, selling on marketplaces depends on where you already sell, what you sell (i.e., software, hardware, or services), who you’re selling to, and the frequency and size of purchases. For example, low-end hardware sales to small- to medium-sized business buyers have high potential for marketplace success. But first-time enterprise software sales . . . maybe not. And service offerings are a whole different discussion. (Hint: Can you put an SKU on it?)
- What are my paths to participating? For more general sellers, you are likely test-marketing some items through one of the general sites or vertical marketplaces (there are hundreds of options). But should you also build out marketplace functionality on your own site (which a growing set of tools allows for)? The right choice, of course, depends on how you sell today and if your goal is to sell add-on products or services to existing customers — or if you are looking to quickly enter a new market or even launch into new product categories.
- How can my team master selling on this channel? The good news is that top marketplaces offer a range of guidance and go-to-market programs for sellers. For software providers building on leading platforms such as Amazon Web Services or Salesforce, there are even more options that we’ll highlight. But wherever you are in the digital sales journey, know that you and your team will likely need to develop new competencies across product marketing and even social selling. (Spoiler alert: To thrive on marketplaces, you’ll need to think less like a B2B and more like a CPG.)
Want a sneak peak of what we’ll discuss? Check out the new Forrester What It Means podcast, where I discuss the reemergence of B2B marketplaces. I look forward to “seeing” you in early May!