B2B online marketplaces are rapidly growing into a key component of all B2B sales.
Gartner estimates a compound annual growth rate in the digital commerce platform market of over 15 percent from 2015 to 2020, and Forrester projects that B2B e-commerce will account for 12 percent of all B2B sales by 2020. (That projection is for U.S. sales, but European development of B2B online marketplaces is arguably even more advanced.)
The benefits of top-performing online B2B marketplace platforms are many—including buyer-friendly user experiences, streamlined ordering and fulfillment, enhanced supply-chain management, and automatic pricing adjustments to market conditions (often through online auctions).
However, implementing an online B2B marketplace that results in increased conversions involves strategic and technical considerations that require marketplace and technology expertise to successfully address.
One of these vital considerations is the integration of existing third-party software into the marketplace solution. Software such as ERP (e.g., Oracle, SAP), CRM (e.g., Salesforce) data analytics, contract management, and marketing automation are powerful tools that enterprises are already using on a widespread basis. In taking advantage of online B2B marketplaces, these tools must be integrated into those marketplace solutions.
You should be able to create mashups between apps, ensure that data is up-to-date and pure (i.e., no duplication or inaccuracies), connect multiple apps so they can share data, integrate mobile functionality, automatically update inventory, and be able to close deals and collaborate within the marketplace. And you need a solution that enables you to not only integrate existing software and processes but also new technology and marketplace strategies.
This may seem like a tall order, but developments in digital marketplace technology—as exemplified by our Perfect Exchange platform—reduce the need for extensive internal IT involvement. They are built to integrate current and future third-party and proprietary software, as well as to accommodate your evolving processes—relieving you of technical worries so that you can focus on your core proficiencies.
This integration is accomplished through software program elements such as component-based user interfaces, configurable feature sets, and API libraries. With these functionalities—purposely developed to integrate marketplaces with unique business priorities—you can bring your operations into concert with a marketplace solution quickly, efficiently, and with much lower cost than building your own solution.
And when you select the Perfect Exchange platform, you can also gain the advantage of our marketplace and auction expertise to configure the platform to provide the highest ROI possible. We know how to strategically design a marketplace for optimal performance and how to keep it optimised.
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