Omnichannel selling through online B2B marketplaces

Omni-channel retail (or omnichannel commerce) is a multichannel approach to sales that focus on providing seamless customer experience whether the client is shopping online from a mobile device, a laptop, or in a brick-and-mortar store.

Last year, B2C ecommerce sales reached a mind-blowing $3.5 trillion worldwide. Even more staggering? That number is just a fraction of the B2B ecommerce market share, which got pegged at $10.6 trillion in 2018 and was projected to hit $12 trillion by end of 2019.

Companies aiming to do wholesale online have been challenged with migrating their businesses to online platforms in order to cater to the evolving expectations of the digitally empowered consumer. This is especially urgent in 2020 as COVID-19 is still ravaging the world.

“Despite this pressure to transition to digital, there are still a huge number of companies that haven’t made the switch to an online B2B channel, which presents vast opportunity for digital ecommerce agencies to identify valuable ecommerce solutions, and win B2B business.” According to Shopify, one of the leading ecommerce platforms globally.

Why is it so hard?

Managers are suddenly forced to unite their online and offline efforts with untried digital sales channels that require technical knowledge and pose high overhead costs. This challenge is especially difficult because the organization has to figure out how to tie together previously standalone business units to create a seamless multi-channel approach to sales.

In this essay, I will focus on exploring the B2B marketplaces that empower wholesale of FMCG online and enables omnichannel selling in Europe. Providing you with the list of top B2B marketplaces in the region and tips on boosting your sales in those marketplaces.

B2B Marketplaces

Marketplaces are one of the most effective tools for getting exposure and building an online presence and a great addition to your digital sales efforts. However, marketplaces create an ecosystem of what is known as coopetition, whereby being present with your competitors in a centralized location creates a magnetic effect for more potential buyers but you are also bringing on potential customers to your competitors.

Start-up costs and operating fees

When evaluating a marketplace, it is important to look at the costs associated with setting up your storefront and what each key activity will cost you - be it direct sales or leads generated.

Integrations

Most B2B marketplaces also have API integration system which enable you to synchronize between several selling platforms and your webstore. Making it easier for you to keep inventory information updated in real-time.

Closeness

Although B2B can utilize their quality content for their own marketing, their client pool is not as open as a B2C. In an attempt to protect your margins and ability to create customer individual prices, client pool is limited to registered and verified businesses only.

Standardization

Selling on a B2B marketplace will compel you to follow their requirements and specifications on prices, product listing, and customizations which gives you less flexibility compared to having your products on your own platform.

Best B2B Marketplaces in Europe

Nulisec

Nulisec.com

Nulisec.com was launched in 2018 specifically designed for B2B wholesale of FMCGs from brands to wholesalers and retailers. It enables ordering and communication but doesn’t facilitate transactions. Its design enables users to do business with each supplier separately to receive individual prices and business terms.

Toggar

Toggar.com

Toggar.com was launched in 2014 and is a self-proclaimed first Euro-Arab B2B Marketplace for European and Middle East businesses. It is mainly a communications platform. This marketplace's design is very similar to Alibaba and it also functions like it too.

Zentrada

Zentrada.eu

Zentrada.eu was founded in 2003 as a wholesale platform for consumer goods and is translated into 5 European languages and it facilitates transactions. It functions like a B2C marketplace because it displays products first and there are no minimum order values.

Nextrade

Nextrade

Nextrade was launched in 2019 in cooperation with Messe Frankfurt to provide tradeshow goers with a tool to connect and place orders online. This marketplace focuses on suppliers and buyers that already know of each other.

Europages

Europages

Europages is an old fashioned business directory for B2B businesses looking for trade partners, it is translated into 26 European languages and it primarily focuses on providing contact information to generate leads for its users.

Best Practices to Boost Sales on B2B Marketplace

Customer Experience

Customers expect the same experience in B2B as they get in B2C. With additional nuances such as free samples, lower minimums on their first order, and individual prices.

They may request comprehensive information about your business, your processes, and the product you are selling.

Product Information

Unlike B2C, business clients have more stringent requirements in purchasing. They will be very reliant on any product information they can have to make it detailed and accurate to avoid lengthy and unnecessary inquiries.

A detailed description consists of the product description, available sizes, available quantities, color options, and lifestyle images. Write product descriptions in a simple yet natural language of your target customers.

Seamless Communication

Customers are likely to purchase again from a marketplace that gives them the best experience. Before your clients buy from you, they will need responsive customer services to provide for their needs and demands.

Customers will pay attention to referrals, to see if your website, marketing materials, and employees point them to your storefront on the marketplace. And they will use social proof in the form of reviews and testimonials to see if you are a trustworthy business partner before they approach you.