Are Marketplaces the fastest growing sales channel? Demand for marketplaces is high and according to Digital Commerce360, just 24 months ago, there were approximately 70 vertical B2B marketplaces. Today, that number is 250 marketplaces and counting. 1

In the report, it’s examined how demand from B2B buyers shifted from off-line, to online, to marketplaces, and why the shift is permanent. It also talks about the rise of Amazon B2B, but this is where my opinion differs!  I think the B2B market has learned a valuable lesson from B2C and does not want to fuel the growth of Amazon selling on their platform.  As a result, B2B organizations want to stay away from using Amazon driving the growth of vertical industry marketplaces or the desire to start their own marketplace.

Online Marketplaces are not a new concept – but what are the critical capabilities that you need from a marketplace?

When you are looking to extend seamlessly from your Commerce Platform, there are niche marketplace vendors in the market but to make the user experience seamless, you should look for a solution that is built specific for the Commerce platform architecture. Capabilities that enable quick time to market, low cost of operations and ease of participant setup and enablement, along with support B2C, B2B, B2B2C, C2B, Buy-side, Sell-side requirements, with role-based access control and approval flows.

Top 6 Must-Have Features of a Marketplace

  1. Searchable and filterable content:

Not much explanation needed here – but with commerce platforms adding voice and visual search, from a consistency of experience you need to include new ways to help customers find your products and services.

  1. Booking and Order Process (Order Management):

This capability is used to order products or services by the users and get information about the order by the publisher. And here developers need to add communication channels between users and publishers. So, this order management system helps to collaborate multiple users and publishers in a single point.

  1. Payment options:

Marketplace need to have a blend of payment options that encompasses B2B and B2C. For example, ACH, Direct Payment, EFT, credit card, debit card, cash, PayPal and EMI options and also this feature need to handle billing and invoice operations. We usually use these kinds of payment options in the marketplace to ensure that both users’ groups are conveniently using this.

  1. Custom Search and Navigation:

The shoppers want to search marketplace listings exactly what they want or need. So based on their search need they want to find it quickly and execute the order process. The best marketplace design will be able to handle these kinds of custom search and navigation options to give a delightful feeling to the users.

  1. Manage Listings:

This is the must having featured in e-marketplace like sellers need to publish and manage their items. Manage listing is used by the publisher, with this they can publish, edit, view and unpublish their items.

  1. Reviews and Ratings:

This feature helps publishers and users to understand the market situation and the quality of the service. With this, both sides (publisher and shopper) can see the reviews and ratings but only users can write the review and ratings for products.

Plus, it helps if you have a partner with the experience and knowledge to know what is critical for a Marketplace solution – a quick shout-out to my friends and partner CEBS.

To learn more contact CEBS here


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Further Reading
Marketing & Commerce | July 8, 2021
Follett 2021 Performance Outstrips Industry Benchmarks
I love it when I get to share good news from our customers! The mantra for HCL Commerce is ‘The Transaction Platform that Helps you Sell More’ and that is exactly what Follett Higher Education is proving across more than 1800 storefronts! But let’s step back and share some history first: 2017/2018 - Follett was facing competitive pressure and decided to engage a top consulting firm to review the market for B2B2C platforms before committing to HCL Commerce V9, a cloud native solution. 2019 – Follett went Live with HCL Commerce 2 months before their ‘Rush’ season for Back to College and delivered amazing results for the business. 2020 - After a year Follett shared that they wouldn’t be here if they hadn’t implemented a cloud native platform, HCL Commerce V9 and been able to scale to meet dramatic increases for their online business during the pandemic. Revenue up 135%. Visit up 55%. Order up 140%. 2021 – Follett press release announces ‘Impressive Jump to #57 on Digital Commerce 360’s 2021 Top 1000 Report’ due to sales increase and conversion rates driven by platform enhancements. You can read the Follett PR here, the numbers are impressive. Follet: Jumped from #92 to #53 in the Digital Commerce360’s 2021 Top 1000 report. Achieved a remarkable 88% increase in online sales, which outpaced the average from the U.S. online retail market, of 32.4% Follett’s online conversion rate improved to 8.5%, compared to an average 2.9% across the Digital Commerce 360’s Top 1000. All credit goes to Follett for an incredible year and how they used the HCL Commerce platform to help them sell more. If you want more information on the capabilities that deliver amazing results for all our customers, click here and schedule a demo. Or hear from Lori Krzyzewski, SVP for...
Marketing & Commerce | May 18, 2021
Does your commerce platform support your sales and business models?
When choosing to partner with an eCommerce platform provider, it is critical that you choose one that provides the most flexibility from a business model and channel support perspective. Your organization may only offer a single channel for B2C selling today, but what happens when you decide to wholesale to larger customers in a B2B setup? What about B2E? What about B2B2C? What about guided selling in a call center live chat context? Managing the implementation and long-term ownership of multiple solutions to support each model would be a maintenance nightmare! Instead, select a platform that supports all these models out of the box and position your business for future expansion. For B2B, your platform will need to have the ability to manage complex catalog filtering business rules, pricing logic, contract and organization management capability. Your organization will likely benefit from having centralized promotional capability across each of the business models, as well as a shared product catalog. For even greater extensibility, you will want to choose a platform that has a robust set of APIs that will allow you to integrate in countless creative ways from additional selling interfaces and backends like marketplaces, social networks and IOT. Choosing a system that decouples its core platform capabilities from the presentation layer is absolutely critical but doesn’t over-complicate the platform by getting too granular! HCL Commerce is best of breed for large enterprise customers that have complicated business requirements and a need for growth. Our cloud-native, API-first approach coupled with decades of mature product development for multi-business model support has empowered hundreds of customers all over the planet to provide the right experience with the least lead time in the industry. HCL Commerce is the transaction platform that helps you sell more! Register for our upcoming CommerceConnect to learn more about...
Marketing & Commerce | February 22, 2021
Get the Most Out of the New B2B Buyer and Seller Administration Enhancements
When it comes to B2B Commerce, self-service is key to an optimal buying experience. With our recent releases, including Sapphire, our new Headless React based / API driven B2B Reference Storefront, registering and managing your organization, buyers and approval has never been easier. To register your Organization, simply click Sign In and then select Organization Registration. You will then complete a brief registration form within which you will register your organization as well as an organization administrator account. Upon completion of the registration form, your registration request will be sent for Approval to the Seller. As the Seller, you will then login to the HCL Commerce Management Center and launch our newly designed business tools. Yes! No more need for legacy browser support to run these important tools!!!! We have overhauled these capabilities and developed modern Angular based tooling, which leverage our robust APIs and embedded them directly in Management Center. In this case, as the Seller we want to approve these organization and organization administrator registration requests. These approvals are located under Approvals. You will benefit from lots of great search and filtering capabilities to find exactly what you need quickly. For example, using filters you are able to view only those requests that are pending. Approving/rejecting these requests are as simple as clicking on the proper option under Actions. Here you can also enter in any comments we may want to be stored with each request. You’ll then see that your two approvals have been processed and they are in Approved status. Now that the Seller has approved the Organization and Organization Administrator registration requests, the Buyer can login to the Sapphire storefront. With the new Sapphire storefront, we’ve also included a variety of useful Dashboard views. One very useful view is the Administrative Tools. This provides the...