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Creating a successful B2B marketplace: Key steps and practical advice

Published on May 18, 2024

marketplace B2B succès

From creating a business plan to selecting the right marketplace solution and implementing an effective marketing strategy, creating a B2B marketplace is a strategic process that requires a meticulous approach. It is, therefore, essential to know and understand the key success factors for such a platform, such as identifying the essential functionalities for users and choosing the right payment service provider.

With this in mind, discover the key stages and our practical advice for launching a successful B2B marketplace.

Why create a B2B marketplace?

Creating a B2B marketplace has several benefits for companies looking to differentiate themselves. Firstly, it allows them to assert their leadership position by providing a privileged showcase for their products or services. Unlike a simple e-commerce site, a marketplace expands the range of products and services to meet broader needs.

Moreover, launching a B2B marketplace is a powerful lever for differentiation in a saturated competitive environment. It can become a powerful argument for increasing customer loyalty, thanks to an optimised and personalised user experience.

Finally, creating a B2B marketplace can also facilitate internationalisation. It is an excellent way to test new markets without the usual constraints associated with physical geographic expansion.

However, creating a B2B marketplace is not without its challenges. The environment in which these platforms operate requires strict compliance with current standards and regulations. In addition, it is essential to offer a user experience close to that of the best B2C platforms to meet the increasingly high expectations of professionals regarding ease of use and security.

Preparing to launch your B2B marketplace

Identify the target market

Before launching your B2B marketplace, you must clearly define the market in which it will operate. This involves understanding the industry dynamics and identifying the key players: suppliers, customers and competitors. This analysis will enable you to identify the market’s challenges, opportunities and trends. Each industry is subject to specific regulations and characteristics that can affect how transactions are conducted in a marketplace.

Assessing the market’s potential for profitability is also a crucial step in defining the business model for your marketplace. By analysing possible revenue sources, projected costs and expected margins, you’ll get a clearer idea of the viability of your project and be able to adjust your strategy accordingly.

Define your unique value proposition

The key to a thriving B2B marketplace is its ability to stand out. Defining a unique value proposition that highlights what makes your platform different and more attractive than your competitors is essential. This could be an innovative service, cutting-edge technology or a better understanding of the needs of your target audience.

Your value proposition needs to be clear so that your potential customers immediately understand the benefits of your marketplace. It must be unique to differentiate you from the competition and attractive to capture the interest and commitment of your audience. At the same time, you need to define the type of B2B marketplace you want to develop. Whether it’s a niche platform offering highly specialised products or services or a more general marketplace covering a wide range of products/services, your value proposition needs to be adapted accordingly.

Understand your audience

Identifying who your potential customers are is an essential step. To do this, you must define their industry, location and other relevant criteria that may influence their buying behaviour and interaction with your platform.

Remember, as a marketplace operator, your first customers are the merchants. Your first task is to convince them to join your platform, which means that you also need to understand the expectations of their own customers – the marketplace buyers – to design a marketplace that will generate volume.

Ease of use of the platform, variety and quality of the products or services offered, variety of payment methods, responsiveness of customer support, etc. Understanding the needs and expectations of your personas (typical customers) is key to aligning your offering with what they are looking for in a B2B marketplace. It’s equally important to understand any barriers they may have to using your marketplace. On the buyer side, this could be concerned about the security of transactions or resistance to change. By identifying these factors, you can take steps to reassure them.

White paper: Changing a marketplace's payment solution, why and how ?

The key stages in creating a B2B marketplace

Choosing the right platform

The platform you choose must be able to support all the functions that are essential for your marketplace, such as managing transactions and your reference catalogue, product updates and much more. It also needs to provide a fluid and intuitive user experience for sellers and buyers to make the marketplace easier to use and more engaging.

There are several types of platforms to choose from, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.

  • All-in-one solutions offer a turnkey approach, integrating a wide range of functionality required to run your marketplace. This can be a significant advantage in terms of simplicity and design speed.

  • Dedicated CMS and e-commerce platforms offer greater flexibility and customisation. Although they may require more time and resources to integrate and implement, they allow you to create a unique and differentiated user experience.


The solution choice should be based on your needs, budget and long-term vision for your marketplace. Don’t forget to assess the platform’s ability to grow with your business and adapt to changes in the market.

Designing the best user interface

Your marketplace interface needs to be intuitive and meet the expectations of both sellers and buyers. To facilitate product discovery, the information architecture must be designed so that users can easily find what they are looking for through clear categories, effective filters and a powerful search engine. Shoppers need to feel that the platform is adapting to their needs and preferences, for example, through recommendations based on their browsing history or previous purchases. This increases engagement and loyalty.

Similarly, the simplicity and clarity of the interface is essential. A clean design and easy-to-navigate menu avoid confusion and optimise the shopping experience. Another important consideration is the responsiveness of the interface. Today’s users access the Internet through various media, so the marketplace must provide a consistent user experience across computers, tablets and smartphones.

Offer key functionalities

Specific key functions need to be integrated and optimised to ensure the smooth running and success of your B2B marketplace.

  • Practical support and customer service are essential. It provides fast, professional assistance to buyers and sellers.

  • Multilingual management and internationalisation capabilities are also essential for a marketplace that wants to expand geographically and reach a wider audience.

  • A transparent and fair dispute management process to resolve disputes between buyers and sellers builds confidence in the platform and ensures a trustworthy environment.

  • A well-established, transparent and fair refund policy is also essential. It needs to be easy to understand.

  • Credit insurance provides additional financial security for business-to-business transactions and is particularly important given the sums involved in a B2B marketplace.

  • User rights management is fundamental to maintaining the integrity and security of the platform. It allows different levels of access and control to be defined for administrators, merchants and buyers, depending on their roles and responsibilities.

  • Finally, transaction management is at the heart of running a B2B marketplace. It is essential to have a robust system for managing online transactions that considers the specifics of B2B, such as payment by date or bulk orders. Therefore, a flexible and secure payment solution that can adapt to the different needs of businesses is essential to facilitate commercial exchange.

Setting up a powerful payment solution

The choice of payment service provider (PSP) is crucial in ensuring the success and long-term future of your B2B marketplace.

Your marketplace’s payment solution must offer robust security and comply with current regulations to protect transactions and user data. It is also important to provide a variety of payment methods tailored to the needs of professionals, such as:

  • Credit cards, which are also popular in the B2B industry

  • Virtual IBANs, which facilitate international transactions

  • Pay by Bank, which provides secure access to bank details for simplified bank-to-bank payments

  • Pay by Link, a convenient solution for remote payments

  • The SEPA Direct Debit mandate, or electronic SDD, for simplified recurring payments

  • Bank cheques


It is important to integrate local payment methods to support marketplace internationalisation. This not only ensures compliance with local regulations but also reflects the payment preferences of each region. German professionals do not have the same payment habits as Italians or French!

The chosen payment service provider must also be flexible and modular to adapt to market developments and new user needs.

Similarly, a solution that includes a dashboard or payment performance monitoring system is a valuable tool for marketplace administrators. It will enable them to monitor real-time transactions, identify trends and quickly identify any problems. Dedicated support and guidance will promptly resolve technical issues or payment questions, improving the overall user experience.

Lemonway, the preferred partner for B2B marketplaces

As a pan-European payment service provider dedicated to marketplaces, Lemonway offers a secure, compliant payment infrastructure tailored to B2B needs. With a focus on innovation and performance, Lemonway integrates multiple payment methods and facilitates internationalisation by managing multiple currencies and local payment methods. Its flexible, modular solutions can be tailored to the needs of B2B marketplaces, with dedicated support and monitoring tools for optimised transaction management.

Want to know more about Lemonway? Contact our experts!

Case study: How Lemonway helped Decathlon launch its marketplace in 10 countries in 6 months?

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