B2B marketplaces: which challenges for key accounts?

7 June 2023

Business Insight

The B2B marketplace is a fast-growing model, appealing to professional buyers and sellers alike. It’s hardly surprising that some of the world’s leading retailers have jumped on the bandwagon! But in this booming market, the big names in B2B marketplaces still face several challenges. Here’s the lowdown!


Managing complex sales: thinking communication and content

High volumes, complex sales, high value-added products… The requirements of specific sectors (industry, construction, etc.) mean that B2B marketplaces for major accounts must redouble their efforts to reconcile specific purchasing practices, a smooth purchasing process, and adapted services to stand out from the competition. So, how do you adapt sales proposals to the various parties involved? How do you establish a climate of trust when 5-figure sales are involved?

Firstly, by facilitating communication and offering quality customer service! Indeed, even if B2B buyers are “legal entities,” we mustn’t forget that they are, first and foremost, human beings who decide to put together a shopping cart and make a payment. To help them in their decision-making, you can provide a messaging or chatbot system. The aim? Answer their questions and guide them in purchasing decisions by removing their doubts and disincentives. The chatbot also enables you to collect data on potential buyers while limiting the intervention of your teams. Two birds with one stone!

A second idea for meeting the challenge of complex sales on your marketplace: ask your sellers to create documentation so buyers can quickly find the information they’re looking for. You can also provide your sellers with practical tools, such as content templates and best-practice communication guides.


Facilitating outsourcing for buyers

While B2C buyers are driven by urgency and emotion, B2B purchases are generally conducted and validated by several levels of decision-makers and departments within the company. Outsourcing is, therefore, a strategic step for B2B buyers, who need to be able to compare offers to make the best decision for their company.

To appeal to professional buyers, B2B marketplaces must facilitate their outsourcing process by centralizing purchases and offering a wide catalog of quality products that professionals can compare and acquire from a single platform. So, instead of consulting a direct seller, the professional buyer will turn to the B2B marketplace to benefit from the advantages offered: aggregation of services, centralized invoicing, and adapted payment terms and methods…

To avoid buyers going directly to suppliers, B2B marketplaces must also go further in bringing buyers and sellers together and in the payment experience they offer. One solution is to facilitate invoicing. On some marketplaces, when an order concerns a multi-seller basket, several invoices are issued (one per seller). However, the number of sellers involved in an order can be considerable, making administrative management more complex for corporate customers. As a key account, you must implement solutions to avoid this pitfall. Offering a billing mandate service on your B2B marketplace can significantly benefit your professional buyers and your sellers.


Inventory management: providing information in real-time

Large-account marketplaces are the scene of high transaction volumes. This raises the question of inventory: the right quantity of products must be available at purchase, whether managed by the marketplace itself or by individual sellers. Should a stock shortage or delivery delay occur, this could have damaging consequences for the buyer, both in logistical and financial terms, and negatively impact the marketplace’s image.

How to avoid unpleasant surprises? As an expert B2B marketplace, it’s important to know and pass on the number of products available from each seller in real-time. Automated information synchronization is essential for this: it ensures that the stocks displayed on the platform correspond to the actual stocks held by the sellers.

It should be noted that product delivery is also a major issue for key account marketplaces, particularly in the context of calls for tender, where the receipt of products is governed by precise timing, or else late delivery penalties apply. In such situations, the management of deliveries by each seller can be a problem. The solution? Grouping deliveries with a single distributor, but beware: this requires a well-honed organization.



Payment processing: improving the buyer experience

Although the interaction between professional buyers and sellers is increasing, B2B marketplaces are still far from mature. Still in its infancy and with great potential, this market needs to be perfected, particularly regarding payment processing. Quickly outdated, not all platforms have been able to take advantage of the digital innovations used in B2C, resulting in significant revenue losses: over 40% of CFOs estimate that their company loses around 5% in revenue every month due to shortcomings in payment processing!

Why the delay? Large amounts, the need to stagger payments, and service expectations differ from B2C. Fortunately, new technologies can help you meet these specific needs by offering a better payment experience on B2B marketplaces. For example, you can provide multiple payment options adapted to professional use: easy transfers thanks to virtual IBANs and Open Banking, Pay by Link, Request-to-Pay, BNPL (Buy Now, Pay Later), electronic SDD mandate, billing mandate, and validation workflow…

To learn more, also read Open Banking, BNPL, and Pay-by-link… New B2B payment experiences to keep an eye on.

Another major issue for B2B marketplaces is fraud. B2B marketplaces, especially large accounts, must deploy solutions that prevent fraud upstream of transactions. As transaction amounts and volumes are high, and the risk of embezzlement is high, it is advisable to set up a customized KYC system that verifies and checks the identity of buyers on the same principle as the KYC system for authenticating sellers.

Lemonway is the ideal partner to support your B2B marketplace development strategy and meet your payment requirements! As a pan-European Payment Service Provider, Lemonway offers innovative payment methods adapted to large B2B marketplaces while simplifying the purchasing process within your platform. Would you like to find out more? Contact us now!