B2B marketplaces: the recipe for success

18 March 2024

Business Insight

B2B marketplaces that connect professional buyers and sellers are now a booming business model, mainly because of an increasingly digital industry. According to a study by Mirakl, the volume of business between professionals in marketplaces will increase 38% worldwide by 2022. In comparison, e-commerce grew only by 6%.

This trend shows no sign of slowing down. According to PYMNTS, by 2025:

  • The B2B marketplace model has an estimated potential of €4,000 billion.
  • 80% of B2B buyer and supplier transactions could be carried out online.

And with good reason, the B2B marketplace model has a lot to offer. With a flexible buying journey, a large product catalogue and services, but also smooth payment experiences, B2B marketplaces offer innovative features and an entire ecosystem of sellers. For sellers, the benefits are equally diverse, ranging from reduced costs and simplified stock management to increased sales and improved profitability.

To better understand this fast-expanding model, let’s take a closer look at the different types of B2B marketplaces and the ingredients they need to succeed.


Main types of B2B marketplaces

As of today, five main categories of B2B marketplaces have been identified, each with distinct characteristics that meet the needs of different professionals:

  • The goods and services marketplace allows professionals to buy products or services from a variety of sellers with a wider and more diverse offering.
  • Purchasing marketplace: refers to an online procurement platform (or e-procurement) that connects buyers and suppliers to get products quickly and easily from a large catalogue.
  • The network marketplace: this makes networking and transactions between members of the same network easier by bringing together all their offerings on a single platform.
  • The circular economy marketplace is very much in vogue; here, second-hand products can be resold or rented. It presents several advantages, including stock optimisation, recycling unused products, and contributing to a CSR approach.
  • The digital transformation marketplace provides services, products and solutions linked to the digital transformation of businesses.

For a deeper understanding of how B2B marketplaces cater to diverse company needs and developments, read our article: B2B Marketplaces: Decryption of a booming business model.



What are the ingredients for a successful marketplace?

To build a successful marketplace, you must implement a strategic approach based on several foundational pillars. The following five pillars are crucial to establishing a thriving marketplace.

1.      Clearly state the promise(s) and create an attractive offer

Success starts with strategic thinking: what products or services does the B2B platform want to offer? What needs does it meet?

This is the case with Panachats, a platform that optimises and makes purchasing easier for public institutions. This marketplace makes the purchasing process much more accessible, from sourcing to contract management. It provides a wide range of products, a user-friendly interface, clear information about the catalogue and processes, and a highly available support team.

Other platforms that focus on specific niches include GreenTraders, specialised in reconditioned products for businesses; Warmango, which targets construction industry professionals; Agriconomie, designed for farmers; and Chemondis, a marketplace for professionals in the chemical industry.

2.     Get inspired by B2C platforms

Over the last few years, B2B marketplaces have observed a shift in buyer needs and are looking to replicate the positive experiences they’re witnessing with B2C e-commerce sites. Professionals are now wanting similar experiences in B2B:

  • A seamless interface and a technically optimised platform
  • Optimised catalogue management with easily searchable products
  • Good quality content and product images
  • An intuitive and powerful search engine to provide the best product suggestions
  • Clear information: stock availability, customer reviews, order confirmation, order tracking, review requests, etc.
  • Loyalty programmes

Drawing inspiration from B2C, marketplaces such as Mercateo (a procurement platform) and giants such as Cdiscount and Europages have underlined the need to build user loyalty through customer experience.

3.     Adapting to B2B Specificities while complying with regulatory restrictions

B2B marketplaces, like their B2C counterparts, are required to prioritise compliance with regulations such as PSD2, LCB-FT, and RGPD. However, in addition to these legal requirements, they must adapt to the specificities of B2B, particularly regarding payment conditions, order volumes, dynamic pricing, deferred payment, credit insurance, international currency management, paid delivery, etc. They must be able to provide multiple payment options and functionalities that are adapted to their professional customers’ expectations and payment habits.

4.     Use technology and digital innovations

Faced with growing demands from buyers and sellers and increasingly fierce competition, B2B marketplaces use technology and digital innovations to stand out.

Artificial intelligence, for example, is particularly good at improving platform performance. It can be used to personalise user experience, automate specific processes, and analyse data to identify areas of improvement. The IoT can also be deployed to optimise stock management, logistics and supply chain, thereby improving marketplaces’ operational productivity.

5.     Relying on trusted partners

Trusted partners can significantly influence the success of B2B marketplaces. Besides the company operating the marketplace, there are two key players essential for the project’s success:

  • The software publisher provides the marketplace’s infrastructure.
  • The payment service provider (PSP) provides the payment solution.


Exceptional support: The key to an optimal payment experience

Payment is at the heart of any marketplace. This means you must carefully choose your partners to offer the best possible payment solution.

As a global accredited payment service provider, Lemonway’s modular architecture means it’s involved with leading marketplace solution providers and supports many B2B marketplaces with their payment processes. At the same time, Lemonway provides maximum security for its users and ensures compliance with regulatory requirements.”

If you’d like to receive advice from our experts to make sure your B2B platform is a success, please feel free to contact us. Our dedicated team is on hand to help you with your project and provide the expertise you need to succeed.