7 June 2023
In a world where e-commerce is gaining ground daily, B2B marketplaces have risen to the same prominence as B2C marketplaces. However, the experience of buying and selling on a B2B marketplace can be very different from that of B2C due to the complexity of the products and services on offer and the professional requirements of buyers.
To guarantee an optimal experience for their users – professional buyers and sellers – B2B marketplaces must consider several issues, both upstream and downstream of the sale. Here’s how!
In today’s digital economy, B2B marketplaces are increasingly important in business-to-business buying and selling. To ensure the satisfaction of all stakeholders, it is essential to consider pre-sales and after-sales issues.
Indeed, while the selling phase itself is essential, the surrounding phases are just as important to guarantee an optimal buying and selling journey on your B2B marketplace. So, while certain resources and functionalities are not mandatory, they facilitate the daily life of professional buyers and sellers in the marketplace. The stakes are many: satisfaction and loyalty, of course, but also security, responsiveness, and reputation.
To ensure an optimal customer experience in your B2B marketplace, you first need to ensure the quality of your catalog: the products and services on offer must be easy for end customers to consult and meet their various needs. But a rich, ergonomic product catalog isn’t enough! You must also offer buyer support, especially for complex sales (industrial, construction, etc.). To do this, you can ask your sales staff to create documentation (brochures, technical data sheets, manuals…) and provide buyers with a messaging or chatbot system. This way, they’ll have all the information they need to make their purchasing decision, and your merchants’s products/services will be given greater prominence.
Most B2B marketplaces show professional buyers the number of products available from the seller based on information the seller communicates to the marketplace. Automating the synchronization of this information is essential: the marketplace must ensure that the stocks displayed are up to date and in phase with the merchants’ actual stocks. Otherwise, the buyer risks ordering products that are not available, with difficult logistical, administrative, and financial consequences, and a loss of credibility for the seller.
B2B marketplaces must detect fraud attempts before the transaction occurs to avoid financial losses for sellers and buyers. To achieve this, it’s important to implement robust security systems. In particular, when placing an order on your platform, you must consider how you will ensure the buyer is a proven professional working for a company in the sector. One of the avenues to investigate would be to carry out a buyer KYC (in addition to the obligatory seller KYC) to authenticate professional buyers and guard against fraud.
In addition to the risk of fraud: cyber-attacks. Transactions on B2B marketplaces often involve exchanging sensitive data and high amounts of money. It is, therefore, essential to guarantee the security of these exchanges to avoid the risks of piracy or data theft. Implementing security measures such as 3d secure authentication, automatic detection of intrusion attempts, or data encryption can go a long way toward strengthening the cybersecurity of your B2B marketplace. It is also advisable to make users aware of the importance of data security and to set up regular monitoring processes to guarantee the security of the marketplace system. A security breach could quickly damage your platform’s reputation, tarnish customer confidence in your marketplace, and cause substantial financial losses for both parties.
Logistics is a key element of after-sales for B2B marketplaces. Once the transaction has been completed, the product ordered by the customer must be delivered on time and in the agreed condition. Rigorous logistics management will also help avoid delivery delays and product defects.
To achieve this, the marketplace must work with reliable and efficient logistics partners capable of guaranteeing fast and secure delivery. It can also equip itself with a high-performance ERP system to manage all its business processes and flows.
You can also set up a traceability system from order to delivery to reassure customers and optimize the dispute management process.
Good logistics management will reduce disputes, but it won’t eliminate them. You, therefore, need to anticipate all situations (defective product, wrong product received, late delivery…) and establish a marketplace-wide dispute management policy.
To manage disputes effectively, don’t forget the financial aspect! To avoid complex refunds, you can freeze the funds in the seller’s account until you are sure the buyer has received his order in full and everything is in order before paying the seller(s).
Third-party billing is another service that B2B marketplaces can offer their customers. This means sellers don’t have to deal with invoicing – which can be tedious and time-consuming – and buyers get a single invoice for an order, even if it includes products from different merchants. The administrative and accounting experience for sellers and buyers will thus be significantly improved!
Controlling transactions and the distribution of funds is a major post-sales challenge for B2B marketplaces. Indeed, financial transactions are at the heart of their activity, and managing them with rigor and responsiveness is essential to guarantee user confidence.
To achieve this, B2B marketplaces need to set up secure, reliable payment systems that enable all transactions carried out on the platform to be tracked and verified. They must also ensure that funds are distributed quickly and efficiently to the various players involved in the transaction.
The marketplace must obtain payment agent status from its PSP to control transactions. Only then will it be able to manage transactions (and emergencies) without going through the PSP.
The B2B marketplace must then manage order cancellations effectively. This includes setting clear refund policies and defining how funds must be addressed.
When the professional buyer withdraws, where are the funds? Have they been disbursed? Has the money-out already taken place? If so, how do you handle the refund? The eventuality of an order cancellation raises many questions, which the marketplace must anticipate.
Again, things are much easier if the marketplace is a payment agent. There’s no need to go through the Payment Service Provider: the marketplace takes note of the situation and immediately rectifies it.
To guard against the risk of non-payment, credit insurance is particularly interesting for sellers present in a B2B marketplace.
“Offering payment by the due date is an undeniable selling point for a B2B marketplace. It enables them to attract new buyers by offering them easy cash flow and, therefore, to develop traffic on the platform while increasing the value of the average basket. But if, in addition, the marketplace offers its sellers the possibility of ensuring their transactions and thus protecting them against the risk of non-payment, this is a lever for attractiveness and differentiation”, says Sophie Marot-Rémy, Chief Digital Officer Euler Hermes France.
In this way, credit insurance can help reduce the risk of non-payment in the event of buyer bankruptcy or insolvency, help protect sellers’ cash flow, and reinforce confidence in the payment system.
Many B2B marketplaces focus their customer experience efforts on the sales phase. However, pre-sales and post-sales are also key levers for improving the buying/selling journey in a B2B marketplace. Take full advantage of your professional buyers and sellers to ensure the best possible experience. In addition to building user loyalty, this will help you stand out!
Are you launching a B2B marketplace project? Would you like to improve your existing marketplace’s buying/selling process? Whatever your situation, managing payments, and financial flows is a strategic issue.
As a certified payment service provider available worldwide, Lemonway is already helping numerous B2B marketplaces to manage their payments. Take advantage of our expert advice to maximize your B2B platform’s chances of success: contact us!
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