Consumer ecommerce sales have boomed in the last 18 months, but online B2B sales are also evolving via the use of B2B marketplaces.
To explore this, we spoke to Rick Lanman, regional sales manager of B2B marketplace platform CloudBlue. CloudBlue provides subscription, partner and catalogue management systems that businesses can use to sell everything from Software-as-a-Service and Infrastructure-as-a-Service to insurance and professional services.
Lanman predicts a proliferation of B2B marketplaces in the next few years, with demand driven partly by a desire to simplify B2B transactions, as well as by changes in online buying behaviour.
“Certainly the last 12 to 18 months has made many companies look at how they manage a digital supply chain, and what processes they have that can become self-service. And with that, they're also thinking about how they take care of the complexity of B2B sales through digital channels,” Lanman says.
“In many ways the pandemic has changed buyer behaviour and forced companies to adapt how they sell. Virtual sales and digital B2B sales are here to stay. And that's a positive, given the buyers are comfortable with online transacting, and more and more millennials are filling those roles.”
The speed at which companies can launch online sales channels using platforms such as CloudBlue is also one of the platform’s selling points.
Another drawcard is its business ecosystem, which include tier one telecommunications companies, technology vendors and integrators. Some of these companies have used CloudBlue to “establish new lines of revenue or grown existing ones to the tune of millions of dollars,” Lanman says.
Enterprises also use the marketplace to streamline procurement processes.
Lanman argues that this sales model will continue to grow in importance. “A company's ecosystem will be an important measure of how digitally fit they are moving forward,” he quips.