B2B companies can win over new customers and build sales through marketplaces by providing the right mix of product selection, value, convenience and trust—and by learning from retail marketplaces, Scot Wingo, pictured above, said today at B2B Next in Chicago.

Creating a winning sales strategy in online business-to-business marketplaces starts with paying attention to trends in retail marketplaces, because what’s trending there will find its way to the B2B side of the industry, marketplace expert Scot Wingo said today at B2B Next 2019 in Chicago.

Scot Wingo

Scot Wingo, executive chairman, ChannelAdvisor Corp.

Marketplaces are expected to account for 65% of ecommerce sales in 2020, up from 16% in 2008, according to Wingo, executive chairman of ChannelAdvisor Corp., which helps companies sell through online marketplaces. “That means marketplaces are important to understand, because once you understand them, you can use them in a unique way to grow your business,” Wingo told B2BNext attendees during a keynote address.

Providing more value to buyers

Keys to successful selling on a marketplace for suppliers are selection, value, convenience, trust, and mobile, he said. Providing the best selection of products gives buyers more choices; sellers can deliver value through low pricing and other incentives; and they can provide convenience to customers through next-day delivery or other services, for which some buyers may be willing to pay a premium. Sellers can build trust through a combination of factors, such as consistently offering the best price, value, and convenience. Finally, suppliers must offer a mobile app, because millennials and younger generations are making more purchases using their mobile phones, Wingo said.

Another key to successfully selling on a marketplace is to reduce friction in the sales process. “Once a buyer experiences a low friction ecommerce experience, it amplifies friction in other buying experiences,” Wingo said. “That’s the world we live in today.”

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Best practices for suppliers selling on a marketplace, he said, include:

  • Selling generic products on marketplaces such as Amazon Business, and listing customizable products on a company’s own website;
  • Declassify common products as commodities by packaging services or accessories with a product. For example, a computer supplier can bundle tech support or installation services to add value to their product offerings. Moreover, by including accessories with products that constantly face price pressure, sellers can increase their profit margins.
  • Be “customer-centric.” Don’t make it difficult to redeem rewards through a loyalty program, for example. Remove the friction from the buying experience.

“Remember, what starts in the consumer side of marketplaces bleeds into B2B, and if it is not there yet, it will be soon,” Wingo said.

Peter Lucas is a Highland Park, Illinois-based freelance journalist covering business and technology.

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