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Top 5 criteria for choosing a B2B marketplace

What to look for in a professional marketplace to give your business the edge

Two procurement professionals are looking at an online B2B marketplace for procurement

A B2B marketplace is so much more than somewhere for your staff to shop. Whether it’s customisation options or functionality to further your sustainability strategy, there’s plenty to consider when you’re picking what platform to use.

B2B vs B2C

Want to know more about the difference between B2B and B2C marketplaces – and why it’s worth choosing one designed specifically for businesses?

How has the B2B buying landscape changed?

By 2025, Gartner expects 80% of B2B sales interactions between suppliers and buyers to occur in digital channels. Not surprising, considering the seismic shift towards a buyer-centric digital model, which was accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic and recent market volatility.  

Reflective of their familiar B2C shopping experiences, professional buyers want B2B solutions to offer seamless, feature-rich, customer-centric purchasing experiences. They expect a marketplace that offers visibility, automation, flexibility and scalability – so they can keep control of spending, customise it to suit their organisation, and continue to use it as their business grows. 

5 key questions to ask when choosing a B2B marketplace

But with so many solutions on the market, it can be hard to know which marketplace is right for you. Let’s take a look at five questions it’s worth asking when you’re assessing your options – from checking a solution will suit your strategy to making sure it’s compatible with your existing set-up.

A procurement professional addresses colleagues on ways to cut process costs

1. Does it meet our procurement needs and strategy?

A customised marketplace will be flexible enough to meet your specific needs and work for your organisation, wherever you are on your digital transformation journey. Some goals your chosen marketplace might help you fulfil include:

  • Having a single point of purchase
  • Reducing the number of creditors on your books
  • Cutting processing costs
  • Gaining transparency on purchasing per category, department or cost centre.
  • Streamlining procurement, approvals, invoicing and payments with a compliant and customised procure-to-pay (P2P) process
  • Keeping maverick buying at bay
  • Replacing price comparison and benchmarking

How we can help: 

The Mercateo Marketplace from Unite was designed and built specifically to meet the spend management needs of businesses. All your users, or requisitioners, have a single point of purchase, while you benefit from greater transparency and control. And, with our Single Creditor option, all your payments go through us – we handle settlement with the suppliers. 

Windmills in the backdrop of a solar farm

2. How sustainable is it?

Sustainability is the meta requirement of our time – and it’s never been more critical that we turn words into actions. The right marketplace can support your organisation’s sustainability strategy, including encouraging and incentivising buying from sustainable suppliers, and having access to a network of diverse suppliers, including SMEs and ethnic minority-owned businesses.

How we can help:

The Mercateo Marketplace gives you access to hundreds of sustainable suppliers offering millions of relevant items across multiple business-specific categories. We are the first platform business and German multinational to gain the Fair Tax Mark – the global gold standard of responsible tax conduct. And alongside our own Code of Conduct, we’re working with like-minded organisations and nonprofits to improve sustainable supply chains.

IT experts discuss ERP and P2P systems

3. Will it work with our existing IT environment?

Whatever marketplace you choose, it needs to make sense with your existing technology set-up. You’ll want to know if it’s compatible with your existing ERP and P2P systems. Can you easily integrate it with any other procurement software you’re using? And will it work with OCI or other punchout solutions, too? The compatibility of a marketplace with partner solutions is a big reason to snap it up (or leave it well alone).

How we can help:

At Unite, we’re already working with leading e-commerce and e-procurement players to help buyers and suppliers to thrive. The Mercateo Marketplace is living proof – it’s possible to use Mercateo via the web (taking advantage of its procurement functionality) or from your own e-procurement system. We offer integrations with more than 40 ERP and third-party systems (via OCI or cXML Punchout), such as SAP or Coupa – all without significant IT effort and resources.

Shippng container transporting B2B good as part of the global supply chain

4. Is it resilient?

Worldwide volatility has taught us that one of the most important attributes a business needs to build is supply chain resilience. While you have zero control over potential impacts, you can choose a marketplace that has supplier diversity built in, as well as the ability to add your own suppliers to the marketplace. That way you benefit from dependable, established relationships and negotiated terms.

How we can help:

Our conscientious B2B marketplace conducts pre-vetting of suppliers, including credit checks, to ensure they can meet your fulfilment needs. This Managed Supply is particularly important if you are buying large quantities of specialist products from industry wholesalers. You can even tailor the assortment by adding suppliers you know and trust or hosting your framework agreements at negotiated terms and reduce the threat of supply chain disruption.

IT professionals review compliance features

5. Does it have smart features?

Whether you’re a public procurement organisation, a corporate shared service business or an SME – you have your own requirements in terms of compliance, delivery times, conditions or reporting. You should choose a B2B marketplace where you can select from a wide range of useful features.

How we can help:

Mercateo offers increased supplier transparency, process efficiency and spend accountability. Fantastic functionality comes as standard, including catalogue and contract management and basket optimisation. Your procurement teams will appreciate the clear user rights and rules, including spend limits and assortments, and automated order reports. Meanwhile employees can benefit from filters, a personal order archive and shopping lists to reduce time spent searching for items.

Find the right answers with Mercateo 

When you’re picking a B2B marketplace, there’s lots to consider. But asking these questions ensures you end up with a customisable, scalable, resilient solution that will work for your business today – and well into the future.  

The Mercateo Marketplace offers just that. Our user-friendly, sustainably minded solution is already the B2B marketplace of choice for 150,000 businesses across Europe. Isn’t it time you joined them? 

Computer shows a large assortment of goods on Unite

Want to learn more?

Find out more about the Mercateo B2B Marketplace and Procurement Portal and discover how we can support your procurement needs.