B2B Marketplace: what are the challenges?

21 December 2022

Business Insight

Expanding a business ecosystem, internationalising an activity, massively expanding a catalog, optimising purchasing process, managing stocks, etc. The B2B marketplace is an effective model for growing market share, brand positioning, and differentiating a company. According to a study by PYMNTS in collaboration with American Express, 80% of B2B buyers’ and suppliers’ transactions could be conducted electronically by 2025. This means that the model is very attractive and that there are still great opportunities to be seized!

However, it should be noted that implementing a B2B marketplace is long and complex. For example, several technical issues need to be addressed, including the connection between the different technological solutions (CMS and PSP) necessary for the marketplace to function correctly and the successful scaling of the platform. This last point implies knowing how to respond to the challenges related to the satisfaction of professional customers by offering them an exceptional experience.

Whether it is optimising and personalising the purchasing process, complying with regulations, benefiting from appropriate skills and expertise, or making payments more fluid, being supported by a trusted service provider is essential. Here is an update on the challenges facing B2B marketplaces.


B2B Marketplace: the importance of creating B2C-like experiences


With a few exceptions, your corporate client is already digitally literate on a personal level. They are no doubt expecting a similar experience in their business environment.

This is why a marketplace operator needs to think about the B2B customer experience using B2C UX codes. The watchwords? Simplicity, fluidity, and efficiency… from the connection to the platform to the payment tunnel! In this respect, it is essential to :

  • Ensure the technical optimisation of the platform (responsive interface and fast loading time) and the coherence of the design/ergonomics combination, which must be “appealing”.
  • Choose your third-party merchants rigorously: technical expertise, specificity of their offer concerning buyers’ needs and relevance of the information made available to the platform’s users.
  • Check the quality and regular updating of contents and images. To enrich these contents, information such as FAQs, comparisons, blog posts and other user guides are highly recommended and reassurance elements.
  • Integrate relevant keywords to benefit from increased organic traffic and ensure that each query on the marketplace, even the most specific, leads to a satisfactory result for the user. In this respect, the platform’s search engine must be intuitive and powerful to offer the best product suggestions.
  • Reduce the purchasing process to a maximum of three steps, for example, by removing disincentives to purchase, such as re-entering information already provided.
  • Communicate in a transparent and non-intrusive way: customer reviews, chatbot service, shopping cart reminder, order confirmation and follow-up emails and finally, an invitation to leave a review.


In short, efforts to treat your buyers as individual consumers and not as companies help to increase conversion rate and reduce order abandonment. In the end, your B2B marketplace gains credibility and brand image.


B2B Marketplace: more and more customisation


Like their B2C counterparts, B2B buyers appreciate being offered personalised deals based on their needs. To meet this demand, it is essential to know your buyer well and to be able to follow them through their entire buying journey. Indicators such as the average basket, the products consulted, the time spent per page, the purchase frequency and delivery preferences are all helpful information for a personalised sales promotion.

Depending on the buyer’s profile and needs, personalisation in a B2B marketplace can be illustrated differently. For example, you can encourage your buyers to spend more than expected with an adapted upselling offer or a complementary purchase with an attractive cross-selling. Personalising a customer relationship via a platform also means identifying the date of recurring orders to send the buyer a reminder email beforehand. Finally, access to a catalog displaying contractual prices is a must for some buyers.

The challenge of personalisation for B2B marketplaces lies in the ability to collect, analyse, and use mass data related to the purchasing path of their buyers.


B2B Marketplace: a highly regulated ecosystem


Like the French and European e-commerce sectors, transactions carried out on a B2B marketplace are regulated, the aim being to protect the various stakeholders of the platforms. The scope of these regulations concerns cybersecurity as much as compliance with tax rulings depending on the country concerned or the fight against financing illegal activities. It is up to the operators to ensure that their platform complies with the legal obligations in force.

Beyond the framework set by the General Terms and Conditions of Sale (GTC) and the General Terms and Conditions of Use (GTCU), the B2B marketplace is subject to the Payment Services Directive (PSD2) implemented at the European level. Intended to combat bank fraud, it requires that payments be secured using robust user authentication techniques. In addition, certain individuals or legal entities subject to government sanctions are prohibited from trading and transactions. It is, therefore, essential to identify them.

Thanks to the Know Your Business (KYB) process provided by the payment service provider (PSP), B2B marketplace operators can quickly verify the identity of their sellers and thus protect themselves against money laundering and terrorist financing.

To gain peace of mind in the face of compliance challenges, choosing a trusted PSP experienced in the most stringent regulations is essential.


B2B Marketplace: surround yourself with the right skills


Whether upgrading an e-commerce site to a multi-merchant platform or creating a B2B marketplace from scratch, the project constitutes a fundamental strategic shift that impacts the company’s organisation. This is all truer when it comes to large groups. Specific jobs will change and require “information AND training” for employees in the financial, sales, marketing, and logistics departments. In addition, digital profiles will have to be recruited to manage the platform’s launch and scale-up.

Software publisher, integrator, operator, technical teams linked to the platform and group CMS, payment service provider (PSP), employees, etc. The success of a B2B marketplace depends on the perfect orchestration of its various players.

Also, from the PSP to the marketplace CMS, each technical partner selected must be able to advise each type of stakeholder on good business practices and innovations related to the marketplace model but also to support the organisation in its change management.


B2B Marketplace: offering a wide range of payment options


Transactions on a B2B Marketplace, and even more so when the activity is international, have very marked specificities compared to B2C platforms:

  • The value of the basket is much higher
  • Prices change according to the volume ordered
  • Some buyers have negotiated rates
  • Payment terms differ between suppliers
  • There are more payment options: transfers with the virtual IBAN of the payer, deferred payments, credit insurance, local currencies, free shipping, multi-user rights management, additional fees, etc.

Therefore, operators must be able to take complete account of this very complex specification to provide all the payment options and functionalities adapted to the expectations and payment habits of business customers.

It goes without saying that robust technology is essential to achieve this, and the choice of Payment Solution Provider (PSP) should not be taken lightly. It is a key factor in the growth of your B2B Marketplace.

Open Banking, BNPL, Request to Pay, Multi Capture… The chosen PSP must be able to anticipate the particularities of B2B platforms, propose or develop functionalities accordingly and evolve in line with the B2B marketplace ecosystem.

A flexible, powerful, and scalable solution, ideally suited to large groups and their technical teams, the Lemonway solution is easy to implement (a connector is all needed for the API to be compatible with the client company’s CMS, for example). As a Payment Institution approved for 30 countries in the European Economic Area, Lemonway is a solution adapted to your international projects.

Accompanied by Lemonway’s teams, your company has the best technological asset and the most experienced experts to make your B2B marketplace project a reality from the very beginning and to help it grow in complete security! Contact us now!