Why are large groups launching their own B2B marketplaces?

9 March 2021

Business Insight

Whether it’s to obtain supplies online, optimise stocks or connect suppliers and professionals, B2B marketplaces are increasingly appealing to large groups. The keystone to successful digital transformation, creating a marketplace has many advantages, including that of simplifying business-to-business relationships and finding new sources of income. Explanations.

B2B marketplaces: a booming market

Did you know that in 2019, 58% of online sales were made on a marketplace? And that’s despite the fact that only 0.5% of sites are marketplaces! This goes to show the strength of this model, which is shaping the entire digital economy. In B2C, the model is well-known and acclaimed, with Amazon, Cdiscount, Rakuten, Uber, AirBnB, etc.

The trend is the same in B2B. A Gartner study estimates that by the end of 2022, 75% of indirect B2B online purchases will be being made on a marketplace. Many large groups have understood this and have already taken the plunge by creating their own marketplace. They include Leroy Merlin, Métro, the Rungis Market and Amazon Business, to name but a few.

Other large groups are using the marketplace model to digitise their payment processes with an e-procurement platform. In this case, the product catalogue is integrated into the marketplace, so that orders are made online, as well as the associated payment. Engie, for example, has created BeeWe, an e-procurement platform to facilitate the purchase of industrial parts between the group’s different entities.

B2B marketplace: strong development potential, in all sectors

Beyond such long-term markets as rental goods, transport, fashion and travel, the marketplace model is also invading sectors that have up to now been less obvious. The Observatoire de l’Uberisation has identified the emergence of marketplaces in a wide variety of fields, from logistics to construction, agriculture to business services. The reason for the appeal of the B2B marketplace model is obvious: professionals are first and foremost individuals, who, in their private life, have experienced the benefits of B2C and C2C marketplaces. There are as many possibilities for creating B2B marketplaces as there are occupations, because verticalisation represents an important underlying trend. Thus, even highly regulated sectors, such as health and legal, are seeing the emergence of this model, which is accelerating their digitisation.

Digitisation: a necessary shift

As we have seen, uberisation spares no sector. In this context, if conglomerates fail to get to grips with the digital market, it’s a safe bet that pure players will outstrip them. There’s a great risk of falling behind. The banking sector, undermined by structural inertia, knows something about this. Banks have seen the arrival of new, innovative and more agile companies, such as neobanks, which are winning over an increasingly large number of their customers. In an extremely competitive digital context, the creation of a marketplace is all the more relevant as it has a relatively short time-to-market.

Choosing what type of marketplace to create

The marketplace model presents business opportunities, but more precisely, what type of platform will be in line with your business? Firstly, it’s important to understand that it’s not just yet another technological project, but rather a business project. Secondly, it’s advisable to thoroughly develop your business model by identifying:

  • Marketplace sellers: who are they and how can you recruit and retain them to offer a full catalogue that will make a real difference?
  • Marketplace buyers: what are their expectations and how can you appeal to them?

Although we’re used to e-commerce marketplaces, such as Amazon Business and Alibaba, there are also other types of platforms.

Network marketplace

Particularly suited to franchise networks and other organisations, so-called business network marketplaces consist in bringing together all the offers and services of a network on the same platform. The site is hosted and managed by the members of the network, in order to generate more sales by taking advantage of unrivalled impact.

E-procurement platform

An e-procurement marketplace is an internal purchasing platform, on which the company’s buyers order products or services from listed suppliers. This type of platform allows the company to save precious time and offer its buyers an experience similar to that encountered on e-commerce sites. In addition, direct competition between suppliers generally results in better prices.

Circular economy marketplace

In tune with the challenges of social and environmental responsibility, circular economy marketplaces are on the rise. They allow companies to reduce their storage costs by recycling used products or reselling or renting used ones.


Marketplace creation: what support is available?

As a reminder, the term ‘marketplaces’ refers to digital platforms with a goal to connect a multitude of sellers and buyers. The company that creates the platform is regarded as the operator of the marketplace. For the project to work, two other types of companies need to be involved: the marketplace software publisher, which creates the website, and the payment-solution provider, which ensures the smooth running of financial transactions.

In a B2B marketplace, the role of the payment-solution provider is crucial, because payment practices are very different from those of B2C. Such a platform needs to be able to offer deferred payment, credit insurance and even a proven bank transfer payment solution.


The payment-solution provider not only guarantees secure transactions, it also ensures that the marketplace is in compliance with regulations. Holder of an establishment licence from the ACPR (French Prudential Supervision and Resolution Authority), Lemonway takes care of providing the payment interface for buyers and ensures the control of capital and transfers of funds to sellers. Its intervention remains invisible to marketplace users, but allows the operator to offload all the tasks related to the management of payments in order to fully concentrate on the development of their business. Do you have any questions? Do you have a project in mind? Tell us about your needs!

BeeWe - Why Engie trusted Lemonway to secure transactions on its circular-economy B2B marketplace