[Internet Retailer] The 2020 B2B Marketplace Report

The first of a three-part series: data and analysis on how business-to-business digital marketplaces are changing the ways U.S. companies buy and sell goods and services both within the United States and worldwide.

B2B marketplaces are making a bigger mark on business-to-business digital commerce. The concept—and the execution—of a third-party e-commerce platform that for a fee brings together diverse groups of business buyers and sellers to find, research, negotiate and pay for corporate goods and services online isn’t a new trend.

Some vertical marketplaces in industries, such as automotive and healthcare, have been operating for about 20 years. But led by Amazon Business, the heightened interest from other big commercial services providers—such as eBay Inc. and Alibaba Group Inc., and a growing number of specialized digital trading platforms in vertical markets ranging from aerospace to chemicals—the B2B marketplace trend is accelerating, and quickly.

B2B marketplaces have a range of e-commerce tools offered by sellers that let buyers set up and manage accounts, customize order approvals and monitor spending levels. Other advanced e-commerce and digital tools from sellers allow buyers to integrate their purchasing systems
with the marketplace platform, buy products or services and receive detailed invoices.

Driven by younger—and more digitally prone—purchasing executives, marketplaces are emerging as a mainstream B2B e-commerce growth driver that will continue to build momentum and, in the process, produce new winners—and losers—in the race to acquire and retain more business customers.