A B2B platform and a B2B marketplace are two distinctly different things. While it’s not uncommon to see service providers bundle them together, it’s far better for brands if the two remain separate. Why? Because without a clear division between your B2B and the marketplace, your brand and the wholesale activity taking place in your B2B becomes marketplace currency. That means, someone else is profiting off your private and privileged business practices.
More Revenue, But Not For You
When you use a platform that combines your wholesale B2B with a marketplace, the platform provider is incentivized to drive revenue growth by cross selling retailers to brands, and brands to retailers in order to drive the marketplace. The only way for this to happen is by exposing all your data to the platform so it can be most effectively monetized. That data, while anonymized, is what fuels the marketplace and the revenue it generates. Even anonymized though, this is a dangerous practice
B2B providers that combine their platform with a marketplace can require brands on the platform to participate in the marketplace, and any other services or partnerships that the provider brings to the table. Your wholesale channel is essentially being held hostage because you are the product. Your platform provider has control over all the brand and retail transactions taking place inside your B2B. This is because their business model is built on profiting off of the marketplace, and without that they lose out on revenue. Your only option is to conform, or replatform.
Separate Systems, A Brand First Approach
It all sounds very nefarious doesn’t it? Truthfully, it isn’t entirely. It’s simply the marketplace model, and any marketplace provider does have a vested interest in you succeeding, because if you didn’t, their marketplace would collapse and their revenue would tank.
But, it is important to acknowledge that it is a different kind of solution than what is required to sustain a wholesale sales channel effectively. A marketplace model is driven by the business needs and revenue goals of the marketplace provider, not the needs of the brand or the retailers. So, the provider is going to add features and drive adoption in an effort to appease their bottom line by finding ways to further monetize the marketplace. And, not necessarily by adding desirable features that improve the end user experience and ability for your brand to generate wholesale growth.
If your B2B is a wheel, the marketplace isn’t a spoke in that wheel, it’s another wheel on the other side of the vehicle. If you decide to participate in a marketplace, then it’s connected, and a part of moving forward, but should intentionally be separate from your B2B systems by design.
Your Brand At The Wheel
At Envoy B2B, when you buy a B2B platform, you are buying just that – a B2B platform 100% designed to serve you and your wholesale channel by providing tools that increase your order volume and improve revenue. We set it up and configure it to your specific business needs – not the needs of a marketplace.
We believe that your success is our success, so we will never take the wheel and force your wholesale channel to bend to our needs. You drive, we just help you navigate. Our solution, and the people at Envoy B2B, are a framework to support your team in growing your wholesale business.