A wholesale B2B ecosystem is a complex organism built around several intersecting systems – your brand, your B2B, and your partners. Choosing correctly between an internally or externally owned system is vital, as it will determine who is in control of your B2B, who it generates revenue for, and how.
An Internal, Brand Driven Ecosystem
An internal ecosystem relies on a brand-run B2B. Your brand is at the center of this ecosystem, with no third party involved.
Your B2B is the solution for managing your direct business relationships. Each of these relationships is a unique partnership, and needs an environment that supports their specific needs. That means features like segmentation, customization, real-time inventory, and regional pricing – alongside the usual batch of content and commerce tools.
And, as those relationships build over time, your B2B becomes home to a collection of private product and business data such as transaction histories, product trends, engagement metrics, and confidential business information. All this data, combined with your ability to customize the B2B experience for the retailer, leads to a strong relationship that empowers growth for everyone in the ecosystem.
An External, Partner Owned Ecosystem
An external ecosystem will rely on a B2B that’s driven by the needs of a platform provider or partner, not the brand.
A B2B in an external ecosystem will likely feature many of the same commerce tools as a brand-owned B2B, but will deploy additional systems in order to realize a stream of revenue for the platform provider. This most often means a marketplace that attempts to leverage access to your retailers.
Your brand is not at the center of this ecosystem because it is built to support revenue growth for that marketplace. This growth is achieved by cross-selling retailers to brands, and brands to retailers. The only way to accomplish that is by exposing your private wholesale data to the platform. All that privileged information you’ve collected over time is now deployed in service of a third party instead of your brand, and features are deployed into the platform to drive growth for the platform provider.
Building The Right Ecosystem
An external or partner controlled ecosystem likely delivers the B2B functionality your brand needs, but forces you to cede control of your own wholesale data and B2B strategy. However, a model that revolves around a robust, brand-owned B2B solution allows your brand to stay in control of your wholesale B2B ecosystem.
Choosing to build an internal ecosystem enables you to configure your B2B entirely based on your business needs and strategic goals. You retain control over implementation, safeguard your data from being exploited, and avoid being forced into unwanted features sets.
That means greater growth and more revenue for your brand with a B2B that exists solely to serve the needs of your wholesale ecosystem.