Owning and running an international business has become increasingly efficient with the rise of internet platforms and drop shipping services worldwide. Business-to-business (B2B) platforms allow companies to work together to achieve better results for customers in the commercial and retail sectors.
The estimated global market value of the B2B eCommerce industry is US$31.19 billion, with Asia and North America claiming the highest gross merchandise volumes. The US market is expected to reach US$2 trillion in sales by the end of 2024.
The B2B marketplace relates to business transactions between manufacturers and suppliers. Online platforms have been developed to facilitate faster transactions between companies. The security, logistics and connection that B2B platforms provide for business owners have facilitated the growth of many industries, including online industries such as blockchain.
As online transactions continue to develop with more people worldwide having online access and more opportunities are developed for businesses in a potential metaverse environment, platforms that connect companies and mediate safe transactions will become increasingly important. Whether you are a business owner seeking the best partners to work with or an entrepreneur ready to launch a B2B platform in your niche, you should take a close look at the top 10 B2B platforms to understand why the brand is well-known and how to emulate their success.
Top 10 Global B2B ECommerce Marketplaces
Alibaba is a privately owned online B2B platform for manufacturers and suppliers. The Chinese company has a gross market value of about 14 trillion yuan (US$2 trillion). Alibaba’s mission is to expand the business and make it easy for companies to acquire and sell products. In 2022, the global brand has more than 40 million buyers from over 190 countries who they say sourced business opportunities or completed transactions on the website.
Alibaba is the mediator between manufacturers and suppliers, providing an end-to-end solution. Alibaba provides a ‘trust’ certificate to companies called a Verified Main Products certificate, which is awarded to a product after passing an inspection carried out by the company.
The B2B platforms products such as machinery, manchester, jewellery, homewares, furniture, etc. Alibaba allows buyers to purchase without warehouse investment and offers flexible pricing.
Launched in 2010, AliExpress is a collection of small businesses in China and other locations in Asia, such as Singapore, that sell products online to an international marketplace. The platform is aimed at supporting small-to-medium-sized businesses to access materials and products at lower rates based on the company buying in bulk and then distributing those products to businesses at a reduced rate.
The company has developed a good reputation in the trading sector and has become a first choice supplier for many small businesses. The website appearance is familiar for buyers with an online retail navigation system common to eCommerce. It is a secure and well-organized site that is easy to use, encouraging merchants to expand their product range.
eWorltrade is a global B2B marketplace, offering businesses worldwide access to a high-quality site to access goods to sell. The site connects manufacturers and suppliers from around the world. They provide a wide range of buyer and seller directories, a USP not found on other sites of similar orientation. The site has chatbot assistance, premium services for paid users and more than 10 years of expertise in digital branding and web development.
Amazon Business is the B2B branch of the more common Amazon retailer aimed at the general public. The platform leverages this trust and has over 5 million business users registered with the site. Amazon sends buyers a guide that teaches them how to connect with trusted traders and how to finalize sales.
Amazon Business provides users with exclusive discounts and allows clients to promote products and services. The company reports sales revenue of US$19 billion, and the value of products purchase is estimated at US$59 billion. The site also offers tax exemptions to qualified business owners in certain regions and on qualified transactions, saving buyers time and paperwork.
The multilingual platform connects Chinese manufacturers with global buyers. The platform showcases millions of products in about 17 core industries. The site, which started as a B2C, has transformed into a successful B2B using a clear and easy-to-navigate platform.
The company verifies its buyers through registration and its sellers using SGS or Bureau Veritas. The audited supplier sites help to verify the authenticity of suppliers, helping to develop trust for its buyers.
EC21 is another Asia-based platform that provides a B2B marketplace connecting buyers with suppliers including China, Korea, the US and elsewhere. According to the website, suppliers/manufacturers/exporters can post and promote their products and sell leads. Buyers/importers can search and contact suppliers by B2B categories and keywords. Buyers can also post their own buying leads to get quotes or offers from manufacturers.
The Korean-based company is a fast-expanding business that has more than 2 million users. The company specialises in technology because of its proximity to manufacturers and warehousing in the region, which help to reduce costs for buyers.
eBay Business Supply
eBay, established in the early 1990s, is one of the original eCommerce platforms. The site has improved and grown from its C2C foundation to a B2B arm that leverages its established trust to attract users. One of the principles of eBay is to guide and assist their clients throughout the buying and selling process online, with professional teams that advise new users.
The platform has had more than 786 million hits and provides a directory of buyers and sellers for easily carrying out business transactions. The company has also integrated a financing option for registered buyers and sellers to help them leverage their growth opportunities.
Global Sources is a Hong Kong-based B2B multichannel media company that serves buyers and suppliers online and offline since 1971. The business has been operational for more than 50 years, and its online services are well recognised as one of the first such operations. The company motto, ‘Forging a greater future together’, has seen the company support many businesses in achieving their growth goals. The company is trusted internationally, and until recently, many international businesses found the Hong Kong-based company easier to deal with when accessing manufacturers in the Asia region.
ECPlaza launched in 1996 and boasts over 1 million registered site members. The company claims that over 4 million offers are posted to the website, the largest scale in the world. The company also offers services such as trade consultants and EDI services. The platform says that it is aimed at all enterprise levels, from start-ups to established global brands.
Japanese platform Rakuten is the 4th largest eCommerce marketplace online. According to the company website, Rakuten stands for ‘optimism’, which is the core philosophy of the brand. The company proclaims that it supports business owners by working with them and understanding the rapid pace of change online, with an agile response to consumer needs.
The company also provides payment services, online marketing, and other digital services. It has about 90 million registered users. The brand is well established in the market and facilitates direct shipping from warehouses to anywhere in the world.
There are many B2B platforms that are supporting online businesses at many levels. Linking traders and buyers using platforms that are secure, have broad appeal and comply with the latest trends in eCommerce site navigation. These sites help start-ups and even larger companies expand their reach with ease. Lower costs, warehousing, delivery services, leads and additional digital options are included with many of these platforms. Selecting the one that is right for your business really comes down to the USP that the site offers and how that can be used to leverage your expansion opportunities to grow in the direction you plan.
Know Your Market
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