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For businesses looking to establish a strong online presence, leveraging Shopify development services can be a game-changer. These services enable B2B marketplaces to create customized and user-friendly e-commerce platforms, fostering seamless transactions and efficient procurement processes. In today's digital age, the integration of Shopify development services is key to staying competitive in the B2B marketplace landscape.


For car manufacturers, managing procurement costs effectively is crucial, but often overlooked are the expenses associated with sourcing office supplies and miscellaneous items. To streamline this process, many businesses are turning to B2B online marketplaces, where they can efficiently source a wide range of products. However, if you're considering developing a custom app to facilitate such procurement, you might wonder, “How much does it cost to make an app that meets our specific needs?”


If you put them all in a pot, you will be really amazed to know how much money & effort gets wasted in these daily operations. According to the ecommerce website development company, Indirect procurement doesn’t show on the bottom line of expenses & profits directly but purchasing items that help to keep a business operation running such as office equipment, fixtures, and IT equipment creates a massive impact on the productivity & profitability of the company. Read the blog and know what is an online marketplace and how B2B is simplifying indirect procurement. 

B2B Online Marketplace: The Rise


A B2B marketplace builds a self-service and digitally-sourced ecosystem where multiple vendors offer products & services to multiple business owners. It claims to make the process easier to find out the right supplier, accelerating user experience by making all eCommerce solutions and transactions more transparent and simpler. 


Buyers gain value, high efficiencies, and choice, while sellers pressure themselves to increase ROI and gain access to a large buyers’ pool – without any marketing burden or any necessity for sales, fulfillment, logistics, and transactional functions. A marketplace procurement may facilitate data analysis and reporting when it’s implemented well.


B2B marketplaces online significantly accelerate procurement activities in multiple areas. Procurement teams can easily remove hidden procurement burdens that h

ave been very costly previously.


Currently, we see 4 major types of online marketplaces and each is strongly defined by its nature. Take a closer look at the last of online marketplaces:

1. Product-focused B2B marketplaces:

These marketplaces usually focus on some commodities such as office supplies, equipment, and packaging. Alibaba & Amazon Business can be the best examples of product-focused marketplaces, but the category may include Global Sources Direct and Thomasnet. They offer structured solutions with menu-type offerings like operations and maintenance.

2. Time & materials B2B marketplaces:

These marketplaces usually provide travel services, freight solutions, temporary labor management, IT & technology, facilities management, etc. Two popular examples of these marketplaces include SAP Concur and SAP Fieldglass. Concur offers expense & travel-management solutions and Fieldglass provides cloud-based VMS (Vendor Management System) to handle services procurement. Excess Materials Exchange, another example, also comes under this category.

3. Scope-of-work B2B marketplaces:

These types of marketplaces offer a spectrum of solutions like telecoms, marketing, rent & real estate, utilities, insurance & professional services like consulting, legal services, etc. Globality, for instance, concentrates on digital service sourcing which sources technicians & telecom experts.

4. Corporate-spinoff marketplaces:

This is the final B2B online marketplace category that evolved from captive platforms. Large organizations develop them for their supply networks and serve other organizations as well. InnoCentive is one of the best examples of corporate-spinoff marketplaces.


Implications of B2B: A path to success

A B2B marketplace offers a spectrum of benefits to the business. Notable are high transparency in service, product & supplier availability. It opens a diverse range of opportunities for both sellers and buyers. This is one of the powerful resources that allow companies to transform as well as optimize their business operations. The top perks of a B2B online selling marketplace include:

  • One-stop destination for multiple handshakes
  • Worldwide visibility to a wide spectrum of suppliers, buyers, sellers & partners
  • Authentic inquiries from verified businesses
  • Highly efficient sales cycles
  • Fast lead
  • Presence in a marketplace with consumer-friendly business routes
  • Simple ways to reach out to international and domestic players
  • Easy procurement practices
  • As a level-playing field, B2B promotes cross-border commerce
  • Selling opportunities, up-selling, and cross-selling ease
  • Networking convenience and contextual conversations
  • Two-way interest-led efficiency and speed
  • Worldwide reach and access to remote areas
  • High market potential
  • Reduction in resources and time through supply-chain efficiencies & automation

Why B2B Marketplace?

A B2B ecommerce marketplace is a great resource for such organizations who are planning to optimize and transform their existing business process. With the immense support of a B2B platform, organizations can quickly streamline their business operations and interact with other organizations to achieve significant business growth. By minimizing the marketing cost, you can concentrate on your efforts to secure large orders & grow your business. Some common benefits you can gain from using a B2B marketplace include.

1. User-friendly solution:

B2B marketplaces help companies seamlessly connect with other organizations & conduct business. With a completely digital platform, the B2B marketplace ecommerce makes it simpler for many companies to market their products or services & secure bulk orders. Moreover, automation and digitization have become a priority for several organizations. Implementing B2B platforms support secure and virtual business transactions that will help you stay on top of the market.

2. High-profit margins:

B2B businesses usually sell products at a very low wholesale price and they also incentivize bulk orders. These wider quantities mean that businesses can be able to secure higher revenue faster. With plenty of sellers and buyers on the B2B platform, you can reduce spending on marketing as it is quicker to connect with and allows you to market your products to other organizations.

3. High market potential:

B2B online platforms enable businesses to easily and quickly target a wide range of sellers & buyers across a wide pool of industries. With the high flexibility that usually comes with eCommerce platforms, you can describe your business expertise & leadership within your field. Instead of searching for new customers, the B2B e-commerce marketplaces instantly connect you.


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Direct vs indirect procurement – Differences

Direct & indirect procurement both play a vital role in a business process. The direct procurement process usually deals with the product purchasing required for producing value for customers. It involves the purchasing of raw materials, services, and goods directly linked to production. On the other hand, indirect procurement also involves purchasing goods, materials, and supplies required for day-to-day business operations.


Some real-world and perfect examples of direct and indirect procurement include: 

Direct procurement: Ideal for finished products

  • Raw materials
  • Mechanical components for final production
  • Manufacturing and machinery equipment
  • Subcontracted labor
  • Items directly sourced from a warehouse

Indirect procurement: Support for day-to-day business operations  

  • Office equipment and supplies
  • IT solutions
  • Marketing materials
  • Capital expenditure
  • Facilities
  • Utilities (Gas, electric & water)
  • MRO
  • Facilities and workplace management
  • Computer hardware & software
  • Office furniture & stationery

For your convenience, we have made a table that shows the complete differences between direct and indirect procurement.



Direct Procurement

Indirect Procurement


Essential items that support the manufacture of a finished or final product

Products & services required for day-to-day business functions

Spending model

Planned and centralized spending based on consumer needs

Flexible and decentralized, spending based on business processes


Making supplier relationships

Saving money


Raw materials, mechanical and machinery components

Office supplies, hardware & software, facilities management and product licenses


It refers to purchasing raw materials that are used in the making of the finished items.

It refers to purchasing products and services that are needed for the seamless functioning of a business & also aids in making and maintaining different business operations.


It has direct impacts on the business’s bottom line & helps companies to make profits, drive performance & make competitive differentiation

It doesn’t have any direct impact on the organization’s profitability


The direct procurement team needs a relationship-oriented approach with suppliers as it involves buying goods from them at a competitive rate, quality, and price.

Indirect procurement is very price sensitive as it mainly involves expense management


Wrongly optimized direct procurement may lead to a halt in the process of manufacturing in the organization.

Wrongly optimized indirect procurement may lead to a hike in expenses & a high risk of dissatisfaction of the stakeholders as a complex stakeholder environment is involved

Indirect Procurement: A pool of invisible expenses

Indirect Procurement is a process of acquiring non-essential items and resources to maintain day-to-day business operations. In this process, services and goods are not directly related to manufacturing product output. Here’s why indirect procurement transforms into unnecessary costs and complexities:


  • They lack market knowledge, order control, and research
  • Negotiations are loose & deliveries are unstructured
  • Ignorance, recklessness, and gaps make them into a huge list of avoidable expenses as time passes


That’s why organizations look for an integrated B2B marketplace that gives a wide spectrum of benefits to improve profitability and transparency by minimizing the overall cost.

Digital Procurement for B2B: Importance


B2B digital procurement helps businesses move away from offline and ad-hoc purchasing. It also delivers a fully digitized source-to-pay platform. 


A B2B e-commerce or a B2B online marketplace offers a list of product catalogs. By browsing the catalog, users can seamlessly compare suppliers, products, and brands. Moreover, they can also compare costs, volume discounts, inventory availability, and expected arrival time or ETA for placing orders. The necessities for adopting digital procurement include: 


  1. Fastest delivery: In terms of agility, enterprise procurement usually faces significant challenges. B2B e-marketplaces enhance value by offering faster delivery options as compared to their offline counterparts.


  1. Compliance and cost control: Cost efficiency is one of the important KPIs for procurement teams. B2B platforms help in inter-supplier comparisons that enhance cost control as well as compliance.


  1. Scale: In manufacturing, order sizes may exceed the scope of piecemeal approaches – this is critical to the procurement team. Large-scale purchase orders can easily be fulfilled by business-to-business marketplaces. 


  1. Risk management: Due to the disruption in the supply chain, risk management is one of the significant challenges for many businesses. To enhance supplier visibility, B2B online marketplaces have enhanced their cloud computing,  data analytics, and IoT capabilities.


  1. Reliability: As compared to traditional counterparts, a B2B marketplace e-commerce with inclusive & diverse supplier ecosystems is quite less vulnerable.


  1. Safety: The pandemic has significantly highlighted the value of people’s health as well as safety. The online market workflow always prioritizes collaboration in the supply chain. It is also extremely secure as compared to traditional procurement.

How do B2B marketplaces make indirect procurement simpler?


B2B marketplaces start making procurement easier for buyers to choose the best services and products and. Buyer expectations are constantly changing, and as a result, procurement is transforming with them. A B2B marketplace helps companies by: 


  • Offering easy and fast visibility for multiple order levels, suppliers, and regions with adequate levels of performance reviews and credibility
  • Helping with real-time views, quick market research & fast connections
  • Integrating strengths into order performance, negotiations, and control
  • Helping to add elements of planning, control & tracking to the entire process of the procurement process in an effortless and intuitive way
  • Helping to adopt as per supplier relationships, categories, contract value, timing, etc
  • Saving significant cost and time
  • Bringing supply chain parties and giving a clear view of the whole cycle
  • Saving hidden costs such as maintenance, travel, repair, operations, & office supplies
  • Facilitating the identification process of specifications, requirements & suppliers


Integrating an online B2B marketplace into the procurement system makes top-notch benefits for sellers as well as buyers. Here is a closer look at how B2B online marketplace platforms potentially simplify the procurement process. 

1. Excellent vendor choice and one-stop shopping:

Price transparency offers excellent supplier awareness options to buyers. It also increases competition among the suppliers & brings multiple opportunities for purchasers to enhance benefits that they’ve negotiated long through traditional channels. Online B2B marketplaces help purchasers consolidate vendor rosters accordingly.

2. Cheaper and faster delivery:

Due to advanced logistics and IT capabilities, B2B online marketplace sites offer faster and on-time outputs. The scale of B2B marketplaces also allows them to deliver extremely competitive shipping rates that are much better than directly negotiated under previous contracts.

3. Savings:

Based on the industry, businesses usually spend 15 to 30% of their revenue on their indirect spending. As a result, savings opportunities are so high – especially for some businesses with a high ratio of total indirect spending. Public-sector companies are the biggest winner as their spending is more fragmented as compared to the private sector, and internal resources are more limited.

4. Source-to-pay process integration:

For large companies, the ability of the marketplace to plug into the source-to-pay process of enterprises is one of the major characteristics. By third-party purchasing system integrations, online ecommerce marketplaces can digitize, automate & simplify sourcing. Integration ensures that all purchase orders are properly issued in the right quantities and at the right price. Moreover, it also simplifies contract management and negotiation, and streamlines reporting, accounting, tracking as well as control.

5. Manage spending:

Analytics capabilities enable businesses to manage indirect spending with more flexibility than long tactics. In addition, dashboards and transaction histories with centralized data are made very accessible to budgetary and procurement responsibility. As a result, if spending rises initially due to less friction, a more transparent and accessible paper trail makes it simpler for retaking control. 


The below features also equally benefit sellers and buyers and expand the path of sourcing to procurement.


  1. Product & service offerings: It includes thorough product info & technical specifications that effectively facilitate product purchasing and comparison.
  2. Dynamic and transparent pricing: It enables teams to purchase smarter & compare prices. They can also negotiate more proficiently.


  1. Fulfillment and ordering data: It includes the purchase history of customers, wishes or shopping lists, etc. It also offers valuable data to vendors & marketplaces to enhance customer experience.


  1. Financial solutions: It includes financing options for buyers, and tax management and insurance solutions for sellers.


  1. Payment options: As the name suggests, it includes several payment forms, stored account data, and open purchase orders, which are essential for marketplaces. Offering customers a currency choice for payments always ensures high global reach.


  1. Top-notch logistics: In commodity categories, speedy and cost-effective logistics with high tracking capabilities are an essential competitive feature. 


  1. Refunds & returns: With these features, digital marketplaces can promptly process. It helps in their payment, fulfillment &  logistics systems.


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Final Words

Nowadays, online business-to-business marketplaces in USA are rapidly growing and evolving at a fast pace. It has been also observed that annual cost savings have increased by more than 10% due to innovative digital procurement solutions. Companies start converting their indirect expenses into pools of operational profitability and efficiency due to B2B marketplaces. For more info, get in touch with our experts at Sphinx Solutions. 


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