As we wrap up 2021 and look back at trends in billing over the last year, there's one clear thing: if 2020 was the year digital B2C commerce took off, 2021 was the year B2B commerce followed suit. Today, according to Gotransverse’s founder and CEO, James Messer, “the B2B suppliers are seeing the success of B2C e-commerce sites and recognize that online marketplaces are a great way to reach customers," and we've started to see marketplaces cropping up offering self-service, digitally sourced goods, and services.

Like so many of the transformations we’ve seen in the last two years, the rise of the B2B marketplace is largely in response to the ways the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way both businesses and individuals shop. In an August 2021 Gartner reports, “Digital Commerce Revenue Skyrockets with B2B Surpassing B2C,” analysts Penny Gillespie and Aditya Vasudevan found that digital commerce platforms now account for 45 percent of organizations’ revenue, a 25 percent increase since 2019. And, although this shift started with B2C organizations — online grocery shopping, housekeeping subscription boxes, and digital entertainment services, to name a few — the same Gartner report finds that “the number of B2B digital commerce initiatives now surpasses that of B2C” and predicts that, by 2025, 75 percent of B2B manufacturers will sell to customers via digital commerce.

This isn't altogether surprising, as B2B organizations were initially hit harder by the pandemic than B2C organizations, many of which had already begun prioritizing — or at least establishing — online sales channels. So, Gartner notes, B2B organizations were sent scrambling to embrace digital sales to continue operations safely. And, just as much of the digital-first B2C behavior is here to stay even as the pandemic ebbs, so are the B2C changes.

Marketplaces Driving B2B Digital Commerce

A significant part of this B2B digital commerce shift, again, are the marketplaces. By 2023, Gartner predicts, “15 percent of medium-to-high gross merchandise value digital commerce organizations will have deployed their own marketplaces, thereby creating a digital ecosystem on their path to digital business.”

What, exactly, is a marketplace? Gartner defines enterprise marketplaces as “online marketplaces operated by traditional organizations that invite third-party sellers to sell directly to end customers.”

And what’s the attraction for B2B organizations? The new generation of [B2B] buyers expect the same buying experience they get from their B2C marketplaces, including shopping for special features at the best price. These buyers are looking for a digital commerce platform that can anticipate their needs like a sales representative (or an Amazon algorithm) would, where they can research and compare products to find the best deals on everything they need with the convenience (and COVID-safety) of online shopping.

This demand has led once-hesitant B2B organizations to embrace the concept of marketplaces, where they can give buyers the selection and convenience they demand while they, themselves, can join forces with other vendors and distributors to access a broader pool of customers and harness incredible amounts of consumer data that will empower them to continue to refine offerings, marketing, and pricing strategies.

In short, the B2B marketplace is designed to create frictionless transactions and simplify procurement processes for buyers, offering a broad selection of products and shipping options, providing clear information about delivery and fulfillment, making returns and refunds easy for buyers, and leveraging dynamic pricing to provide premium value and stay ahead of the competition.

Gotransverse’s Expertise in B2B Marketplaces

If B2B marketplaces are an industry-wide highlight for 2021, they’re also a highlight for the Gotransverse team. This year, we participated in TM Forum’s Catalyst Competition, teaming up with Salesforce, Verizon, M1 Limited, Matrixx, and Mirakl to develop A B2B2X marketplace specifically to empower communications service providers to partner with other technology providers, devices, and services to drive innovation and maximize 5G B2B and B2B2X revenue streams for businesses and consumers alike.

Our project was named winner of the Catalyst Competition, validating both the need for these channels and our team’s expertise in setting them up for success. For Gotransverse’s part, specifically, that means understanding the particular billing challenges that come with operating a marketplace and implementing the right systems to handle these complex transactions and settlements. Fortunately, the Gotransverse platform has marketplace billing built right into its core framework. It’s equipped to handle settlements rapidly and accurately to ensure sellers receive their much-needed funds in a timely manner, and it’s built to enable seamless integration with the other platforms that underpin a business, from CRMs to ERPs to order management and more.

At Gotransverse, we’re thrilled to be leveraging our expertise to support our B2B marketplace clients across the globe. To learn more about how the Gotransverse platform can streamline billing and settlements for your marketplace platform, we invite you to request a demo, and one of our experts will walk you through our platform and process.