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Evaluating B2B ecommerce model: Marketplace and Direct (part 2)

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In Part 1, we had gone over the characteristic of Marketplace model. Of course, both two models have their own pros and cons. As in the previous part, while Marketplace offers greater visibility, higher competition, and less flexibility, the Direct model will give you full control over customer experience. Here are some special characteristics of this model.

The Direct Model: Full Service, Ultimate Brand Control

Distraction-Free Buying

Do you know that B2B e-commerce portal will be the place where nourishes your brands and makes them shine with the platform provided to highlight the value of your offering and answer the retailers’ questions without requiring them back to your office or send a long email? They will be totally satisfied with a seamless experience to order and re-order on their own time.

Your brand will be the only one on that market, no pressure on making pricing as well as positioning decisions. You can freely price your goods at a premium and it is also a great chance for you to compete on customer service.

Full service and ownership

In Direct Model, you will need to rely on a third party provider for the hosted eCommerce portal itself, only your brand has full right to serve your customers. I mean you will be responsible for brand experience on your B2B eCommerce portal with the proper marketing assets and product images, processing (and chasing down) payments, and fulfillment of all orders.

The benefits you can achieve from this model will be long term trust and sophisticated fulfillment capabilities, if you are a small brand, you don’t need worry that you will be overshadowed by bigger brands as in marketplace model.

Evaluating B2B ecommerce model
Evaluating B2B ecommerce model

Personalization

With Direct model of B2B e-commerce, you can totally implement some customer-specific settings as follow:

  • Setting price
  • Applying for discounts and promotions programs
  • Showing or hiding specific products and services
  • Providing recently ordered items

By this way, you can offer exactly the shopping experience you want for customers, I mean you can control customer experience as the personal service your sales team delivers. You will find it totally different from the Evaluating B2B e-commerce model, where your customers are unable to benefit from the more tailored experience as in the Direct model.

Customer Relationships

The advantage in the form of customer acquisition of Marketplace model is undeniable but with the Direct one, you will be benefited by the favorable customer relationship built and it will be actually helpful for long-term development.

When a customer comes to your Direct e-commerce portal, it may be the first time or they have worked with your business for a long time, it’s still high value. Besides giving them what they want, you can introduce them more about your product line or other services. It can be said that customers from the Direct model will be worth the service investment because they are of high value.

Control Brand experience

One of the biggest strengths of the Direct model is you can be yourself. Let’s forget to follow the constraints of the marketplace template, no value added for marketplace owner, the only one attention is you, only your products, only your brand, customers will enjoy the experience you create. Don’t just consider portal just as a permanent showcase for your product line, it will be the fertile ground for you to distribute other important market assets such as merchandising guides, promotional videos, and instructional videos and grow your brand.

In my opinion, Marketplace comes with so amazing advantages but it is not strong enough to bring you high-value customers and nurture a long-term relationship. Of course, there are both sides to everything and whether you choose Marketplace or Direct model, it will depend a lot on B2B eCommerce strategy.

Thanks for watching my post. If you have any question, feel free to feedback here. I and colleagues are willing to support you. Goodluck!

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