If there is one positive outcome from the dreadful period that the world is experiencing, it is that we are all becoming more digital.
Before the pandemic, digitalization was a long-term trend that was slowly disrupting the old economy. One year one, it is common practice.
Businesses have learned that they can use digital channels in two ways: first, they can use their or third parties’ websites to sell directly to consumers. Second, they can improve their supply chain through the internet, by finding new business partners online.
The first is the so called B2C, now becoming B2B2C through dropshipping, the second is B2B.
Businesses have several ways to find new suppliers and distributors abroad. Once upon a time, the mainstream channels were trade fairs and missions, i.e. the practice whereby managers embarked on a physical journey to meet the prospective partners in person.
Nowadays, there are two ways in which businesses can find partners online. These are B2B marketplaces and B2B matchmaking platforms.
B2B marketplaces are not new. They appeared in the early 2000s and experienced tremendous growth since then. It is not difficult to understand why.
B2B marketplaces are very similar to B2C marketplaces, only that buyers are not consumers but to other businesses. Also, buyers buy in bulk, placing large orders from one side of the planet to another.
In fact, the largest B2B marketplaces are based in Asia, especially in China, and grew so much because of the tremendous explosion in China’s manufacturing capacity.
Do you want to buy a CNC machine for your factory from China? Just go to Alibaba, DHgate, Global Sources, among others, and you will find plenty of Chinese suppliers ready to sell you what you are looking for. You place your order and wait it is delivered to your company’s premises.
The only issue with B2B marketplaces is that they are intermediaries. This entails two nuisances. First, they charge a commission on each transaction. Generally, we are talking about a few percentage points, but on large volumes or if you use them a lot, it can become costly.
Second, B2B marketplaces control the transaction. As such, you are not supposed to engage with the suppliers. If you want to contact them, you have to do this outside of the platform. Sometimes it will be the suppliers themselves that will try to reach you in order to avoid the platform’s commission, but in principle this is not supposed to happen.
B2B Matchmaking Platforms
If you are looking for business partners, whether distributors or suppliers, with a long-term horizon, B2B matchmaking platforms may be a better option.
These platforms are B2B portals that resemble B2C classified ads websites. Instead of buying directly from the website, users post ads about what they are looking for and then connect directly with each other.
There are two advantages compared to a standard B2B marketplaces. First, there are no fees on the transaction. There may be a small price to be paid upon posting or connecting, but these websites take nothing on the transaction as this is carried out outside of the platform, directly between the parties.
Second, B2B matchmaking platforms are designed to help businesses find long-term partners. There are no under the radar messages that have to be sent to engage the counterparty for the long term. Parties already mention in their opportunities exactly what they are looking for, such as: what they do, what they sell, where they want to do to business, who should contact them. This way you can save time and energy on looking for business partners, because posts and connections are highly targeted.
Doing business online is now a reality. Businesses that were first to adapt when the pandemic stroke were also the winners of this difficult times. Nowadays, businesses can use a number to tools to carry on business digitally. In addition to well-known ecommerce websites, that target B2C customers, companies can use B2B online platforms to find business partners, such as distributors and suppliers.
Apart from the famous B2B marketplaces such as Alibaba, businesses can now turn to B2B matchmaking platforms such as Globartis to find business partners with a long-term view.