B2B (business-to-business) portals are becoming a way of doing business for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). These portals facilitate in establishing new trading relationships between companies and they also supports the existing relationships. It can be termed as an e-market place. A B2B portal primarily serves as a platform for wholesalers, retailers, distributors and manufacturers to carry out their business activities online. Some of these B2B portals even offer free business directory and local yellow pages.
B2B online marketing is an essential part from buyer’s perspective as well as seller’s perspective. For buyers it facilitates in searching new suppliers, post buying requests, and search for used or new goods. For a seller point of view, it makes easy to find out buyers for their products, they could sell online new as well as used products.
Cost advantages for SMEs
B2B website is a low cost electronic medium to communicate about your products or services to the target markets. It is very easy to operate; all that is needed is a web browser, internet connection and add business listing for start benefiting from these market places.
Marketing done through the B2B portals is exclusively online thus there are no print, distribution or postage costs plus it is measurable through sophisticated tracking software. SMEs generally don’t have big marketing budgets and the portals have become right source for them to promote and attract new customers.
Membership fee is the only investment SMEs has to make to promote their products. These online market places provide its members with standardized supplier storefront and many of the same functions as a corporate website. So, through B2B portals SMEs have the opportunity to reach out to companies and businesses globally at very lower cost.
What to promote
These online market places offer features and support services that are customized for international trade and provide an efficient way to promote products directly to potential buyers.
Before taking decision to invest in B2B portals certain points should be cleared in the buyer or seller’s mind, like why they want to use this platform, what are the products that are to be displayed for sale on the website and to see to it that B2B marketing does not conflict with other marketing channels used.
B2B portals offer SMEs professional and easy to navigate templates, which are specifically designed to attract international buyers. SMEs should invest considerable amount of time in designing their web catalog. They should think it as a branding opportunity.
Benefits for SMEs
B2B portals have made possible for SMEs to reach target customers for exports and imports. There are many benefits coupled with B2B portals and they show why B2B portals are most efficient way of reaching target markets. Some of the benefits are listed here:
1. It is a low cost electronic medium to promote the business.
2. It minimizes the overall steps of selling procedures, thus reduces cost of sales.
3. B2B saves time for business transactions and commercial dealings between the buyer and the seller, thus it is a cost saving medium in terms of time, money and resources.
4. It facilitates the establishment of new trading relationships between companies and supports existing business relationships.
5. By the help of business directory and search engines provided in B2B portals buyers can find out potential sellers.
6. With the help of classifieds it becomes easy to sell or purchase different products.
7. B2B Portals can deliver quantifiable returns on investment (ROI) in a matter of months.