A trade portal is a unifying platform for buyers, sellers and businesses that help communicate the product information and carry on purchase operations easily. They make product discovery easy for buyers while giving sellers access to a larger market, reducing operational costs for all players in the process.
While static web pages (for product promotion) and custom eCommerce portals did the trick earlier they are no longer an option. With rising competition and the increasing popularity of online marketplaces, the presence of a business on a B2B trade portal has become inevitable.
B2B trade portals today are equipped with sophisticated features that can be tailored to cater to unique business requirements. Some highly successful B2B trading portals such as Alibaba.com and QualityTrade.com have accelerated online business development to a large extent. Suppliers and buyers across thousands of industries ranging in different sizes from all over the world can now create business partnerships thereby generating millions of dollars in sales every year.
Consider this, according to IPOfinancial statement released by AliBaba on 31st December 2017.
- Alibaba had nearly 515 million active users who shop on that portal as of year 2017
- Alibaba experienced a 56% YoY growth in year 2017, which is massive considering for a B2B trade portal.
- The number of active cloud customers of Alibaba stands at 1 million for year 2017</strong
- The revenue from Cloud alone stands at $ 553 million for the Q4 of year 2017
Bottom line, B2B trade portals today play an active role in product discovery for manufacturers, wholesalers, and distributors. In other words, on B2B trade portals, demand, and supply among these seller groups is more efficiently identified and actioned. Features such as pricing, warranty, recall information, product reviews, overall feedback along with the complete profile information of companies add to the long list of advantages. Let us take a look at the benefits in more detail-
1) Improved Visibility for New and Existing Businesses
Sales and revenue are the defining purposes of a business and to accelerate its realization, a trade portal begins by providing instant visibility to its large user base. B2B trade portals allow businesses to reach users across geographies and cater to the needs of a global audience. This helps them increase sales, reduce seasonality by diversifying the customer base and establish the business as a global brand.
This is particularly advantageous for small and medium business; who otherwise will have invest a lot of marketing dollars, which they cannot afford, to gain similar visibility.
2) Cost effective Web presence and Marketing
Trade portals are an amazing and cost effective way of establishing a web presence for products/ services. For most businesses, it is a herculean task to maintain a website, and manage marketing, SEO, and social media related activities. Having presence on a popular B2B trading portal can help businesses market easily and get connected to multiple buyers in a relatively short span of time and little upfront investment.
Most trade portals also have inbuilt marketing tools to help them reach out to prospective customers more effectively. Leveraging platforms email newsletter, social media, etc. they can reach a larger audience which otherwise might be cumbersome even for large businesses. What’s more? These platforms also are optimized for SEO that can help them rank better.
3) Network better with the help of the Community
One of the major advantages of trade portals, and more specifically specialized trade portals, is the community aspect of it. Trade portals usually host trade shows, seminars, and corporate events that help not only in educating the customers but also in marketing and promotion (which aids in generating leads for the businesses). The community aspect of trade portals is also apparent in forums – businesses can easily leverage forums for research, customer service and more.
4) Gain Access to Quality Leads
B2B trade portals can throw open a world of opportunities for a business. While portals allow businesses to reach a wider audience they also enable businesses to segment, target and reach a very specific and niece audience – giving you access to serious and more qualified buyers.
5) Gain Insights about Product, Industry, and Competition
Trade portals, not only act an excellent sales channel but also as the go-to platform for industry and competitive research. The presence of similar businesses in an industry can provide a lot of insight into the trends of the industry and the competition. While customers benefit from the competition between businesses, this also acts as a catalyst for businesses to innovate and stay ahead of the competition. Businesses can also gain valuable insights about their industry at multiple levels such as pricing, product features, branding strategy, and more.
6) Diversify and Create alternate Sales Channel
Depending on sales representatives and intermediaries to drives sales for the business is the thing of the past. Today businesses want to be present across multiple channels to reach their customers effectively, and some even adopt B2C channels to directly reach end customers. B2B trade portals are one such channel that helps you diversify your sales operations. Moreover, trade portals are cost effective and allow businesses to pass on the benefit to their customers while still enjoying a good profit margin.
7) Take advantage of Platforms Customer Service and Best Policies
Another huge advantage of using B2B trade portal lies in their customer service and trade policies. Trade portals usually set very high benchmark for customer service and businesses can leverage that to compete with more established players in the industry (which otherwise requires a lot of time and effort to achieve).
Above all, the entire exercise hardly involves any risk. Trade portals usually carry out their own due diligence verifying buyers and sellers and rate them accordingly.
B2B or B2C, the business world is extremely dynamic and subject to cut-throat competition. Businesses today cannot afford not leveraging a platform that can get them closer to their customers. B2B portals are gaining prominence, with players like Alibaba and Amazon leading the way, and businesses can drive a lot of benefit by associating with them.