Participation in B2B Exchanges is increasingly becoming one of the fastest growing marketing methods for businesses looking for augmenting their client base beyond their local markets. Any good B2B Exchange offers direct contact with thousands of prospective buyers in a single location.
For some new participants of a B2B Exchange, it appears to be a goldmine as they discover unexpected quantity of ready made clients without much effort from their side. Of course, there are many other great benefits companies can reap from getting involved in a B2B Exchange.
What is a B2B Exchange?
In a broader sense, Business to Business Exchange is an online platform where buyers and sellers come to communicate, collaborate and make business transactions. B2B Exchange caters a large number of participant companies as a community. The main objective of a B2B Exchange is to create a venue, filled with features that allow members to efficiently conduct business processes through the Internet. B2B Exchanges are also known as e-marketplaces.
What are the benefits?
B2B Exchanges are capable of helping companies in buying, selling and streamlining their business processes. The benefits of participating in a B2B exchange may include:
Efficient inventory management:
Integration of your products and services with the Electronic Catalog of the Exchange will help you manage inventory more effectively.
Better customer relationship management:
Ability to have constant interaction through the Exchange allows you to serve your customers better. You can track the whole ordering process from payment to delivery and bring greater efficiency in customer service.
New sales channel:
By becoming a member of a B2B exchange, you open a low cost, highly functional and easy-to-use sales channel for your company. You expose your company to a new targeted audience which otherwise would have been untapped to you.
Save significantly from reduced paper works:
Automated supply chain management helps trimming down paper work greatly.
Eliminate rogue spending:
Consolidated and automated procurement and approval method stops unauthorized purchasing in a company.
You can receive valuable feedback from other fellow buyers, receive industry-related information, build new partnerships and use the networking ability of a community.
Tips for Success
The key to ensuring success with B2B Exchanges are in planning, active participation, learning the tools necessary to use the Exchange effectively and dedication to work through it.
1. Choosing the Right B2B Exchange
Although, there are huge benefits in participating in a B2B Exchange, you have to be careful in selecting one. Not all B2B Exchanges might work for you. There are thousands of B2B Exchanges available on the Internet. Some are industry specific, some cater only certain geographical areas, and some concentrate more on delivering business tools to the participants. The challenge is to select the right B2B Exchange, which will serve your particular needs.
In order to conduct the selection process you must establish certain goal. Possible objectives for you should be to:
- Generate sales
- Get access to a large numbers of buyers or sellers
- Find distributors and importers
- Enhance customer relationships through online tools
- Develop product awareness
- Extend market shares
- Conduct market research
- Streamline supply chain
- Automate selling process
- Adopt e-procurement
Your goal should combine several of these objectives.
In evaluating a B2B Exchange you also should consider whether it has following features, as these features are vital elements for any good B2B exchange.
- Product catalog based on an industry-standard classification system
- Product search capability within the marketplace and e-catalog
- Directory of members
- Product content adding and editing interface
- Ability to promote products and services
Other key characteristics of a B2B exchange also include:
- Simplicity = Primary tools of the exchange should be easy to learn and use.
- Significant membership base = The quantity of members should be big enough, so that new participants can expand their business from the very first day.
- Flexibility = The Exchange should add new and modify existing tools according to the market need.
- Neutrality = The Exchange owners should be unbiased and maintain absolute neutrality. Providing an open and transparent market for all the participants is an important constituent of the value proposition of a B2B exchange.
Participation in a B2B exchange in order to achieve successful result is a serious commitment. Study the exchange of your choice thoroughly. If they offer trial membership, subscribe! Spend time on learning the tools – how they work? Are they beneficial to your business?
Proper preparation will help you in:
- Saving money
- Making seamless adoption
- Increasing productivity right from the beginning
- Reaching your goals faster
However, poor preparation can get you into serious trouble.
- You may encounter higher costs
- Productivity may suffer significantly
- You even may be forced to abandon the whole idea
The primary factors of company productivity are Revenue Increase and Cost Cutting. Both are easily achievable if you adopt a quality B2B exchange, train your stuffs to use it effectively, integrate exchange’s various tools to your advantage and slowly but consistently make it one of your primary channels for buying and selling.
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