Q&A: Mirakl Talks Distributor/Manufacturer E-Commerce Marketplace

The founder and CEO of marketplace solutions provider Mirakl recently gave ID an exclusive interview, discussing the role of B2B marketplaces for distributors and manufacturers.

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Last week, Mirakl, a global marketplace solutions provider, announced the launch of its B2B solution, Mirakl Marketplace B2B, designed to help distributors and manufacturers create their own online marketplaces.

“Online marketplaces are as well-suited for B2B as they are for B2C,” Adrien Nussenbaum, U.S. CEO and co-founder of Mirakl, said in a related news release. “The fundamentals are just the same, offering customers more choice, better service and more competitive pricing. With B2B firms feeling the pressure from pure-players such as Amazon Business or Alibaba, Mirakl Marketplace B2B delivers a host of specific features tailored for the B2B market, enabling those organizations to meet customer needs, without cost or inventory.”

Mirakl launched Mirakl Marketplace B2B as a response to the changing behaviors and needs of B2B stakeholders. Due to the popularity of same-day delivery, price transparency and first-class customer service in B2C from pure-players such as Amazon, buyers and procurement teams in business now also expect that same convenience, price and service at work.

“The rise of digital has had a strong impact on the B2B market because it facilitates peer-to-peer exchanges,” continued Nussenbaum. “B2C e-commerce has induced a change in behavior and today B2B consumers expect the same kind of experience as B2C consumers. B2B companies must address this e-commerce challenge or they will face extinction. Creating their own online marketplace allows a B2B organization to adapt to changing markets (and) remain competitive and relevant in the face of stiff competition from new players.”

ID had a chance to pose a few additional questions to Nussenbaum in the following exclusive interview:

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ID: Which types (size, scope, etc.) of B2B distributors are the best candidates for establishing a marketplace?

A: The short answer is that distributors of all sizes, shapes and forms, from pharmaceuticals to building supplies, can achieve success by establishing an online marketplace. The B2B landscape is changing quickly, not least due to changing user expectations with technology. These changes are driven by the B2C sector, where users now expect a modern digital experience. 

What's more, the business landscape is moving from local to global: B2B distributors are now competing with every other distributor in the world. A B2B marketplace enables the distributor to provide all relevant information to the customer in record time while maximizing resources.

ID: Why do you feel marketplaces are the future of e-commerce in B2B? Isn’t having a well executed web presence (with functional e-commerce) enough?

A:  There are three main trends that are changing B2B e-commerce:

  • Technology is changing user expectations who now expect a modern digital experience; 
  • There is a rising importance of network effects – people do not buy products in isolation anymore, they enjoy finding everything in one space, no matter what they’re shopping for; 
  • The business landscape is changing from local to global: companies are now competing with every other B2B company in the world. 

Companies that embrace these trends will outperform those that don’t. The marketplace model allows manufacturers to build lasting relationships with customers and open up infinite possibilities. e-commerce platforms can only provide customers with a certain amount of information. They are not necessarily customer-driven or designed to answer all of the customer’s specific questions. A marketplace’s advantage over a stand-alone e-commerce initiative is that its success is driven by customer-centric vision. 

ID: Some of the greatest advantages for Amazon Business are its access to a mature marketplace (large, active customer base), as well as its superior logistics capabilities. Explain how Mirakl can bring these to the table for one of its new customers.

A: Mirakl Marketplace B2B solution has the advantage of providing B2B vendors with a scalable marketplace that can be uniquely tailored to meet their business needs and customers' desires. Compared to Amazon or Alibaba, Mirakl provides a customer-driven approach that helps businesses tailor their marketplace to specifically control their product selection by giving customers a 360-degree view into all details for every product on their marketplace including pricing, origin, availability etc. — a feature B2B suppliers simply cannot control on Amazon given the fact that they don’t have control over the products posted by other vendors on Amazon Business. 

 

What do you think? Will B2B marketplaces create opportunities for distributors to expand sales of third party products?

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