How to find the best B2B Multi-vendor marketplace software?

What will you find out in this article?

This article is for people who want to build their own B2B marketplace platform. First, I’ll tell you about the software’s features, you need to look first, when you are going to run your clone of Amazon Business or Alibaba. After, you can read about steps, which are required to find the best b2b marketplace software. I’ll outline features, that are specific to the B2B multi-vendor marketplace. Also, you can read another article where I have specified questions, which are common to all types of marketplace.

What is B2B marketplace software?

B2B marketplace software is a kind of e-commerce software, which is intended to run online B2B marketplaces. B2B marketplaces allow companies to sell their products or services first to another business. Those products or services could be then re-sold to another business or a customer with a mark-up or used in different projects. It is a place where suppliers, importers, exporters, retailers, wholesalers are connected with each other here to get products for their business needs.
There are two types of b2b marketplace software: self-hosted and SaaS. Self-hosted b2b marketplace software is known as b2b marketplace script. It is an ecommerce program that needs to be installed and configured manually on the user’s web server. SaaS (software as a service) software is called the cloud b2b marketplace platform. It is developed by other companies, installed on their servers and can be rented by other people. Self-hosted software is better when you are a tech-savvy person, or you have tech employees who can configure or extend it. This type of program requires more technical skills, but is more flexible and gives more freedom in building a marketplace platform. SaaS solutions are better when you want to start doing business immediately with minimum preparations.
It is worth mentioning, that there are two options for building a self-hosted b2b marketplace. The first option is to buy an already created marketplace program. The second option is to hire a software company and build the platform from scratch. This article is for those people, who have an interest in the first option.

B2B marketplaces and B2B e-Commerce statistics

  1. B2B Market size value in 2021 – USD 7.72 trillion (according to grandviewresearch 2021). The global B2B e-commerce market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 18.7% from 2021 to 2028 to reach USD 25.65 trillion by 2028.
  2. global B2B e-Commerce market in 2019 was over 6 times that of the B2C market
  3. Asia makes up roughly 80 percent of the global B2B e-commerce market(according to statista 2020), whereas Asia Pacific is a dominant regional market capturing over 60% of the overall B2B revenue share in 2020.
  4. Estimated global B2B e-commerce gross merchandise volume (GMV) on marketplaces in 2019 – 22.56 and 2020 – 31.19. This means that the global b2b market grows by 38,25% during 1 year. (according to statista 2020)
  5. Top B2B Marketplaces in the World:

    • AMAZON Business
  6. 61% of B2B transactions start online. (according to BigCommerce, 2021) with B2B buyers doing an average of 12 online searches before making a purchase. (according to financesonline)
  7. The intermediary segment dominated the B2B e-commerce market with a revenue share exceeding 50% in 2020. The home and kitchen segment captured the highest revenue share of over 15% in 2020 in the B2B e-commerce market.(according to grandviewresearch)

What are the differences Between B2B and B2C and why is it important when you build a B2B online marketplace?

Before listing the most significant features of B2B marketplace software, we need to understand what are the differences between B2B and B2C platforms. Importance of this understanding helps us to recognize what features are valuable in a B2B case, but what of them are not. B2C (Business-to-consumer) is a platform where a company sells a service or product directly to consumers. An example of a B2C marketplace is Amazon. B2C is the most frequent type of trading production. The difference between B2B and B2C platforms is a consequence of the fact of different behavior of their buyers. B2C customers need to study the product before purchase. They examine beautiful pictures, study reviews, look for profitable discounts, want comfortable delivery conditions directly home at a convenient time for them. The wholesalers are well versed in the range of products and do not need additional study. A wholesale buyer needs a clear result: the ability to search for goods by SKU, a sufficient number of items in stock, the availability of accompanying documentation and a deferred payment. Thus, B2B software should have features for fulfilling needs of B2B buyers that are mentioned above. So, the list of features in this article is a consequence of the difference between B2B and B2C business. Certainly, B2B and B2C marketplace scripts have many common features. By now, I am going to describe important features that are specific only for B2B marketplace solutions. I can suggest reading another article, where we described features that are important for all types of marketplace software. I hope it helps you to make the right choice and saves your time and money.

Most significant features for b2b marketplace software.

1) Quick order form

Quick order in online shop

When you are buying in online web shops, you might notice that each shopping cart website provides a catalog. Typically, buyers are looking at the website catalog and adding products into the shopping cart. This process is comfortable when a customer wants to buy one or few items. But it is a nightmare when you are trying to buy hundreds or even thousands of products at once. In most cases, B2B marketplace customers are representatives of business. Usually, they order many items at once. This could take a huge time to make a purchase. Thus, B2B marketplaces require quicker ways to collect a list of products into a shopping cart and to finish the order. Order placement is one of the most critical steps directly affecting consumer purchase decisions. Any delay in order processing will cause them to abandon the shopping cart and therefore relationship with sellers. One of the most effective ways to simplify B2B purchasing is implementing a quick order form, which allows the buyer to skip some time-consuming steps. Part of B2B programs allow purchasers to display products in table view and to add needed products into shopping carts. Others provide an ability to search needed products via input product’s names or SCUs and to add them into the order list. The third part of b2b software allows the client to upload a list of products from CSV or Excel files and to do quick orders. This feature is one of the most significant because it saves time for B2B marketplace clients. Main idea of it is to enable customers to order various products in different numbers on one Quick Order form only within several selections. No more time-consuming page reload is required.

2) Flexible price rules

Pricing policy is a bit more complex when B2B wholesalers (as opposed to B2C) serve their consumers. Thus, it is very difficult to achieve a comparable online B2B experience using most of the currently available e-commerce platforms. This is why B2B marketplace platform software utilizes volume pricing as well as tiered pricing feature to handle most of the possible pricing scenarios.

Volume pricing defines a price for all units within the range. With volume pricing, all units will cost the lower price as soon as you hit a particular number. Here is an illustration of volume pricing:

  • If you buy 10 or fewer items, it would cost you $99 for 1 item.
  • If you buy from 11 to 50 items, the price of each item is lowered to $79 per item.
  • If you buy more than 51 items, the price of each item is lowered further to $60.

For example, if customer orders 80 items then calculation of total sum will be: 80*$60 = $4 800

Tiered pricing is a different price of product or service price per unit within a range. Tiered pricing allows to decrease the price per unit once each quantity within a “tier” has been sold. Here is an illustration of tiered price:

  • If you buy 10 or fewer items, it would cost you $99 for 1 item.
  • If you buy from 11 to 50 items, the price of each item over 10 is lowered to $79 per item.
  • If you buy more than 51 items, the price of each item above 50 is lowered further to $60.

For example, if customer buys 80 items, then calculation of total sum will be: 10 * $99 + 40 * $79 + 30*$60 = $5 950

Often, prices can be even more complex. For instance, you can set the following price rules in the price list:

  • If you buy 10 or fewer items, it would cost you $99.99 for 1 item. But if you are a regular customer then it would cost you $89.99 per item.
  • If you buy from 11 to 50 items, the price per each item above 10 is lowered to $79.75 per item. But if you are a regular customer, then it would cost you $69.75 per item.
  • If you buy from 51 to 100 items, the price per item, above 50 is lowered further to $60.51. For a regular customer, it would cost $50.51 per item, and so on.

This feature comes in handy when your vendors are dealing with customers who are wholesalers. Tiered pricing is an effective and helpful e-commerce feature for B2B companies because it allows customers to pay for what they can afford. It also encourages them to purchase more to get discounts.
The prices can depend on the location of the buyer. For instance, a seller may have special prices for USA merchants. Also, they can offer free shipping or discounts for long-term customers.

3) request for quote – RFC

RFC – is a abbreviation of request for quote. Ordering process between buyers and sellers in the B2B e-commerce world is not similar to buying sweet at candy shops. It is a bit more complicated process. Before deciding, B2B buyers typically want to know not only the price. Often, they need to know payment terms, quality level per item, contract length, more detailed specifications of the product and many other important things. Also, buyers may ask selected suppliers to submit price quotes and bids for the chance to fulfill certain tasks or projects.

Additionally, clients may send requests to various vendors based on such criteria: category of products, various attributes like volume or weight or size or stock, locations. As we can see, one of the most significant capabilities of a B2B e-commerce platform is to provide fast and efficient ways of interaction between buyer and seller. RFC is intended to be an e-commerce tool that provides those ways.

4) Shopping lists

Often, within the same company, buyers are working on different projects that require different products or equipment for different business units within the same organization. They need to separate lists of products for different tasks. After, they may want to calculate the price of groups of products and then convert these groups into orders or RFCs. B2B marketplace platforms software should provide options to effectively ensure this process. For this purpose, the shopping list is the ultimate e-commerce tool. Shopping lists feature is like a mix of multiple shopping carts and multiple favorites lists. The customers can create many shopping lists of the products they need and will be able to plan the budget before placing the order. There are some functions of shopping lists:

  • Customers can save items along with its quantity in the shopping list and can use them anytime as a list of favorite products, grouped by some attribute.
  • Shopping lists is a tool for registered users.
  • The customers can convert the shopping list into purchase.
  • The buyers can save their valuable time because they don’t have to search or browse for their desired product every time they visit the website.

5) Repeat Ordering

Quick order in online shop

As I already mentioned, clients of B2B platforms are representative of business. Often, they need to order the same products several times. It means it would be great if they do not search for products again during next orders. Instead, they can repeat one of the previous orders, just clicking one link. Usually, buyers of B2B marketplace want to quickly review past purchases and place previous orders for commonly purchased products. Repeat ordering is a tool designed for this purpose. This feature is simple but one of the most valuable because it saves valuable time.

Other features

Besides features, mentioned above there are other important ones that are common for all types of marketplace platforms (not only B2B marketplaces). Thus you should consider them when you try to find the best b2b marketplace software.

Scalability and Performance. This feature is important when traffic on the marketplace, count of clients, sellers and products will increase significantly. Although it is difficult to estimate performance before testing marketplace in live, still you can try to find out live examples of using marketplace software that interests you. Often, software providers promote urls of live marketplace websites that are using their marketplace software. If not, then you can contact software providers and ask them to give you proof links of their software implementations.Before running marketplace platform you need to calculate how many sellers and products your marketplace will accomodate. Also, you need to estimate how many customers your marketplace will serve. For example, if you are going to have 1000 sellers on your marketplace and each vendor will sell approximately 1000 products then your database needs to store a million products! Try to think about what hardware you need to rent for such a big database and for such big traffic.

Ratings and reviews system. This feature is a must have for each multi vendor platform, because it helps customers to trust your marketplace. Please note that it is important to filter and block out fake reviews.

Commission rules. Fee/Commission Management. There are possible options:

  • Subscription fee. It is the case when the seller needs to pay you some money per some period: month, year etc.
  • Commission based on sum of transactions. If vendors can sell more goods, then the more money your marketplace can earn.
  • Category commissions. This option means that admin can set up different commissions or subscription fees for selling in different categories of products.
  • Seller-specific commissions.

Software customizations.
This feature means that marketplace software supports the creation of new functions, a new view of marketplace platform and also it allows to overwrite part of the functionality of e-commerce software. This can be achieved by using different tools like: frameworks, plugins, templates, themes.

Support options. This is not a feature of software but it is a valuable parameter when you decide to choose a marketplace platform. Pay attention to it because sometimes you will need help when something will go wrong, especially when your marketplace is in production. Check if you can get help from marketplace software providers via: phone, email, support forum. Make sure if the license that you are going to buy allows you to get free help and wonder how much time you need to wait for a response.

Free options for using software. Try to find out if marketplace software includes: free versions, trial period, free online demo. Any of them help you to estimate software before purchase.

Vendor access control.
This feature allows such functions:

  • Marketplace software allows the seller to restrict the count of products that seller can add.
  • Admin of the marketplace is able to restrict categories of products that a vendor can sell.
  • Marketplace platform allows to restrict how many products each seller can sell per month, set up maximal revenue that vendors can earn per month, and admin can control payment/shipping methods available for sellers.

This feature mostly is used to create multiple channels for selling products and to create mobile applications.

Each e-commerce platform should provide the creation of title tags, meta descriptions, SEO URLs and 301 redirects. Also, you need to be sure that pages of the marketplace load fast. Additionally do not forget about modern SEO features like rich snippets in products and category pages.

Mobile experience that includes: mobile applications, mobile-optimized viewing of websites and PWA for a near-native mobile app experience and offline mode support.

Payment methods.
Payment options accepted on the platform should include bank transfers, cash, credit cards, and checks. It is good if software supports most popular payment solutions like: PayPal, Stripe, Square, Google Pay, Braintree, Due, and others. But please note that some of them may be restricted in certain countries.

Payout processing.
A marketplace may support:

  • A direct payment option – customers pay directly to a seller.
  • An aggregated payment option – a marketplace collects payments, keeps the commission and pays the profit to sellers.

Vendor-to-customer communication: Live Chats, chat bots.

Adding product into database.
In addition to manual adding products into the database, the marketplace should allow bulk options like: Bulk uploading products via CSV/XLS/XML files, automatically import products from external websites and databases.

How to find the best b2b online marketplace software? Step-by-step guide.

Step 1: List all features from this article and from another article. Add your requirements into this list

Step 2: Search in google by phrases:

  • b2b multi vendor marketplace
  • b2b multivendor marketplace
  • b2b marketplace software
  • create b2b marketplace
  • How do you set up a B2B marketplace?
  • Your variant 🙂

Step 3: Go through Google result pages and collect links of marketplace software. Store them in your spreadsheet document. You can research as many as possible result pages, but I think 10 pages for each phrase will be enough.

Step 4: Research each software features according to list of requirements, prepared in Step 1

Step 5: Contact marketplace software vendors and ask them questions from a list of features and requirements, which are not displayed on vendor’s pages.

Step 6: Find few URLs of software review services like capterra or g2 in google, using such search phrases:

  • software review
  • software review website
  • software advice

Step 7: Go to review services from list, collected in step 6 and research reviews of each marketplace software is found in Step 3.

Step 8: Also, you can get consultation from our specialists in the b2b software area.


In this article, you found a small guide where I described How to find the best b2b marketplace software and I listed most important features of b2b multi vendor marketplace, which must be considered. There are many other features you need to consider before building your B2B marketplace platform. I outlined a list, that is the most important of them and which is most specific to B2B marketplace business. I suggest you read another article, where you can find many other features that are common for any type of marketplace software. Also, I am going to describe additional features in future along with other important questions related to building a B2B marketplace. If you have an interest in this, you can subscribe to our blog updates. Also, you can get free consultation related to building a B2B marketplace from our team. For this, you can use this FORM. You are welcome to share your valuable thoughts using the comment form below.

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