Online marketplaces offer numerous benefits to buyers and sellers from comparison shopping to shorter and a less complex sales cycle. Consider the impact online marketplaces such as Amazon, Alibaba, TradeIndia, Walmart, Ebay and Etsy have made globally on buyers and sellers. From simplicity of use, expanded products and improved availability, competitive pricing and comparison shopping features that include product reviews, ratings and technical specifications, these platforms have without question reshaped how consumers purchase goods.
On the seller-side, online selling platforms increase exposure to new customers. Choosing to sell products and services via an ecommerce website or online marketplace provides sellers the opportunity to increase sales and further grow and extend the customer base. Online marketplaces provide a single platform allowing sellers to reach an enormous group of potential buyers all-the-while increasing brand exposure. These marketplaces also streamline and expedite the buying process through transaction efficiency when compared to a traditional hand-to-hand sale at a brick-and-mortar or via phone, email, etc. saving time and resources for both buyer and seller.
The familiar online marketplaces mentioned above typically cater to consumers with essentially an unlimited amount of product offerings. However, online marketplaces are not solely exclusive to consumers. Business-to-business online marketplaces are equally beneficial for buyers and sellers and increased adoption and expansion is anticipated across multiple industries and market segments.
A recent survey conducted by Run In All, found that two-thirds of respondents completed over 25 online purchases for personal use in 2020. And 28% of respondents completed over 100 online transactions. However, when asked about purchasing habits for their business, 74% indicated fewer than 20 transactions using B2B eCommerce websites, and only 8% indicated over 40 purchases last year.
While online purchases for business currently lag those of consumers, market data indicate that buying preferences are evolving. Procurement officers at corporations have resisted supply chain portals due to concerns about order complexity, product quality and reliable fulfillment and delivery, but this attitude is changing. According to the article, How B2B online marketplaces could transform indirect procurement published on the McKinsey & Company website, “A new generation of procurement leaders, who have grown up buying online for increasingly complex personal needs, are beginning to wonder whether buying online also makes sense for business.”
Recently-published statistics on eCommerce indicate the primary advantage for purchasing online is that buyers can shop at all hours of the day. In addition, 57% of shoppers purchase from sellers that are overseas. This provides a substantial advantage in the global oil and gas industry for both buyers and sellers as indicated below.
Improve access to quality equipment
The oil and gas business may be global but many of the industry’s suppliers are not. Online marketplaces offer smaller niche suppliers new opportunities to market their products to compete directly with larger international competitors. Through online marketplaces, regional and specialized suppliers now may compete directly, potentially increasing buyer access to higher quality and more specialized equipment from other regions worldwide.
Price and reliability remain key factors in product selection by buyers. Online marketplaces allow buyers to comparison shop an entire inventory of new, used or reconditioned items as well as services from multiple sellers. While searching, buyers may refine results by numerous criteria such as condition (new or used), technical specifications, product origin, dimension, weight, and manufacturer.
Improve overall sales efficiency
Online marketplaces buyers help minimize the number of purchase orders and invoices by mixing brands and products within the same cart. From product inquiry to product delivery, online marketplace purchases are more efficient with fewer points of contact, intermediaries and staff involved during the sales process. Buying online is time efficient and cost effective, and considerably more so when supply chain and procurement groups are in alignment.
Great customer service
Pricing typically ranks highest in the buying process, but customer service is an important part of online marketplace success too. Buyers and sellers expect the sales process to be streamlined and without issues. In the event situations occur where customer service is required, such as a return, the exchange must also be pleasant and without issue.
Many online buyers choose to purchase products from sellers with high customer service ratings and reviews. In order to achieve and maintain a high level of customer service marketplaces must confirm suppliers and their products are reputable through thorough vetting and active monitoring.
Secure transaction, payment and automation
Set up with specific attention to privacy and transactional security, online marketplaces are safe environments to complete sales transactions 24 hours a day across the globe. Multiple payment methods may be tailored to suit financing requirements. After completing on online sale, automated status and delivery updates keep buyers and sellers informed.
While B2B eCommerce websites may not have historically shared the recognition of the consumer platforms the new generation of business buyers (including procurement and supply chain professionals) recognize the benefits that can be gained from further adoption and integration of supply chain portals into their businesses.
In summary, the traditional sales process will continue to move further online as buyers look for ease of use and more efficient and expansive buying options. Buyers will continue to search for best pricing while expecting ever increased platform functionality and features. As these new customers become more engaged with new markets, sellers must be prepared to scale their businesses to meet demand.
Run In All is a marketplace purpose-built for the oil and gas industry. This 2.0 digital procurement and supply chain platform is designed to streamline your processes. Our vast product selection and intuitive processes make it is simple for operators to find the right products to support their operations, and for suppliers to extend their reach to a global audience. All transactions are performed on a secure, efficient, and collaborative platform built to help your business succeed.
ECommerce is especially well-suited and beneficial to the oil and gas industry for each stage of the energy supply chain.
For new oil and gas suppliers, B2B eCommerce platforms can help reach initial customers and grow beyond a local base.
Online purchases for business currently lag those of consumers, but market data indicates buying preferences are evolving.