Online marketplaces like Airbnb and eBay have turned the entire consumer market upside down. We are at the forefront of the same development in the industrial sector. The first online industrial marketplaces are already a fact. It’s time to become acquainted with this concept!
What is an industrial marketplace? An industrial marketplace is an online platform where industrial market players can trade with each other. The platform usually handles the transactional processes, such as processing payments. Some platforms provide advanced possibilities, such as automatic links between quotes and tenders.
How does an industrial marketplace contribute to innovation? Industrial marketplaces are often breeding grounds for creative ideas and innovative projects. This is hardly surprising, as an industrial marketplace has no typical hierarchic structure as found in common supply chains. Whereas suppliers of raw materials usually have little or no contact with after-market service companies, this traditional hierarchy is completely eliminated in an industrial marketplace, which can lead to surprising collaborations. These dynamics contribute to value creation and innovation.
What are the benefits of an industrial marketplace?
From a consumer’s point of view, the advantages are obvious: there is ample choice, it is easy to compare offers, and you have access everywhere and via any device. And on top of this, one may add the fine interaction opportunities and – usually – quick transactions.
These advantages also more or less apply to industrial enterprises, as do the following unique benefits:
- High degree of quality and reliability
An industrial marketplace reduces trade and collaboration risks. The likelihood of a supplier delivering poor work, not paying up or disrespecting the agreements, decreases substantially. Platforms usually perform quality checks on interested parties before providing access to the network. So you only get the very best.
- Possibilities to collaborate and interact
Moreover, a marketplace like this offers all kinds of opportunities for establishing relationships, collaborations and different ways of interacting. Just think of a forum on which you can place a call for a joint innovation project. Parties connected to this platform are often actively seeking interesting collaborations. An online marketplace hence accelerates co-creation.
- Breaking through geographical and hierarchal boundaries
You can find industrial customers and suppliers that you would otherwise never meet, simply because they are from a completely different area or continent. An online marketplace is hardly bothered about geographical borders and breaks through existing cliquish networks.
- Simplifying acquisition processes
An online marketplace can simplify the acquisition process. Advanced search engines can, based on machine learning, automatically search for the best deal for both supplier and customer on the Xometry network for the manufacturing industry.
Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE Marketplace in this way facilitates all of the processes concerning transactions, such as payments, currencies, and invoicing. This platform provides a detailed insight into the status of each transaction, so that you can track it carefully.
- Improved visibility for potential customers and partners
Those connected to a network are automatically more visible into potential partners and customers. You are after all part of an environment in which your target group is looking for interesting collaborations, new products and corresponding services daily. Participating in an industrial marketplace is therefore a relatively easy way to put yourself in the spotlight.
- Driving on data
Industrial marketplaces are rich sources of market-related data. Take, for instance, the top ten most-wanted raw materials, or the industrial services with the highest increase in demand within a certain sector. By analysing this data, trends become visible and you can anticipate.
- Testing new markets
An industrial marketplace can also be a good way to sample the demand in new geographic markets. This opportunity is especially appealing to companies that sell to other businesses, as according to Forrester, almost two thirds of these companies generate less than 10 percent of their income outside of their domestic markets.
What are the existing industrial marketplaces?
There are marketplaces for numerous disciplines. There are marketplaces for raw materials, machines, (heavy) tools, robots, labour, freight transport, and packaging materials. Some marketplaces have a specific focus or serve a unique market segment. Ingredientsonline.com, for example, focusses entirely on ingredients for foodstuff, and the aforementioned 3DEXPERIENCE Marketplace targets product innovation. There is ultimately a suitable marketplace for virtually every industrial organisation.
How do I make the right choice out of all the different marketplaces?
It is not easy to make the right choice. Look at your target group from a customer-centric point of view: where does my customer buy, what does my customer seek? Also assess your own strengths and weaknesses in your service or production model, and subsequently find the corresponding marketplace(s).
Use an industrial marketplace as a catalyst for growth, seek collaborations, and create new value. If you don’t, your competitor surely will.