With the growth of B2B marketplaces like Opendesk, Upwork, and Anvyl, and new ones launching almost every day, the traditional B2B procurement model is on its way out.
In fact, just seven years from now, B2B global eCommerce market size is expected to reach US$25.65 trillion—three times the total value of B2C eCommerce.
But to get there, B2B marketplaces still face some significant challenges. Chief among them is that successful marketplaces often become victims of their own success through marketplace leakage. That is, if a buyer finds a great new supplier through your B2B marketplace, what’s to stop them from cutting out the middleman and dealing with each other directly?
And while there’s no sure-fire fix that will keep transactions on your platform, here’s how Dropbox’s eSignature product called Dropbox Sign can help reduce the chances your marketplace participants take things off-platform.
There’s a reason B2B sales cycles average 1–3 months. It takes that long to find and assess potential suppliers, establish relationships, complete the paperwork, and organize logistics.
B2B marketplaces attempt to solve this problem by connecting buyers with trusted and competitively priced suppliers, rather than the alternative where buyers have to go directly to each supplier to find the best deals themselves.
But after the first successful trade, how do B2B marketplaces keep both parties transacting on their platform? By making the entire buying and selling process easier than it would be going direct.
That’s where Dropbox Sign can help. Using digital documents for your onboarding processes and contracts saves you, buyers, and sellers time sending documents back and forth over email—or worse, printing, signing, and scanning (and even mailing!).
Reducing admin for both buyers and sellers not only makes transacting more convenient, but it also speeds up the process—meaning suppliers make sales faster and buyers get their goods or services quicker.
Keep documents connected
Every B2B transaction starts its own workflow, from order authorization to delivery to invoicing and payment. Different departments are involved at different steps along the purchase process, too, ultimately leaving accounts to confirm a buyer has received the goods and services they signed up for.
It gets complicated and documents can get lost, mismatched, or even sent to the wrong parties.
Dropbox Sign allows you and your suppliers to synchronize contracts with invoices. This is a major timesaver for all parties, eliminating mismatches and saving time wasted investigating discrepancies between what was promised and what was delivered.
Our customer AdvicePay uses Dropbox Sign to sync documents, making the invoicing process significantly more efficient. As Joe Timmer, Lead Developer at AdvicePay says, “Instead of having to spend double or triple the time to create and match invoices and contracts, it’s now done automatically, which has sped up the time to manage contracts for advisors by 50%.”
In addition, keeping records of the contracts on your marketplace makes them easily accessible.
Avoiding administrative hiccups only gives your buyers and sellers another reason to keep doing business on your marketplace.
Offer additional services with ease
There’s also value in owning other aspects of the transaction such as freight logistics, insurance, and even finance for smaller players. Offering an end-to-end B2B solution gives suppliers and buyers even more incentive to use your platform, rather than go it alone.
For instance, a number of B2B marketplaces—like Agreena and Seafood Portal—offer trade insurance as part of their platforms’ services. Apart from peace of mind for suppliers, if a claim does need to be lodged, outsourcing this task saves suppliers time and eliminates the stress of having to manage the admin involved.
With multiple contract templates and options to add variations, Dropbox Sign can help you sign up participants for the services they need. And, if a business decides to change its services, it’s simple to amend, resend, and sign digital contracts, directly on your platform.
Scale your marketplace fast
What brings buyers and suppliers to your B2B marketplace is choice. While some buyers might find a new supplier that can fulfill all their business needs, more often than not companies will look to create a network of suppliers to meet requirements.
For example, medical equipment B2B marketplace Kwipped.com had just 28 requests for lease and lease-to-own ventilators in early 2020. However, as COVID-19 cases accelerated in March and April 2020, demand increased to 15,319 requests—an increase of some 32,000%.
And when there’s an increase in buyer demand, you need to know you can onboard more suppliers fast.
By digitizing all the onboarding and verification documents that new suppliers need to fill out, you can automate large portions of the process and speed it up.
With features like Dropbox Sign templates, for example, you can create reusable documents that only require you to update specific fields, like name and address, before sending to multiple recipients. And with the Dropbox Sign bulk send feature, you can send up to 250 documents to different suppliers with the click of a button.
When you can offer buyers a greater selection of well-vetted, quality suppliers, why would they go anywhere else?
Goodbye traditional procurement, hello eSignatures
While B2B marketplaces are a proven better way to do business than legacy procurement channels, there’s still some teething problems to solve—the biggest being marketplace leakage.
But by offering extra services and reducing friction using eSignature tools, B2B marketplaces can make steady inroads towards keeping buyers and suppliers transacting on-platform.
Contact Dropbox Sign today to discuss how we can support your B2B marketplace goals.