What is an E-marketplace anyway?
E-marketplace is a business to business web based venue, where buyers and sellers meet online, generate business leads and conduct business transactions. The e-marketplace features are tailored in a manner so that a large numbers of buyers and suppliers can be serviced as a community. A participant of an E-marketplace can be a buyer, a seller or both. Unlike an E-distribution portal which is oriented to assist suppliers selling their products or an E-procurement system which is focused on buyers solely, an E-marketplace is a platform which caters buyers and sellers equally. As a participant of an E-marketplace you are able to explore buying and selling opportunities, make sales offers and buy products and services, add products and services to aggregated e-catalog and use numerous other value added features.
E-marketplaces are tremendously beneficial to all businesses that decide to participate in them. However, the potential benefits that a company can accrue from an E-marketplace are directly proportional to the factor - how heavily the company uses the offered features of that E-marketplace. Naturally, a company that makes e-marketplace as its primary sales channel and integrates its sales resources to supply chain solutions of the E-marketplace avail more in sales and administrative overhead cost savings, reduced paper work, better customer service, reduced product distribution costs and online sales growth than a seasonal user of the e-marketplace.
A committed participant of an E-marketplace can benefit from and improve two primary factors of company productivity: Revenue Growth and Cost Savings.
Expand Customer Base
A seller, once registered with an E-marketplace, gets immediate access to a large community of prospective buyers of his products or services.
Revenue Increase from Existing Clients
Existing clients get faster and easier access to product information, quicker response to their requests, get better customer support and buy products online.
Revenue Increase from Value Added Services
Once an E-marketplace is set as primary sales channel, freed resources can be used to create more value added services for clients. Some of the services that the E-marketplace offers also can be utilized to generate more value.
Order Processing Cost
The supply chain solutions of E-marketplace allow sellers to reduce order processing cost significantly. Studies show that cost of processing a purchase order can be reduced from US$ 70 down to US$ 6 only.
Sales and support costs
By automating sales and customer support processes companies can reduce over head costs over 25-30% easily.
Inventory keeping costs
Clearer visibility and forecasting ability allow companies considerably reduce inventory keeping costs.
Most executives agree that primary reason why they feel that the companies should participate in E-marketplace is its ability to streamline supply chain mechanism. Many inherent inefficiencies of supply chain process can be eliminated thanks to integrated to e-marketplaces supply chain solutions.
What sellers have to do in order to participate in E-marketplaces and reap numerous benefits that it can provide?
As most of the administrative and operational tasks are done automatically by the e-marketplaces, participation in them is not a difficult process.
These are the basic steps that a seller must take to participate in an E-marketplace:
Registration might be an easy job of filling up a form. It is much better to take some initial preparations before doing this.
Choose a good login name: your login can be used by the E-marketplace to give you subdomain name, i.e. login.e-marketplace_name.com.
Profile: A well-written profile increases company image.
Logo: your logo helps you brand your company.
Add your products or services to E-catalog
Most E-marketplaces furnish with easy to use forms or wizards for sellers to add their products to E-catalog. As the product and service classification used in the E-catalogs often is an industry standard, it is important to spend some times to find the perfect subcategories for your products or services. If you have any doubt contact the customer support of the E-marketplace. Fill up as many given fields are there for a product as you can. The more information buyer gets right away the faster his buying decision would be.
Most sophisticated E-marketplaces have various sales platforms apart from the E-catalog inclusion. Make general sales offers, time sensitive offers (hot offers - with offer expiry dates) and auction offers of your products and services. Determine the terms and methods of price, payment and shipment.
Decide how you will handle portions of the supply chain that you have to do offline.
Although, most of the supply chain process can be done online, not all e-marketplace offer a complete end to end solution. You also have to figure out what part of your back office can be integrated to the E-marketplace.
Nowshade Kabir, Ph.D., is the founder, primary developer and present CEO, of Rusbiz.com, a global business to business e-commerce portal with feature like storefronts, aggregated catalog, e-marketplace, trade leads, internal messaging system supply chain solutions, etc. With a doctorate in Information Technology, Dr. Kabir has worked an advisor to government projects and has over 12 years experience in International Trade. An author of many B2B and business related articles; he publishes a bi-weekly E-zine for online business community. You can subscribe to his newsletter free of charge from http://www.rusbiz.com.