Business today is more technologically and digitally driven than ever before, with various applications and devices re-shaping the way companies do business with their consumers, and with each other. So many daily processes and transactions are now done virtually, regardless of industry, and commerce is no exception. The rise of e-commerce is already well underway, as the global marketplace goes digital.
E-commerce – the buying and selling of goods or services using the internet, and the transfer of money and data to execute these transactions – continues to grow. The global e-commerce market size was valued at $6.64 trillion in 2020 and is expected to expand at a CAGR of 18.7 percent from 2021 to 2028.
One of the reasons for this growth is the existence of business-to-business (B2B) marketplaces, commonly referred to as cloud marketplaces. These are defined by their digital e-commerce platforms or software, which enables companies to securely connect with other organizations and conduct business all in one place. Like a traditional B2C platform, B2B e-commerce marketplaces are where companies buy and sell products, usually in bulk.
There are many B2B marketplaces, but 60 percent indicate that they have used the Azure marketplace. AWS marketplace and Google (News - Alert) Cloud marketplace take second and third spots with 51 percent and 42 percent using them, respectively. These three, as well as the other available marketplaces, are already making a difference in a variety of business sectors, but one area where the new platform is truly making an impact is in relation to the cloud, and its adjacent devices and applications.
B2B marketplaces have helped accelerate the already rapid growth and adoption of cloud services and communications: 70 percent of organizations have increased cloud use and 88 percent predict further growth in the next two years. Furthermore, almost half (46 percent) of organizations expect their IT environments to be running fully in the cloud in 2023, up from just 15 percent today.
“B2B marketplaces have helped push the limits of cloud capabilities,” said Nick Heddy, Chief Commerce Officer at Pax8, a global cloud services marketplace designed specifically for MSPs. “The number of cloud services and applications is astronomical, and it has become increasingly difficult to study all the options, select the right ones, and implement new services. Marketplaces help MSPs identify and procure the best solutions for their end customers, which is how Pax8 has grown so dramatically. On the vendor side, it is difficult to stand out on large cloud marketplaces, so another advantage of a curated marketplace offering vetted solutions is reduction of the noise MSPs experience.”
Heddy said another advantage of curated cloud B2B marketplaces comes with the reduction of friction in the procurement, provisioning, and billing of services.
“Even when an MSP selects a service from the ocean of options on generic marketplaces, it is not always easy to push them to their customers' environments,” he said. “MSPs are benefitting from automation and workflow APIs on marketplaces that go beyond just selling licenses to a richer offering that simplifies the process, allowing them to bring immediate value to their customers, simply adding new services as they make sense. This improves time to market and time to revenue .”
The growth of B2B marketplaces, as well as concurrent growth of cloud technology, has presented a new opportunity to the MSP sector. B2B marketplaces, such as Pax8, feature a standardized user interface and easy-to-use seller portal, where a business can load their information and product to get their online business up and running.
Furthermore, B2Bs allow MSPs to display their products in different languages and integrate translation tools or services to the platform. In this way, wholesalers, manufacturers, and MSPs have the ease to access a wider range of audiences and develop new contacts all over the world, without the need for becoming an expert in cross-border trade themselves.
This gives MSPs a place to expand their customer base and reach out to SMBs that may have gone unnoticed, which is essential for both MSPs and SMBs in today’s digital climate.
For example, MSPs can make it easy for users to scale up or down when necessary, thanks to the ability to add new technology that seamlessly integrates with a user’s operations. MSPs can respond to changes in demand in real time, so businesses never have to worry about system downtime.
When it comes to data and analytics, companies are no longer just storing all their data and reporting from only small sections of that data. Advanced MSPs can help businesses understand what data they should be reporting and also advise on the best technology to do so.
While the opportunities that B2B marketplaces present are vast, the competition is quickly getting fierce as more parts of the globe shift to technology driven business. As the world continues to become increasingly digital, cloud technology, as well as other technologies, will continue to grow and innovate via B2B marketplaces, making them enticing options for companies on both sides going into the digital age. This makes B2B marketplaces an opportunity MSPs can’t afford to miss.
Edited by Erik Linask