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Marketplaces 2019

B2B Ecommerce Strategies for Amazon, Alibaba and Others

About This Report
To explore new online sales channels, B2B sellers are looking to marketplaces like Amazon, Alibaba and others. This report will cover how and why B2B sellers use marketplaces and how these platforms are transforming B2B ecommerce.
Table of Contents

Executive Summary

As business-to-business (B2B) ecommerce grows, sellers must decide how marketplaces fit into their digital sales approach. While high traffic and demand can expose B2B suppliers to new audiences and opportunities, marketplaces can also be a competitive threat without the right strategy.

What is a B2B marketplace?

A marketplace is an ecommerce platform that lets third parties sell directly to customers. Unlike a distributor, marketplaces don’t own inventory. B2B marketplaces facilitate complex transactions for business buying needs like wholesale, bulk orders, invoicing, order approvals and more.

How do I decide which marketplace to work with?

When starting to build or assess a current marketplace strategy, B2Bs need to understand the different options. Amazon, Alibaba and Thomas are the three biggest with wide assortments across commodity and custom goods. Niche marketplaces for specific industries—healthcare, auto parts, office supplies, building materials, food, industrial machines, entertainment and real estate—are also available. Products sold, target audience and price point are factors impacting which marketplace is best for your company.

How do I open an Amazon Business account?

Amazon Business and other marketplaces are actively courting new sellers to diversify supply. Amazon Business offers a self-service option for business sellers, Seller Central. And Alibaba has an accounts team to help onboard new sellers in the US.

What are the best practices for developing a marketplace strategy?

Marketplaces are a good testing ground to begin selling online or supplement a direct website. Understanding margins is essential for profitability. Product content is also a strong marketing tool, which must be accurate and optimized for search. Conflict between other sales channels should be avoided.

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? In an effort to expand their online sales channels, B2B sellers look to marketplaces like Amazon, Alibaba and more. This report will explore how and why sellers use marketplaces and how these platforms are innovating.

KEY STAT: Amazon Business is the top B2B marketplace, according to June 2018 findings from B2BecNews. Roughly eight in 10 US B2B buyers used Amazon to research and buy B2B products.

Here’s what’s in the full report


Exportable files for easy reading, analysis and sharing.


Reliable data in simple displays for presentations and quick decision making.

22expert perspectives

Insights from industry and company leaders.

Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. B2B Ecommerce in 2019
  3. Marketplaces as a Digital Sales Channel
  4. Marketplace Deep Dive
  1. Seven Best Practices for Devising Your Marketplace Strategy
  2. Key Takeaways
  3. eMarketer Interviews
  4. Read Next
  1. Sources
  2. Media Gallery

Interviewed for This Report

Melissa Burdick
Interviewed June 24, 2019
Joe Caldwell
SIM Supply
Ecommerce Manager
Interviewed June 25, 2019
John Caplan
Alibaba Group
President, North America B2B
Interviewed July 16, 2019
Bill Cate
Zebra Technologies Corporation
Vice President, Global Channels and Marketing
Interviewed June 24, 2019
Chip Devine
Ferguson Enterprises
Senior Vice President, Ecommerce and Omnichannel Business
Interviewed June 21, 2019
Michael Eichinger
Bay Fastening Systems
Interviewed June 10, 2019
Kris Goldhair
Strategic Account Director
Interviewed June 27, 2019
Rob Green
Amazon Business
General Manager, Business Development
Interviewed June 20, 2019
Robin Kamen
Senior Consultant
Interviewed June 27, 2019
Natalie Malaszenko
Office Depot
Senior Vice President, Ecommerce
Interviewed July 2, 2019
Robin Mallein
Exapro and Kitmondo
Head of Digital
Interviewed June 28, 2019
Will Margaritis
Sellwin Consulting, a Dentsu Aegis Network Company
Senior Vice President, Ecommerce and Digital Marketing
Interviewed June 7, 2019
Max Rhodes
Co-Founder and CEO
Interviewed June 24, 2019
Kristin Savilia
Interviewed June 17, 2019
Mike Shapaker
Channel Advisor
Interviewed June 18, 2019
Peter Sheldon
Magento, an Adobe Company
Senior Director, Strategy
Interviewed June 7, 2019
Chase Twomey
Interviewed July 2, 2019
Tony Uphoff
President and CEO
Interviewed June 20, 2019
Julie Weitzner
Sellwin Consulting, a Dentsu Aegis Network Company
Executive Vice President
Interviewed June 11, 2019
Deirdre Walsh
Silicon Labs
Director, Marketing
Interviewed June 19, 2019
Jason Woosley
Vice President, Commerce Product and Platform, Experience Business
Interviewed June 19, 2019
Mike Zaruba
Luminos Labs
Business Development Director
Interviewed June 7, 2019


Jillian Ryan


Blake Droesch
Junior Analyst
Lauren Fisher
Principal Analyst
Andrew Lipsman
Principal Analyst
Nicole Perrin
Principal Analyst
Melissa Rosenberg
Senior Researcher
Amy Rotondo
Research Manager, US
Peter Vahle
Forecasting Analyst
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