Marketplace business models

Open Your B2B Marketplace Like Alibaba

Why a B2B Marketplace is a Great Business

So, you’re about to launch a B2B online marketplace. The B2B business model has great potential because the competition in many niches hasn’t become strong yet. A forecast shows a good, stable growth of the B2B industry in the upcoming years. You can see it by tracking statistics of the popular B2B marketplaces.

For example, in Q3 2018 Alibaba reported a massive 56% year-over-year growth in net revenue to $12.3 billion. The eCommerce B2B giant has been reporting strong year-over-year growth in revenues across segments over the last few years.

Another big B2B player from India, IndiaMart, earned net revenue of $60 million in 2017. They currently work with 5 million small and mid-size businesses, offer 60 million products to 55 million buyers. The head of IndiaMart Dinesh Agarwal said that the marketplace traffic was tripled during the last few years. And this is just the beginning—by 2020, IndiaMart is projected to earn net revenue of $328 million.

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Physical and Digital Products

82% of B2B customers would buy again from the same supplier because of that supplier’s wide range of products. 84% of B2B buyers would buy again from the same supplier because of consistently low prices. That’s exactly what a B2B marketplace offers: a wide range and lower prices. Plus, it is convenient for businesses to buy everything in one place—no need to search for suppliers, call them, arrange meetings, and so on.

You can divide physical products into two big categories: non-food goods and food. Non-food products for businesses such as office supplies, equipment, and other have been being successfully sold online for quite a long time already. But shopping for food supplies online is becoming more and more popular now: forecasts predict that online grocery sales will reach 20% of all grocery sales by 2025 and will count $100 billion.

When selling digital products, entrepreneurs save a huge amount of money on warehouses and delivery. On a B2B marketplace, they can sell digital goods worldwide and items will never run out of stock. Digital products don’t need to be transported and stored in special conditions. These are advantages that will attract online entrepreneurs to your digital product B2B marketplace.


B2B services are another promising scenario for your B2B online marketplace. There are already a number of big successful B2B service platforms for consulting and marketing. BizVibe is one of them—it’s like Alibaba but only for connecting businesses worldwide. The platform has 7.5 million registered businesses and the number grows year-by-year. It’s the right time to create your own service marketplace for local or worldwide businesses.


On your B2B marketplace, you can rent out space to businesses: office space, warehouses, and so on. Let’s take a look at a coworking space, for example. According to one of the world’s leading B2B space rental marketplaces LiquidSpace, since 2010 coworking has been growing at a rate of 23% per year. If that rate continues, there will be nearly 100 million square feet of coworking space in the US by 2020.

If this growth keeps its pace, the number of people coworking in the US will surpass 1 million by 2022. If you look at the Statista reports, you’ll see that there are already over 542,000 people working in the US coworking spaces.

So, it’s a wise move to open your B2B booking marketplace now to get your share.

Why CS-Cart Multi-Vendor is a Good Fit for a B2B Marketplace of Any Scenario

CS-Cart Multi-Vendor is a B2B marketplace platform that has all the functionality you’ll need to start your product, service, or booking B2B marketplace. But not only functionality matters. Here are 4 reasons why you should open your B2B marketplace on CS-Cart Multi-Vendor.

1. Necessary Functions for B2B

CS-Cart Multi-Vendor has over 500 eCommerce functions on board: SEO tools, promotions, reward points, and other marketing tools, functions for vendors, reports and analytics, notifications, and more. We’d like to focus here only on the specific functions for a B2B product, service, and booking marketplaces. CS-Cart Multi-Vendor has them all:

Powerful catalog management
Fill the catalog manually or use a flexible mass product import, configure products by tweaking over 45 product parameters, create an unlimited number of product features, filters, options, product variations, and product categories. Your vendors can do all this as well.
You can attach files to listings so that customers could download them. These could be user manuals for equipment, samples of reports, contracts, forms, and so on.
Bulk product editing
Edit 45 product parameters in bulk for hundreds or thousands of products listed in your marketplace in a few mouse clicks.
Stock control and low stock notifications
Vendors can track product inventory with options to track the exact number of items in stock. They can also change their stock control settings to “Track without options”. Besides, it is possible to disable inventory tracking if a vendor doesn’t need it. To restock in time, vendors receive low stock notifications.
Shipping methods
CS-Cart Multi-Vendor integrates with 8 major shipping carriers with dozens of shipping options for each. You can easily add more shipping methods and functions via third-party add-ons.
70+ payment methods
You’ll be able to offer your customers and vendors the most convenient payment options for them. Multi-Vendor integrates with over 70 payment gateways, and more specific gateways can be added via third-party add-ons.
Downloadable products
Multi-Vendor supports digital product distribution out of the box. Your vendors can upload files to sell, set the availability period and activation mode.
Cross-selling and upselling
These are built-in tools to sell more items at once increasing the average bill. You can display product suggestions on any page of your marketplace.
Common products for vendors
You can forbid vendors from creating new products. Enable them to only use listings created and designed by you. In such listings, vendors can only set their prices and quantity. Of course, you are free to allow your vendors to add their products as well. This function adds a comparison table to a product page. If a product is sold by several vendors, a customer can compare prices and choose the best listing.
Vendor subscription plans
You can create subscription plans for vendors with different conditions and limitations. Apart from commissions, it allows you to take a monthly fee from vendors for listing their products or services in your marketplace. With subscription plans, commissions are pre-set for each plan, and a new vendor just picks the most suitable option.
Checkout by vendor
At checkout, customers can place orders from different vendors separately. For example, a customer can pay for a product from vendor #1 now and pay later for a product from vendor #2. Plus, vendors can create their own payment methods and allow customers to use them at checkout. In this case, the whole payment goes straight to the vendor.
Vendor terms and conditions
Take legal matters into account. Multi-Vendor allows vendors to specify terms and conditions for customers to agree with when buying.
Vendor data pre-moderation
Before a new business can showcase their products or services on your marketplace, you need to make sure they fly under the rules of your marketplace. Check the vendor and their content, and approve (or disapprove) the account.
Vendor micro-store and vendor backend control panel
Every vendor can have their own micro-store with filters, search, pages, and unique design, plus—a separate backend panel to manage their businesses on your marketplace.
Call requests
To simplify the buying process for customers, your vendors can get incoming requests. When a customer clicks the call request button on a product page, a new order with the “Awaiting call” status is created for the vendor.
Customer-to-vendor communication
Connect your customers with vendors so that the latter could answer the customer’s questions about the product or the service. With the Customer-to-Vendor Communication function, customers can send a message to vendors right from the listing.
Comments and reviews
Reviews are crucial for any business that cares about its reputation. Customer reviews help vendors get fair credit and earn a good image in customers’ opinion. Reviews influence vendors’ and thus your income directly. Multi-Vendor offers the feedback and review system with an interactive star rating. Customers can comment and rate vendors, products, categories, and more.
Vendor locations
Vendors can set their locations so that customers could choose the vendor in the desired location. The Vendor locations function allows you to display a map with all the vendors in the chosen location, enable vendor filtering by distance from the customer’s location, show nearby vendors on the marketplace homepage, and more. The Vendor locations function allows customers to easily find products and services near them or in the desired location.
Booking reservation system
On the CS-Cart add-on marketplace, you can get an add-on that enables an advanced booking system on your marketplace. This flexible tool helps to create and manage appointments/reservations online on your Multi-Vendor B2B marketplace.

2. Minimum Viable Product

Launching an online B2B marketplace can cost you thousands of dollars. If you’re not sure that you will 100% succeed with your marketplace project, you won’t be ready to spend that amount of money for sure. We wouldn’t.

As our customers say, CS-Cart Multi-Vendor has a perfect price/functionality ratio, which means you can quickly launch a fully functioning eCommerce marketplace without spending a lot of money. Our Multi-Vendor software is a perfect solution to test MVP.

3. Scalability

So, you’ve tested MVP and looks like your B2B marketplace has great potential (of course it does!). Eventually, it will grow and you will probably need to adapt it to your changing business strategy.

Thanks to open source code and tons of ready-made add-ons, you can scale your Multi-Vendor marketplace vertically, horizontally, or how you need it. CS-Cart Multi-Vendor is very flexible and extremely scalable, which is confirmed by our customers.

4. Support

You won’t be left behind after you buy CS-Cart Multi-Vendor. Our support team of professionals will always be at your disposal at the launch and after it. You will get 90 days of free technical support and you’ll be able to get assistance any time after these initial 90 days. Our support team will help you set up your marketplace, maintain, and upgrade it.

Of course, this is just a small part of all the default functionality that Multi-Vendor can offer for your B2B online marketplace. Request the demo to explore all the functions.

Some Successful B2B Marketplaces Built on CS-Cart Multi-Vendor

Retail is the most popular business model and there are hundreds of awesome marketplaces out there. We picked these three to show you:


DentaCarts is an online B2B marketplace of dental products in Egypt. Saad Saleh, the co-founder, runs DentaCarts with his partner Ahmed Yahia and a full-time team of customer care and sales specialists. Their big goal is to give dentists access to only genuine, innovative dental products.


GetCoffee is an eCommerce portal that connects local coffeehouses with the best coffee suppliers in Poland. Tomasz Kretek, the co-founder of this B2B multi-vendor eCommerce marketplace, says that he personally looks for quality suppliers, contacts them, and invites them to the marketplace. This method guarantees that only reliable suppliers with quality products are present on

Bauma World

Bauma World is a B2B product marketplace selling, renting out, and repairing construction equipment, machinery, commercial vehicles, earth moving equipment, lifting equipment, and port equipment. The marketplace only works for local Bangladesh businesses.

All Market

All Market is a B2B service marketplace that specializes in marketing researches for businesses. This agency connects experts, analysts, and consultants with businesses. Depending on a project, the All Market team picks a specialist who is 100% familiar with the business he or she will analyze.

Thyme Store

Thyme Store is a food B2B marketplace from the UK that connects retailers with brands. On the marketplace, there are currently 112 brands offering natural, organic food to independent retailers, cafes, farm shops, and delis. The Thyme Store team is continuously searching for new brands all over the UK and the number of registered brands increases every month.

Head of Content Marketing at CS-Cart | Website

Yan Anderson is the Head of Content Marketing at CS-Cart with over 10 years of experience in the eCommerce industry. He's passionate about explaining complicated things in simple terms. Yan has expertise in building, running and growing eCommerce marketplaces. He loves to educate people about best practices, new technologies, and trends in the global eCommerce industry.