Insight & Analysis

In the market for growth

Published: May 2023

Banks look to partnerships to exploit growing importance of B2B marketplaces.

According to the most recent McKinsey global B2B Pulse survey, e-commerce has taken the lead as the most effective sales channel, ahead of in-person sales, video conferences and email. Successful corporates are not only using digital self-serve channels such as their own websites, but also broader e-commerce offerings such as industry-specific marketplaces.

The survey found that adoption of company-owned marketplaces increased by 8% last year, while 40% of the most successful enterprises are selling their products online through third-party marketplaces.

Colgate’s ColgatePro is just one example of a multinational corporation recognising the importance of B2B marketplaces. Starting in Brazil and later rolled out to other markets, the company decided digital commerce was the most effective way to reach regions its consultants didn’t cover and launched a marketplace specifically for dentists.

The marketplace layer integrates the distributor’s products to the website, enabling the company to scale its operation without additional logistics and fulfilment costs while giving distributors access to a new online sales channel.

“We believe that the continued focus on product customisation adds a lot of value to our customers,” says Danilo Turbiani, e-Commerce Director at Colgate-Palmolive Brazil.

Another example is L’Oréal’s SalonCentric marketplace, one of the largest B2B ecommerce platforms in the professional beauty industry, which won a Highly Commended award at the 2022 Adam Smith Awards for Best Transaction Management Solution.

In this context it is hardly surprising the major banks are looking for a slice of the action. In April, Société Générale announced a partnership with payment services provider Lemonway to deliver payment services to large corporates in Western Europe launching B2B marketplaces.

Alexandre Maymat, Head of Global Transaction and Payment Services at Société Générale says the partnership will enable it to support its clients in their digital transformation and offer payment services in line with the specific needs of large corporates for their B2B marketplaces.

Citi’s partnerships for digital payments acceptance cover payment gateway services, payment network and scheme access, acceptance services for cards or other payment methods, and fraud risk management explains Biswarup Chatterjee, Global Head of Partnerships and Innovation at Citi Treasury and Trade Solutions.

“Relationships with Global Payments, PPRO, MasterCard and Fiserv together with Spring by Citi allow us to service clients in dozens of countries worldwide,” he says. “These efforts are part of our broader strategy to invest in existing and potential fintech partners who can augment our solutions.”

According to Chatterjee, financial Institutions will continue to play essential roles in the evolution of B2B marketplaces. “This is especially true as significant flows move into the digital commerce space through marketplaces,” he says. “At this juncture, marketplaces will act as points of aggregation for information and money movements and financing.”

Deutsche Bank partners with various financial technology providers for payment acceptance, including Fiserv and Better Payment.

Marketplaces now account for the majority of online sales, creating an opportunity for financial institutions to make a significant impact by helping to ensure quick and seamless payments and leveraging the data gathered to better understand and meet current and future client needs says Matt Sielecki, Co-Head Merchant Solutions Americas at Deutsche Bank.

“We believe that B2B marketplace and industry ecosystems are the next step in digital disruption for the financial services sector,” says Sielecki.

David Rego, Head of Payments Products, Transaction Banking at Standard Chartered, explains his bank’s B2B marketplace strategy is to offer an array of proprietary and fintech partner solutions to corporates who have or want to set up B2B marketplaces, with the ability to deliver customised, curated solutions depending on the client’s needs.

“Payments are a critical component of building a marketplace and from what we have heard, one of the hardest elements to get right,” says Helena Forest, Head of Product, EMEA Marketplace Solutions at J.P. Morgan Payments.

“There are a variety of touchpoints in a B2B marketplace that companies need to be mindful of – from billing to disbursements to accepting payments – but there is also lots of opportunity to leverage payments as a way to drive new revenue opportunities or help differentiate in a crowded market.”

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