How B2B marketplaces are transforming the procurement function

An e-commerce expert predicts that digital purchasing from business e-commerce marketplaces will increase buying opportunities…...

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An e-commerce expert predicts that digital purchasing from business e-commerce marketplaces will increase buying opportunities for procurement professionals, diversify their roles, and achieve impressive time and cost reductions. In an interview for Business Leader, Dave Brittain, Senior Manager, Amazon Business UK, notes that there has been a surge in digitally-savvy millennials occupying procurement roles. A recent study by Merit found that three-quarters of employees involved in procurement decision-making in their companies are aged between 20 and 35 years. This generation, having grown up in the digital era, sees the rise of shopping apps, instantaneous online product reviews, and digital comment functions as normal, and are bringing their B2C customer experience into the B2B world of procurement.

Brittain observes that these young professionals are ‘innately drawn’ to B2B online marketplaces where they are adept at questioning processes that cost money and time and pursuing innovative digital transformation. The digital B2B marketplaces, Brittain says, cut the time needed for researching products, choosing suppliers and drawing up invoices, allowing procurement pros who use them to free more time to concentrate on other potentially vital areas of the business.

Furthermore, the B2B marketplace offers a surplus of choice about international products, removing language barriers in the process. Many offer automated product translations so that shopping in Spain or Italy is no problem for an English-speaking procurement pro based in Cheshire or Surrey. Millions of products from several countries are available to procurement pros using B2B marketplaces, all securable at the click of a button. As Brittain puts it: “This means they’re getting a wider selection, faster deliveries and more competitive prices than they might from traditional suppliers.”

A beneficial side-effect of the enhanced efficiency of B2B marketplaces, notes Brittain, is the increased time they free for procurement pros to fulfil other crucial tasks and potentially evolve into different areas of the business, so that procurement managers of the future will fulfil roles of data scientist, intermediary and consultant too.

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