Business to Business (B2B) portals are the most sought after international trading tool in the world. After the dotcom bubble burst the Information Technology industry was in the doldrums. The interest in IT related business showed a downward trend and then emerged B2Bs with its total solution to international trade. B2Bs give the trader the liberty to do business by lowering one’s expenditure.
Prior to B2B portals, there existed an interface in the form of brokers. Brokers helped to weld business relationships with every trader with one another across the world. But some of them evolved as middlemen one cannot do away with in international trade due to various reasons. In such an event, these brokers virtually held international trade to ransom. Consequently, in addition to international trade barriers a trader also had to carry the burden of exorbitant brokering charges. This in turn reflected on the prices of the products or/and services provided by them. The cumulative effect on the prices of the product or/and services made them unattractive in international market.
The combined effect of globalization and B2Bs enabled businesses to interact effectively. B2Bs did not try to eliminate brokers rather made them charge their clients realistically. As a matter of fact, today even brokers utilize the services of the B2Bs, and eventually have reduced cost of finding new clients. The B2Bs enabled the brokers to provide their services to a large number of traders cost effectively. Thus B2Bs virtually became an indispensable trading solution to one and all.
B2Bs success lie in its simplification of the trading needs by spending less time and money. In a glance they may seem like an interactive database of exporters and importers. But the most attractive feature of any popular B2B is the Forums. They provide inputs required for international trade through views and experiences exchanged by various traders from different countries. Such exchanges empower the trader with the knowledge of going about in the new markets. Moreover in the process they de-risk themselves from the dangers of entering new markets through the inputs drawn from those active Forums.
Unfortunately, most of the B2B services are used by Small and Medium Enterprises and surprisingly, B2B portals too are inclined to enlist companies of this category. Interestingly, large businesses can substantially bring down the expenditure they incur on advertisements and new market exploration by availing the services of B2B portals. So far, B2B services have only caught the imagination of young international traders. But those reluctant to utilize the services are traders who find it difficult to break conventions. But it should be remembered that registering in a B2B will not cost much and learning the functions of leading B2Bs are not complicated either.
It goes without saying choosing the right B2B portal or portals is of paramount importance. If one does not take meticulous care in registering, one may turn a detractor of B2Bs. Important things one should look out for are- user friendly features, list of companies related to one’s business, collaboration of the portal with leading organizations for various subsidiary services correlated to B2Bs, contact information with genuine postal address and land line phone number and foolproof payment modes. Hence, B2Bs used in right earnest can become a gold mine for international trade.