B2B Manufacturers Use Marketplace to Reap Benefits of Direct Selling Without Channel Conflict

With consumer-driven ecommerce now an expectation, B2B companies are leaning into the online marketplace model to enable new connections with their customers, unlocking untapped value. The B2B online marketplace solves a major challenge for organizations: they’re helping manufacturers, wholesalers, and distributors go direct without creating channel conflict. This enables companies to diversify their portfolio and revenue streams, while eliminating dependencies on third-party marketplaces. The result is not just increased profit, but also a robust customer experience and ease of doing business, that builds loyalty over time. From straightforward repeatable ordering to complex product configuration and pricing, VTEX and PROS deliver a comprehensive B2B marketplace solution. If your business is operating on legacy technology or ready to drive more revenue by implementing a B2B marketplace, then it’s time to consider a best-in-class B2B marketplace for your customers today.

About the Speakers

Mr. Loder has made his profession delivering enterprise business transformation and operational excellence. He has rendered and managed strategic business initiatives and tactical objectives in large and small enterprises. Mr. Loder has a strong background in business value creation and management, including leadership, sales, and consulting around business optimization and value realization. He has lead engagements across a variety of industries including: insurance, retail, media, financial, and pubic sectors. Expertise spans business analytics, process architecture, process design and optimization, change management, culture, and the life-cycle of tying strategy and business requirements to execution to performance measurement. As a member of IBM’s Commerce Channels Leadership team Mr Loder helped create a global ecosystem of more than 1500 business partners, driving more than $100m in sales for IBM, and $500m in associated services for the partners. In this work, he has developed strategy, managed, and executed enabling programs to recruit, enable, and activate channel partners and sellers. Mr. Loder has led a number of efforts focused on profitability, sales, business development and go-to-market strategy across multiple routes-to-market. He is a collaborative consensus builder with a strong ability to connect cause and effect to results.

Thiago Doherty Garcia is an award-winning Customer Experience leader at VTEX. Prior to joining VTEX, Garcia worked at Samsung Electronics America, providing e-commerce strategy to C-level retail partners across the United States. Garcia has led e-commerce for consumer goods giants Newell Brands (NASDAQ:NWL) and Jarden Corporation (NYSE:JAH), as well as multi-million dollar private firms.

Full Transcript

Christopher Loder: Well, welcome everyone. My name is Christopher Loder. I'm a Senior Alliances Director here at PROS, and it is my honor to share with you and introduce you to our business partner, VTEX. We're going to be talking today with Thiago Garcia. And Thiago, it's great to have you here with us at Outperform. Thank you for joining us....

Thiago Garcia: My pleasure, Chris. Thank you for having me. I'm just extremely excited about this opportunity with PROS and also the value that we will bring to our clients. Through this partnership.

Christopher Loder: Yeah, great, you know. You know, VTEX has had a really incredible journey since your inception. Could you just take a couple of moments here as we're introducing ourselves and tell us about your incredible growth, your market adoption and what has made you so successful?

Thiago Garcia: Right on, Chris, so it's been 20 years since two engineers in Brazil decided on a path that would change the face of the digital commerce services industry for an entire region, and 2020 last year was a culmination of that journey. As you know, digital commerce industry observed tremendous growth last year, and it was no different for us. VTEX grew over 50% year over year. We were recognized by Gartner as a visionary and also by IDC as leader in digital commerce, expanded globally, opened new offices in Singapore, in New York City and acquired a work area commerce platform, which was an acquisition that we did in Q1 of this year. And then this past summer, we filed for our initial public offering. We're listed now on the New York Stock Exchange. Our market adoption and growth story has been powered by a product unlike any other. In its core, VTEX was built to solve hard problems of brands and retailers and B2B, B2C and marketplace scenarios. And today we have over 2000 customers in more than 30 countries, and they all share the same multitenant code base architecture and infrastructure, and over $10 billion in GMV crossed our checkout last year alone. We are constantly evolving and adapting the platform to fit our growing client base. And when we improve the platform, everyone benefits from that new feature and functionality.

Christopher Loder: Yeah, Yeah. So I know you said it's been 20 years, but that all sounds like a lot. And I think you've grown incredibly just in your customer base. What has been the secret of your success. Why is your approach to e-commerce and marketplace? Why is that so important to brands and manufacturers? What problems are you solving for them?

Thiago Garcia: What I love about VTEX is this ambition that we have is a core strategy. It's to empower our customers to sell anything from anywhere to anywhere through any channel. And that ambition allows us to build a product that can be leveraged across multiple scenarios and applications. We support a wide array of clients in just about every industry and vertical. You know, you can think of grocery and pharmacy on one end all the way through automotive and health care. And so what we are finding out in branded and manufacturing clients is this needs to accelerate digital commerce across the enterprise to really encompass and address all channels, not just in the traditional B2C digital deployment, but also transforming B2B commerce as we know it. And it all stems from this one observation at which, you know, Chris, customer driven e-commerce is now an expectation. Right? and so to adapt to this new reality, B2B companies are leaning on into the online marketplace model to enable the connections with customers and unlock untapped value.

Christopher Loder: And it's not always easy.

Thiago Garcia: No, no, it's not. So the B2B online marketplace solves this major challenge for organizations. And you know, as you know, through this new business model, VTEX is helping manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors go direct without creating channel conflict. And you know, when you look at our companies that we support like Motorola, AB InBev and Unilever, they are diversifying the portfolio and revenue streams and eliminating dependencies on third party marketplaces. And that's just the beginning. The result is not just increased profit, but also robust customer experience and ease of doing business, and that builds a loyalty over time.

Christopher Loder: I like that you just touched on that ease of doing business. You know, this is core to what PROS brings to the table and solving some fairly complex scenarios that exist within B2B. Tell me about your role of how you view customer experience in this new paradigm and what challenges you're overcoming.

Thiago Garcia: All right. Well, before I get into the customer experience approach, let me take a step back here. So that folks can understand really what has changed in this space and why we have shifted into this new paradigm that is solely focused on customer success. And, you know, to exemplify, I'm going to use the marketplace just to illustrate my point. But, you know, think of it, it can be anything that any business model in digital commerce can be applied in this example. So about 10 years ago, let's just say a marketplace business model used to be a hard problem. It was just really intractable to many businesses. They couldn't just justify strategically or why they should do it. They couldn't really operationalize it or what they should do. Or even tactically, how should they do it? And then, you know, along the way, things began to change. The industry experience shifts. You know we saw the rise of software as a service models and also cloud based services and also consumers. We also witnessed the rise and dominance of marketplaces like ebay, Amazon and Google. I think of Google as a marketplace of information. And so throughout this, this industry, so innovative companies then decided to build that competitive advantage to begin to shift their approach, right? And they began to strategically pilot marketplaces models. And so it became a popular because as a user, regardless whether you are an end consumer or a business customer, you really want three things great choice, convenience and ease of use. So fundamentally, that is why companies want to develop a marketplace strategy. But so in the strategy space, you know, that was one of the ways that you could approach, but technically speaking. Back then, there were no reliable, complete technology solutions available. And so tech stacking the interdependencies caused multiple points of failure. You know, I like to tell the story of when I was running oyster.com in the US back in 2014 for my prior one of my prior companies, Oyster and the number one search term on my website at was microwaves. And the funny story is that oyster microwaves are licensed products. We did not sell them directly. So that was my first.

Christopher Loder: Yeah you're like the blender, guys.

Thiago Garcia: Correct but we did license quite a few products under the Ulster brand, and that was my first step as a marketplace model to build that drop ship with the licensee. And I tell you that it was incredibly hard to setup. We eventually got it to work. It was not pretty. And so fast forward to today, by and large, the industry has solved these problems from a technical standpoint VTEX, for instance, we offer a wide range of marketplace applications out of the box that anyone can use for a variety of ways to accomplish unique and complex applications. Things like white label sellers, franchise accounts, pick up points, dark stores, shipment split shipments, in-store integration. We enable all of those things to happen. But so my point of the story is, is not really today tactical or strategic, a problem that we are facing. The current marketplace hurdle is operational. So going back to the question now, why have we evolved our customer experience because we recognize that our clients have not in many cases operated a digital commerce business model? You know, many of them don’t have experience building and operating a marketplace yet. So this same example could be said to just about any other digital commerce business model. So the key to our success is to help our clients operate their businesses until they are capable of repeatable incremental growth. And at the same time, we leverage our ecosystem partners and folks like PROS to help improve and scale the operational efficiencies of running a digital commerce business. And this approach to customer experience has been quite unique in the industry and extremely beneficial for our clients. What about you, Chris?

Christopher Loder: Well, I think that customer experience is really what's gotten people to grow so much with you and to help with your growth. And I couldn't agree more. One of the things that we see is around the complexity, and I like what you brought up with Oster, because in a B2B world, there's just a little more complexity than the rest of than the rest of the way we exist with marketplaces in a B2C capacity. And this is really where our partnership is so important. It's bringing together two solutions that best serve our customers. And our shared, as I said, our shared mission is really about the ease of doing business a solution, if you will, of simple elegance, something that delivers value to B2B and B2C organizations with complex and sophisticated offerings. Let's take the example of building custom prescription sunglasses, which is actually just complex to say. A brand or manufacturer wishing to reach new customers or to reach existing customers through e-commerce. You know they're going to be executing on a marketplace in today's world. The configurations of style, silhouette, size, fit and color. These are basics. Then when ads all of the attributes of the prescription itself, you add on coatings, tint and you get the idea. There's complexity. Configuring custom to build sunglasses is actually relatively easy relative to the tens or even hundreds of configurations and dependencies in the industrial manufacturing sector. And this is certainly an area where they're trying to get into this space to build efficiencies and suddenly they need technology that can do that. So this elegant solution applies to products, it applies to software, and it actually applies to services, as you said, whatever is being sold to whomever wants to buy it, wherever they want to buy it. And before recently driving or delivering a complex set of offerings on a marketplace platform, you know, it was next to impossible. So where the VTEX commerce e-commerce platform and PROS Configure Price Quote come together, is it provides a seamless interface for each one of these transactions. It's a powerful commerce solution which addresses this complexity at scale. It allows buyers to navigate their online store, and it seamlessly self-serve the right product combinations that they need. And it creates really this ultimate B2B personalization engine. And that's something actually one of your colleagues at VTEX shared. And I thought, that's really it. And that's the essence of simplicity. The ultimate personalization. So our joint solution is executed in the technology without the swivel chair, and it provides an extraordinary experience for our customers and our clients. It's delivered on the cloud. Both of our organizations are fully committed to cloud, and it's engineered with the right management tools in the back end to make it easy and efficient for the product manager, for the merchant and for the IT team who supports them. And Thiago is there, is there anything else you'd like to share today?

Thiago Garcia: I'm just excited about the possibility of us working together and enabling these amazing solutions for our customers. So sky's the limit.

Christopher Loder: Absolutely and thank you very, very much for your time here today. We'll look forward to engaging with you, our customers, either neutral, VTEX or PROS. Together, we have a very powerful solution and we look forward to working with you. Thank you.

Thiago Garcia: Thanks for having me.

Previous Article
The Art of Building an Effective Strategy with Rebate Programs
The Art of Building an Effective Strategy with Rebate Programs

Are you seeing rebates as a burden and not an opportunity? Learn how PROS and Enable integrate to provide a...

Next Article
Competitive Pricing Strategy: Benefits and Disadvantages
Competitive Pricing Strategy: Benefits and Disadvantages

A competitive pricing strategy sets product prices relative to the competition. Learn about competitive pri...