Women have increasingly been leading the charge in B2C ecommerce, especially in retail. But in B2B, there is still a significant underrepresentation of women in the development of ecommerce products. We’re trying to change that.
In our newest series, Women Who Build in B2B Ecommerce, Balance will be putting a spotlight on the incredible women that are among the small crowd daring to digitalize where no one else has.
Meet Lindy Singer
B2B marketplaces are not only here to stay - they’re growing at a massive pace. And it makes sense why. They are uniquely built for vertical-specific needs, with major manufacturers and distributors playing a prominent role in their rapid expansion.
But, the reason marketplace adoption and growth is only taking off now is thanks to a new wave of tools and platforms, like Nautical Commerce, dedicated to this space. Lindy Singer, Head of Marketing at Nautical, shares her perspective on the unique challenge and opportunity of bringing the B2B marketplace model to market.
What led you to want to head up marketing at Nautical? What excites you about working there?
I met Ryan Lee (Nautical Founder & CEO) while I was leading marketing and he was CPO at a payments startup called Modo. While at Modo, we were in conversations with some of the largest companies in the world, and over and over again we saw them attempting to build company-owned marketplaces.
Sometimes 20+ systems were being combined to augment their core businesses with a marketplace. We were able to see all of the elements involved in the build — the commerce, the fintech, and the logistics requirements — and where the marketplace infrastructure was falling short.
That’s when Ryan decided to build the complete multi-vendor marketplace platform, Nautical Commerce.
When Ryan called me about a year later to tell me about Nautical and what the company was building, I was intrigued.
I had seen this problem firsthand and understood the gap in the market.
I joined Nautical in 2021 and it’s been a wild ride ever since. As a team, we are working off an incredible amount of conviction around our product and mission to democratize access to marketplace technology. Plug: we are hiring for our team!
What is it like to run marketing programs in such a new space like B2B marketplaces? What's unique and what’s challenging?
There is a lot of testing and learning with our go-to-market strategy. We are educating players in the B2B space about the marketplace model and sharing how we’ve seen B2B businesses leverage company-owned marketplaces to their benefit.
Many businesses in the B2B space have a tried and true way of doing business, and it can be a challenge to disrupt what has been working for them for so many years. That is why Nautical takes an enablement approach to launching a marketplace and not a disruptive approach.
One unique challenge is connecting with the owner of the B2B marketplace strategy. Because it is a newer concept for many businesses, there is not one set job title or role that is leading the marketplace initiatives. Additionally, leveraging the marketplace model requires buy-in from finance, supply chain, operations, and ecommerce teams. You cannot build a successful marketplace without a holistic view of your business across all functions touching commerce, fintech, and logistics.
What about the B2B marketplace space do you find most interesting?
There are so many unique marketplaces being built in B2B. You have players from all over B2B figuring out ways to leverage the model to grow revenues or disrupt traditionally analog businesses. This creates an interesting mix of monolith B2B manufacturers and distributors, like Honeywell, creating marketplaces alongside startup businesses, like Convoy. The B2B marketplace opportunity is open to all types of businesses if they are ready to harness the power of network and flywheel effects inside their company.
Additionally, many B2B businesses are trying to figure out their ecommerce strategy right now. Instead of building on another single-vendor ecommerce platform, they should be looking to the future which is solidly multi-vendor and planning their online infrastructure for cross-selling and collaborative commerce.
What do you think the B2B marketplace landscape will look like in a few years from now?
I think marketplaces are a great enabler for B2B. Distributors and brokers are already running the marketplace model — just with emails and phone calls instead of self-service technology.
The procurement space is ripe for internal marketplaces.
Manufacturers can offer products directly to customers and complement their offerings with third party goods on their site. Managed marketplaces are streamlining entire industries.
Commerce is becoming more connected, and the impact of B2B marketplaces cannot be underestimated. I believe there will be companies left behind because they did not take a stance on whether to utilize the B2B marketplace model instead of their business, and others who will see incredible growth in the next few years because they did embrace marketplace technology.
Stay tuned for more Women Who Build in B2B Ecommerce spotlights to hear from the influencers driving digital commerce forward.