The pandemic has forged new business opportunities as well as challenges, leading to rapid growth in new venues for B2B ecommerce.
One example is ShapeConnect, a Chicago-based online marketplace for business services. Founded in November 2019, ShapeConnect’s activity surged the following year as buyers and sellers of services found new value in connecting online for services ranging from accounting and tax preparation to web design and marketing, CEO and co-founder Brian Zielinski says.
ShapeConnect, which is privately owned and self-funded, grew by more than 800% between 2020 and 2021, Zielinski says, as its base of 3,000 business users increased their online buying and selling of services during the pandemic.
Tom Parker, a partner with Itasca, Illinois-based accounting firm Fates, Bodily & Parker, says exposure on ShapeConnect helped his firm grow between 25% and 30% in 2021 over 2020. “They also connected us with vendors who manage our social media and website development, and helped us develop our CRM and Hubspot referral network,” he says.
Zielisnki projects the value of gross transaction volume on ShapeConnect is on course to reach $1 million per month within two years. ShapeConnect earns its revenue by charging sellers a commission of 15% or less based on transaction volume.
“Suddenly, marketplaces are everywhere in B2B,” says Alex Moazed, CEO of Applico Inc., a digital business advisory firm. “And B2B customers are clear they want the experience” of broad choice among suppliers and products.
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