Business to Business (B2B) websites and marketplaces are having a major impact on many industries, including ours.  In 2018, there was an increase in sales of 11%, bringing the total to a staggering $1,082 trillion.

Earlier this year I wrote about the growing popularity of the wholesale marketplace Faire, a B2B site through which retailers can order a variety of products from different vendors.  Now there is yet another player in the B2B field: Tundra, whose motto is “wholesale without the hassle.”  In June the company’s owners, Arnold and Katie Engel, procured $12 million in venture capital funding to create their zero-commission marketplace.  According the Techcrunch, Tundra hopes to “eliminate both the time-consuming and tedious process of negotiating deals at trade shows as well as the cost of simply buying and selling wholesale products online. And, importantly, Tundra has a zero-fee model, which means that buyers and suppliers can operate on the platform without spending a penny if they so choose.”

Arnold Engel states that the company is intended to level the playing field between big box retailers and independents. Instead of taking a commission on the transactions on their platform, they make money “by providing optional services that enhance the buying and selling experience: promotion, advanced supplier tools and support.”

How does Tundra work?  There are currently over 2,000 U.S. and Canadian brands on the site, and like Faire, part of the appeal is that stores can qualify to make purchases from any of them with favorable Net 60 terms. Shipping is done by the vendors, and while there is a message at the top of their site that indicates “free shipping worldwide,” that turns out to be only on products with a blue truck icon. The site promises shipping to commercial addresses in over 100 countries – the owners’ background is in logistics – and the cost of shipping is calculated before ordering from companies not offering free freight.  

It’s easy to search the Tundra site, and you can follow certain hashtags (such as #babygifts) for future ideas.  There are also reviews on the site from other buyers, a popular feature on consumer sites.  Many of the vendors are very small – some of them undoubtedly companies that used to sell on the Etsy Wholesale marketplace that was discontinued last year.  Tundra and Faire are a good way to find handmade items or local makers.

But larger vendors on these B2B sites are only offering a select group of products from their line – so  you might want to place a sample order, and then find out who your sales rep is so that you can see the full line when you are ready to reorder.  While wholesale marketplaces are finding their niche, they will never replace trade shows and sales agencies in offering in-depth product knowledge and presentation.

Happy Retailing,

Carol “Orange” Schroeder

PS I am not in endorsing this platform, or any other, but if you want to give Tundra a try you can use this link for $50 off your first purchase (I will also get a small credit).  The company approached me with this offer after this blog was posted, and I thought it was worth passing along.