• UK’s first specialist marketplace for business IT launched

Technology company Probrand has officially launched a marketplace which is set to revolutionise the way B2B buyers procure IT, saving them time and money.

The Probrand Marketplace, which is freely available to all business users, openly connects buyers with more than 2,500 brands, from distributors and vendors, in a ‘live’ and transparent environment – where the stock levels and prices on more than 300,000 products and services are updated by the minute.

This new online platform, which also includes Cloud, managed IT and digital services, has been developed in response to demand for consumer style purchasing in the business world. IT market research has also signalled a need for change with buyers and suppliers frustrated by old and inefficient manual processes which waste time and money.  

The Probrand Marketplace automatically provides users with price comparison across suppliers, transparency over personalised and special bid discounts and business functionality that makes purchasing easy. Sector and technical people are also on-hand to help when needed.  

Uniquely, where buyers are faced with a wide range of complicated choices, customers can also use simple self-service tools to ‘Configure, Price and Quote’ so they get relevant products or services quickly.  

Probrand can deliver these apps for suppliers looking to offer products or utility priced services more efficiently as part of its digital services portfolio.  

Users also have the ability to configure their own marketplace, integrate systems, build out process automation and add catalogues outside of IT to improve procurement governance and control.

Probrand supply chain director, Ian Nethercot said: ‘‘B2B IT purchasing can be a deeply frustrating experience for buyers who, in addition to interruptive sales calls, are wasting time and money navigating a complex market where prices and stock levels are constantly fluctuating.

“The Probrand Marketplace removes these hassles by merging the benefits of an online marketplace with the power of self-service tools and specialist people when help is needed.  Buyers quickly get the value they deserve. Suppliers can unlock new opportunities.”

Nethercot continues; “We have already seen growth in sales of products and services, plus demand for marketplace platforms and wider digital services, apps and configurators to support customer transformation, working with our software vendor partner and sister company Mercato Solutions.  

Following a successful soft launch, the marketplace is now open to all B2B buyers.   

Marketplace user Rob Cross, Technical Service Team Leader at Midland Heart housing association, said: “When it comes to researching prices and stock availability, my team now check the Probrand Marketplace daily to ensure we are getting the best available prices.”

Fellow user Claire Wilkinson, Head of Service Delivery at Mears Group, adds: “The Proband Marketplace is like a business version of Amazon but better. The whole admin process is a lot simpler and it enables us to get products to customers much faster.”

While supplier Matt Ruskin, Channel Manager at Lenovo UK and Ireland, said: "The Probrand marketplace delivers efficiency and scale, driving and protecting the channel.  We have already seen the added value it brings.  The business has put digital at its core to deliver value to both sides of the buy-supply community."

Probrand is the first UK VAR to embrace the rise of customer-led marketplaces. It follows the merger of its reseller and managed service businesses in 2017.