International B2B Among Online Marketplaces

The Call

Recent regulations in the EU aimed to simplify cross-border tax calculation and remittance by introducing VAT One Stop Shop (OSS). However, marketplaces like eBay faced logistical challenges as individual sellers are often unprepared for tax compliance and current tax software not always prepared for real-time, accurate calculation during a sale. A leading B2B tax software provider wanted to test the market viability of an OSS solution before spending resources to create it, which is where our B2B background was called upon to help.     

Our Response

We conducted a small set of qualitative interviews targeting a highly specific, hard-to-find audience including Senior Director of Indirect Tax and CFO positions in small to large online marketplaces. 

These 1-on-1 conversations explored current and future tax challenges marketplaces were focused on and relative prioritization of OSS solutions for their sellers. We also structured the interviews and fieldwork schedule to allow client observers to hear real-time discussions, which allowed us to collaborate and pivot both the discussion guide topics and the screening criteria throughout fieldwork. 

New Product Development

 The Celebration

We identified a clear need for OSS solutions among small- to mid-sized marketplaces, particularly those expanding into new EU markets, to the degree that this client could make the decision to proceed in developing their OSS solution. In addition to profiling the makeup and organization of tax departments, our work also uncovered several insights that would go on to help this client market their solution, including the perception within many marketplaces that they are tech company at heart, which leads to software engineers having a seat at the table for tax software decisions. Further insights about competitive tax engines’ shortfalls allowed this client to fine-tune an OSS offering that addressed multiple needs and led to an impressively successful product launch.   

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