E-Commerce Times Talkback
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Just over a year ago, B2B e-commerce was all the rage. As it turned out, moving the
buyer-supplier relationship onto the Web was not as easy as it initially seemed. But just
because B2B fell short of the hype does not mean it is dead. "It seems like it failed now,
but a lot of innovation is happening today behind the scenes," GartnerG2 analyst Gale
Daikoku told the E-Commerce Times.
B2B went bust because exchanges had no liquidity, i.e., no participation. There was no participation because there was no utility. When there is vertical integration of data to the retail end, to the smaller shops, there will be great utility.
If I run a retail shop selling, e.g., carpet, there will be utility in examining catalogs online, purchasing online, receiving ship notices and order confirmations online, and integrating that data with accounts receivable, inventory, etc. automatically, that will be utility.
A fundamental mistake impeding the uptake of B2B is the attempt by technology providers to re-invent traditional relationships.
The engine of a car is at the front because that is where the horses once stood and it is where the user wants it to be, not because it is the best place for the engine.
Traditionally suppliers have managed the process of preparing, pricing and distributing catalogues or other marketing material. Technology attempted to move that responsibility to buyers. Neither buyers nor suppliers like the change. Buyers do not want the additional workload and suppliers want to be able to market their products.
If technology enabled the traditional roles instead of reinventing them, B2B could explode in a much shorter time frame.
The problem with B2B is that the buyers and sellers want two different systems. Who do you charge? The sellers are always trying to make the buyers happy, What system is compatible with the buyer's current system? If you create the buyer's side, than the sellers have multiple different systems to buy into. The large retailers or buyers have and always will make the buyer do what they want. B2B will be successful when the two groups decide that they are on the same side, to get products to the consumer as fast as possible. The other major breakthrough that will happen is when the B2Bs are compatible with one another. Than there will be no choice but to help each other in the supply chain.
I think that all the points of view of this story are obvious, this guy is repeating the same history that he had heard before, it is not original.
Almost all these consultant guys are like parrots, one day, one of them said something interesting and the rest of them repeated the same phrase until the end of the world.
And the price for hearing the opinion of these people is 1000$ per hour.
The use of the internet for transactions was ahead of its generation. As decision makers are replaced with the generation that grew up with the internet in everyday life, then all areas will improve. There are still very traditional people running the supplier/manufacturing corporations. Once the internet generation replaces them in 5-10 years, the mental barrier inevitably will be removed.
You all just don't get it! E-commerce is just another tactic at a 'snail-mail based'
catalog revenue model. Nothing is being invented here, with the exception of software.
The way of conducting business is exactly the same. The customer peruses a product offering,
selects some merchandise, pays for it, and then it is shipped (and possibly returned).
The catalogers have been doing that since the mail was invented. Big Deal!
There are only two winners to e-commerce (as it is currently defined) where product can
be shipped electronically and where the product is truly unique and not easily obtainable.
Porn, data, and that wonderful sauce only made in Poughkeepsie all apply. The rest of you
guys call JC Penney and find out how they do it.
P.S. I don't consider eBay e-commerce. They are only providing a platform, they are not
moving product themselves.
Where is the Bone?
B2B companies have been changing their Vision of what B2B should be and have confused the corporates. I do not blame the B2B companies, they had to make short-term profits and hence they did it.
For any company, show them the bone or opportunity, then all things like technology, standards, etc. fall in place.
If eBay could successfully run a marketplace in B2C2C space, making all its stakeholders happy, I am sure there are many B2B marketplaces like Ariba or C1 who are making their stakeholders happy, but the problem is that there are too many of them in the B2B space hence....none of them are happy