A fairer future beckons B2B communities

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The key to making sound decisions when deciding which B2B communities to join is to understand who has ultimate control over the site. This is the message of a recent bulletin* from IDC.

“The challenge for business executives in the coming years will be to participate in sites across the B2B spectrum that encourage cooperation and trading and don’t just provide efficiencies in someone else’s distribution system or supply chain,” said Richard Villars, vice president of IDC Internet and e-commerce strategies research.

Many e-marketplaces and supply chain exchanges lack benefits to the buyers or suppliers on the other end of the connection. Only the largest customers and essential suppliers have any sort of say. Everyone else is forced to play by the host company’s rules… or do business elsewhere.

“These excessively one-sided B2B solutions do not have a bright future,” Villars said. Instead, the future is in sites that function as trading and community centers for all. In addition to supporting order placing and taking, these sites provide businesses throughout the supply chain with community-building services, including information on products and markets, collaboration with other industry players, and payment systems that make it easier for small players to participate.

“These trading communities deliver direct benefits to all participants, not just a chosen few,” Villars said. Buyers using the systems to tighten their supply chain will be willing to trade straight margin for reliability, performance, and predictability. Suppliers looking to retain customers should have cutting-edge customer service on their site, personalization/customization, and community services.

* Know Thy Market Maker: Picking the Right B2B Option for Your Business (IDC #W22830).



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