Home > B2B e-commerce 2.0, Sales > How everyday moments inspire business model innovation?

How everyday moments inspire business model innovation?


When thinking about business model innovation, I see interesting examples in my day-to-day life. Last month when we picked up our daughter from day care, we were reminded about her upcoming photo session. So we dressed her up in her favorite pink dress the next day and went on the day as usual. But after a week, to our surprise, our daughter came home with 10 different professional photos in various sizes. Along with the options, the package had several pricing options from $25 to $200.

When I reflected on this experience, I realized even in this everyday moment, there was a smart b2B2C business model behind it; the photo studio (a small business) is partnering with a number of day cares (a big Business) in the local area to reach new customers and offering various options to meet different price points for consumers.

Though this appears obvious, there are three simple, but important takeaways:

  1. Don’t wait for customers to come to you
    Go where the customers gather! The studio did this by going to the day care where they can find the perfect audience – parents and children.
  2. Build emotional connection
    The studio found a way to build on the emotional connection between parents and children and deliver a product offering for this target audience. Similarly, every business must find a way to build emotional connection with the brand because emotions and relationships are equally important as the intrinsic value of the product.
  3. Make it easy to transact
    This entire experience with day care and studio was seamless to us. We didn’t have to arrange a photo shoot with the studio, transport the child or deal with a separate bill. In fact, we did not have to interact with the studio and the day care included the charges in our monthly bill. As a parent, there a few moments that is as seamless as this photo session.

For B2B companies, these takeaways would translate to 1) automating sales operation processes for seamless interaction with other businesses 2) buyer-centric marketing to build emotional connection and 3) delivering a rich experience to become easy to do business with – the three elements of Next-generation B2B e-commerce.

A relatable example from the retail industry is JCWhitney.com selling automotive parts through marketplace at Sears.com. According to the Internet Retailer,

“Last September Whitney began supplying Sears.com with more than 130,000 items for its parts and accessories inventory for cars, trucks, motorcycles and other vehicles. Sears will process all transactions, but order fulfillment and customer service will be the responsibility of individual retailers.”

So now, for example, you can buy a Rotor for 1985 Ford Ranger from Sears.com which is typically sold in auto parts stores like JC Whitney and others.

Enabling your business model innovation
In today’s increasingly complex environment, business model innovation can be critical to organizational success. For strategies and practical guidance on business model innovation refer to the IBM Institute for Business Value study “Seizing the advantage: When and how to innovate your business model”. IBM WebSphere Commerce solution helps B2B companies to execute a variety of business models including B2B direct, Value chain, and Partner hosting. Examples include Wasserstrom selling directly to both businesses and consumers and Mazda selling through dealers using the value chain business model.

Note: The above posting is my own and don’t necessarily represent positions, strategies or opinions of IBM or other companies

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  1. September 17, 2010 at 8:14 am

    Great post!!! Very informative and helpful to people like us. Thanks for sharing this post for everyone. I will share this link to my other friends.

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