The concept of an eMarketplace has been around for quite a while now and while there have been some great successes, there have also been some projects which don’t seem to have realised the full benefits from the introduction of an eMarketplace, even when the potential savings have been fairly compelling.
In this blog, we explore areas that you would need to give some thought to when embarking on, or considering, an eMarketplace solution.
An eMarketplace cannot work without Suppliers, so two key questions to ask are:
- What is my Supplier coverage like in my eMarketplace?
- How easy it is to on board new Suppliers onto my eMarketplace?
It’s always good to have different options available for Suppliers, as one size does not always fit all.
Some Suppliers will want, and need, additional support and may even require a managed service; others will simply want to self-serve.
Does the eMarketplace offer benefits to the Supplier community that it serves?
How easy is it to use for the Suppliers?
2. Ease of Use
Your end users want to be able to log in to the eMarketplace and find what they need as quickly as possible. If users can’t find what they need quickly, they will start to resort to Free Text orders or find alternative ways to purchase outside of the eMarketplace – meaning that maverick spend can increase and value gained from the eMarketplace decreases.
An easy to use search facility is a must, but also other features such as the ability to filter by price, pack size, category, supplier etc. will help users navigate quickly to what they need. The ability to easily compare products is also a feature to look out for so you can help users make an informed buying decision.
3. Not everything fits in a catalogue
There are some things that users need to order that just don’t fit well in a traditional catalogue. If your eMarketplace offers you the ability to capture more complex areas of spend, as well as the standard catalogue items, then you can again realise more value.
Service-based ordering is an area that gets attention once the standard ordering via catalogue is under control. Can your eMarketplace offer you an effective solution to capture this and other complex areas of spend?
4. To PunchOut or not to PunchOut?
There are some very good reasons for having PunchOut facilities directly from the eMarketplace. For example, where items are highly configurable (e.g. IT equipment) but there needs to be a balance.
However, where eMarketplaces become a series of PunchOuts, then the ease of use suffers. This is due to the fact that users have to navigate different websites, so the ability to compare across suppliers becomes much more difficult, hence, users tend to go for what they find first rather than looking across all of the suppliers available to them.
Where PunchOuts are required, then having the ability to then add the configured items back into your basket in the eMarketplace does give you an important layer of control.
5. Barriers to Adoption
There are some other barriers to adoption that you need to consider and have a plan for if your eMarketplace is to be a success.
- Culture change – never underestimate the ‘we have always done it that way’ squad. There is always an element of resistance to something new, however, the benefits of the eMarketplace will need to be explained to gain adoption across the board. Will your eMarketplace provider offer training and user adoption support to complement that provided by your own teams?
- Be bold and brave – switch off other means of purchasing and adopt a ‘No Purchase Order, No Pay’ policy. It can seem quite harsh and hard at first but taking a harder line approach (along with making sure you tackle the culture change above) will pay dividends.
Science Warehouse has been supporting customers (and their Suppliers) through their eMarketplace projects for the last 17 years and have a wealth of experience in this area.
Contact us for a free eMarketplace Readiness Assessment.