Pricing for Retail E-Procurement can be interesting!

July 27th, 2010

When you review using retail e-procurement tools you may not always get what you pay for. In fact you are probably paying way to much.

In other words, there are too many companies that have been at this for a long time whose pricing is way too high in the retail marketplace for what they provide.

I was speaking to a large retailer recently that has an unlimited use tool in place from a very large player in the e-procurement space. I asked what type of savings they were able to achieve and how many people they had assigned to handle events, supplier communication, hosting support etc. These are all of the normal questions.

After we had discussed at least 20 different categories, it occurred to the both of us that the savings from our events were at least a third higher than the savings from the use of the unlimited tool.  Even if you added in our fees, the savings were still substantially higher on event by event basis with SafeSourcing. There are a number of reasons for this. One is that to many times when retailers deploy a solution internally or as a SaaS offering they default back to their old way of doing business with a new tool once the solutions provider has left. Supplier research is limited, the number of participants is less, training is inadequate and the result is lower savings. There are also proprietary benefits to the SafeSourcing solution that I won’t share.

Another way that retailers over pay, is when an older company comes in and matches the lower cost of doing business with a newer and better provider in order to win the business. This model will not last because many of these older companies are not structured in such a way that will allow them to absorb these lower fees profitably on an ongoing basis. Over time your price will continue to rise. In fact next year, your price should go down if you are running the same event again. Hasn’t most of the work already been done in the past?

Some good questions to ask your prospective solutions provider would be the following.

1. How many events per month can one of associate host?
2. What are you doing to automate your solution to take out cost?
3. Will we pay the same in year two as we paid in year one for identical events?
4. Is your cost higher because of your investment in brick and mortar locations?
5. Is your cost higher because of your headcount required to run events?
6. What are your average savings for events over $100K?
7. What are your average savings for events under $100K?

There are certainly more questions but you get the idea. Be careful out there.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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