Quite often when I meet with retailers the question comes up as to what the difference is between a market (retail) exchange and the typical RFI to RFQ process that results in a reverse auction.
Quite honestly this is a fairly complex question so the answer is not simple. To begin with let’s take a look at just what a market (retail) exchange is.
One of the earliest exchanges in the retail space was called the Retail Exchange which was sponsored by some very large retailers and is still available today from a company that bought the system from its retailer sponsors. As simply as possible, a Market (Retail) Exchange is a business to business or B2B E-commerce platform that allows Suppliers, Resellers, and their customers or buyers to offer, purchase and manage their goods and services in a simple and effective way. Typically an organization must be a member of the exchange in order to participate. Once a member the organization can then conduct business with other organizations by establishing on line connections with each other. Typically exchanges are a shared hosting environment and in some cases for very large companies dedicated server implementations. In recent years exchanges have migrated to SaaS or software as a service models in order to address wider markets.
The success of an exchange is based on the number of suppliers or resellers that belong to it and their willingness to participate with a retailer for their business. The activity is more of hands off approach once your offer is posted that can include punch outs to a supplier’s website and catalog services for sourcing of products.
From my perspective I like the personal touch of the historical RFX process in the form of a SaaS full service offering that actively engages new sources of supply and sells them on wanting your business. There is a much smaller investment from both a financial and resource perspective. If you want to learn more about the RFX process please visit SafeSourcing Blog archive or the SafeSourcing Wiki.
If you’d like to learn more about how SafeSourcing can assist you in the complex world of eProcurement, please contact a Safesourcing Customer Services Account Manager.
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