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What Is Collaborative Commerce?

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Last editedJune 20222 min read

Collaborative commerce (C-commerce) is a term that’s been around for a few years, but it’s not something a lot of business owners are aware of. In fact, collaborative commerce is a subcategory of e-commerce, and it’s a concept worth knowing about, because it could help to strengthen your internal and external relationships and grow your business.

Engaging with collaborative commerce means coming together with your suppliers, distributors, partners, even your competitors, so that you can deliver more value to your customers and achieve your business objectives.

Definition of collaborative commerce

Collaborative commerce refers to the digitally-enabled business interactions within a company between its internal employees, business partners and customers. Collaborative commerce can take place in an industry or industry segment, within the supply chain, or in a segment of the supply chain. It can be used in sourcing products, making transactions, or completing repetitive business processes.

To enable effective collaboration, both parties need to use compatible technology in their distribution and supply chains. This is why collaborative commerce is often referred to as an aspect of supply chain management.

Benefits of collaborative commerce

There are numerous benefits of business collaboration, regardless of a company’s size or industry. By working together to solve problems, companies can achieve goals they would have been unable to reach by working alone.

Key collaborative commerce benefits include

  • Financial benefits: Collaborative commerce can boost sales, both at home and abroad, and enable companies to win bigger contracts.

  • Boost employee productivity: Collaboration can increase the ability to improve and develop skills, while also encouraging staff motivation.

  • Optimise physical capital: The ability to share facilities, resources and equipment helps to create cost-efficiencies.

  • Increase expertise: Being able to tap into the combined knowledge and capabilities of third parties boosts in-house skills.

  • Increase competitiveness: Through collaborative commerce, companies can complement each other and help to increase each other’s individual reach. Collaborative commerce makes it easier for smaller companies to compete with larger ones, by automating processes and boosting efficiencies.

Collaborative commerce examples

To make it easier to think about how it could work for your business, it can help to see how collaborative commerce is currently being used by companies. Here are some collaborative commerce examples:

  • Peer to peer commerce: Some companies enable consumers to rent office space from each other, while others, like Facebook Marketplace, allow members to sell used items or exchange free goods.

  • Fast food companies can pair up with food delivery services. Food on Q is an example of a company that offers on demand food deliveries for local restaurants. Furthermore, a company like First Table helps customers find tables at local restaurants.

  • Integrations: Uber and Spotify now collaborate, so that Uber customers can connect their Spotify to their driver’s radio and choose which music to listen to for their journey.

  • Fintechs and banks are partnering to create better centricity and improve the customer journey via the use of emerging technologies. Fintech companies can provide customer service enhancements, while trusted financial brands can bring their infrastructure, regulatory expertise, and access to capital to the relationship.

The cost of customer acquisition is rising, so it’s essential that companies find cost-effective ways to reach new customers. This is driving a need to discover new strategies to find and retain customers. Creating collaborative relationships could play a big part in this. When companies work together, the economies of scale can be significant, from sharing stock and marketing activities through to shared logistics.

If you offer products or services to other businesses, you could help to solve their problems and make it easier for them to book or use your services. By revisiting your marketing strategy, you could identify other businesses that could help you boost efficiencies and increase your business reach.

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