Bolloré pact with e-commerce portal highlights B2B growth

Bolloré pact with e-commerce portal highlights B2B growth

E-commerce is transforming expectations for business-to-business transportation. Photo credit: Shutterstock

A partnership announced Tuesday giving Bolloré Logistics’ customers easy access to a business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce website underscores how logistics providers are deepening links to B2B sites to tap the growing online sector.

The partnership will enable Bolloré’s 5,000 customers to buy goods on the OroCommerce site, created by Oro, Inc. of West Hollywood, California, and ship them through Bolloré’s digital LINK platform, which integrates different parts of the supply chain to smooth the movement of freight around the world.

The deal, announced by Oro today, follows a variety of partnerships forged by Chinese B2B site Alibaba, to help customers ship goods they have bought through the site, including with Kuehne + Nagel, WCA Ltd, and carriers Evergreen Line, Maersk Line, and CMA CGM.

Zvi Schrieber, CEO of online booking and rate quoting platform Freightos, which has partnered with GlobalSources, the China-based B2B site, said agreements such as the Oro-Bolloré deal are significant because they reflect efforts by the growing B2B industry to bring order to the often confusing, complicated business of dealing with the freight industry.

“It’s not commonplace,” for an e-commerce site to link up with a logistics company, he said. “But it’s a hot issue right now, especially if its cross-border” trade, which is the “pain-point” for such business, he said.

“It’s definitely on the agenda of all B2B sites,” he said. “How do we automate the shipping? How do we reduce the pain of shipping?”

Forrester, the market research company, valued B2B e-commerce in the United States in 2015 at about $780 billion, and predicts that it will grow about 7.7 percent per year through the end of the decade. By 2020, the market will be worth $1.1 trillion, or about 12 percent of the B2B market, the researcher predicted.

Although e-commerce sales are relatively simple, involving one decision-making consumer, B2B purchases are more complex, and that has to be reflected in the e-commerce and delivery process. A decision to make a B2B purchase, for example, may involve a variety of different decision makers located throughout a company who are governed by internal processes — and all of them may need to be involved in the purchase, to see how it is progressing and approve it.

Motti Danino, chief operating officer at Oro, said the company expects that the deal with Bolloré will not only enable the third-party logistics  provider to provide e-commerce services to its customers, but will enable both companies to bring in new customers.

“Our goal is to market this and to acquire customers that today are not Oro customers, or Bolloré customers,” he said. “We can go out to the market and offer big companies a complete solution from commerce to logistics to warehouse to distribution of goods — all in one package.”

This provides for a two-way revenue system. When a company buys the Bolloré Logistics' suite of services that includes e-commerce, then Oro would be paid for the e-commerce portion of the package, the e-commerce site said.  If Oro brings one of their clients to Bolloré, for the extra logistics services, then that client would pay Bolloré for its offering, the site said.

“When a global e-commerce solution like OroCommerce is brought online by a major international manufacturer or distributor and there is a logistics partner that can be set up and integrated right out of the gate, the benefits and time savings are very powerful,” Danino said.

Bolloré’s LINK initiative is a collaborative platform that integrates all parts of the supply chain via web, mobile, electronic data interchange, and application program interfaces. Its scope includes order management, inventory, distribution, and international transportation for major multichannel companies.

Contact Hugh R. Morley at Hugh.Morley@ihsmarkit.com and follow him on Twitter: @HughRMorley_JOC.