Imagine this... you want to place a call for take-out from a restaurant. But which restaurant? Now imagine restaurant review sites and ordering platforms didn’t exist. In fact, what if the only thing you had access to was a long list of restaurants, without knowing where they’re based, what cuisine they serve or even if they do delivery?!
To make things worse, what if none of their menus or pricing were listed online? In short, these factors would make ordering food a nightmare! You’d probably spend time calling up random restaurants until tiredness overtakes and forces you to choose whatever the first restaurant was on your list.
OK, so this take-out scenario seems a little far-fetched. I agree! Here’s the rub: this vision of dystopian food delivery is actually very similar to the realities small business owners face every day when it comes to buying essential equipment and supplies to keep their businesses running.
Consumers are Businesses Too
As consumers, we've enjoyed the fruits of a technological revolution over the past decade or so, which have empowered us to be much smarter, more discerning shoppers. We have access to millions of product and company reviews, as well as real-time price comparisons across any outlet on the web. We are no longer restricted to local - or even regional - retail choices. However, while consumers have been reaping the rewards of all these amazing online changes, small businesses have unfortunately been left out in the cold.
Explore the "E" in Commerce
That means the world of SMB commerce remains a vast unexplored region of e-commerce, a hitherto barren wasteland of innovation that’s now the next frontier for change. In our hyper-digitized world, the question of how small businesses buy things online is a massive problem still untouched by the likes of Google or Amazon, Facebook or Apple.
Why is the small business space so different? For starters, these companies buy very customized goods - be it custom equipment, machinery, a custom quantity, or buying a basket of goods, small businesses usually look for purchases that are not-so-standard and hence, opaque in price.
Small Businesses Deserve Big Service
That makes it difficult to use typical consumer e-commerce storefronts. At the same time, small businesses don’t have the resources of large enterprises to maintain dedicated procurement teams tasked with finding suppliers and researching purchases. That puts the SMB sector at yet another disadvantage.
So, how do we make online commerce work for this type of use case? It’s a simple question with a not-so-simple answer. It’s also what we’re addressing here at Kinnek.
Every day is an effort to try and answer that question - and also improve the lives of small business owners in the process. That’s some pretty good take-out...
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