A Typology of French Marketplaces: Looking into a Collaborative Future
The deployment and use of electronic marketplaces contrary to expectations still remains marginal in the ‘Francophone’ business landscape. Even though several major business groups act as champions and invest in them, the vast majority of large and small companies remain wary of these digital intercompany platforms. Despite convincing arguments discussed in the scholarly, professional and trade literature, the credibility of marketplaces is constantly undermined in practice as they have to incessantly fend off rumours about bankruptcy in France and elsewhere. Moreover, the term ‘marketplace’ can cover a multitude of business relationships and it is currently difficult to compare offers and distinguish across a range of services. The purpose of this paper is therefore to put forward a typology, by identifying, analysing and classifying the about 225 Francophone marketplaces we found in the fall of 2007. The proposed typology enables us to (1) highlight their diversity and types of economic models that underpin their value chain (2) observe that the majority neglects certain high-added value services for which demand is great, and favours services which are hardly cost-effective and for which supply is much higher than demand, and (3) highlight future possible evolutions by examining the collaborative strategies few of these professional virtual communities have been making in the past few years.