From transactional business models to relational business models

The central idea of ​​this article is to explore business models (BM). This includes showing their gradual adaptation to the digital economy based on data value. Overall, it seems that digitally oriented MAs are more based on the valuation of the fruits of a relationship (including by monetizing the data collected during said relationship with the customer/user/internet user) than on the value of the fruits of a transaction.

Production, transaction and relationship

In other words, faced with a connected and fleeting individualism, the company, which is equally connected, must learn to no longer simply offer its production, but all the services, connections and opportunities associated with it. .

We will talk here about business model (MA) or business model (BM). We have chosen an essentially descriptive approach that uses a quasi-linear approach. Ultimately, in the mechanisms to capture the value inherent in MA/BM, we insist on the shift from the valuation of the transaction to the value of the relationship and the observation of the customer.

In fact, the online customer/supplier relationship is all the more profitable when it produces data. It is therefore based on the loyalty of the e-customer or even the capture, sometimes addiction, of his feelings and his experience, especially to monetize his explicit or implicit navigation data.

Ultimately, this contribution shows the now famous “business model canvas” (BMC) as one of the fruits of this evolution from transaction to relation and then from relation to observation.

From economic model to business model: ten emblematic cases

First, let’s address the heart of the problem and the central question of every market activity… how can you “sometimes make a little more money than you lose all the time? Agriculture and industry provide us with basic examples that should not be lost sight of.

  • Production/distribution : a basic and classical economic model with double entry. In the case of agriculture, hunting, fishing and/or gathering, but also in the case of many industrial processes, the entrepreneur selects, produces, harvests, stores and sells his output almost as is. . For service industries, trade and distribution are included. Finally, these two business models are used in combination by any manufacturer and/or retailer and simply consist of selling a product directly to the consumer or to a wholesaler by trying to sell it for little more than the cost of its production or collection.

  • The low price : an economic model that lowers prices. Since these basic economic models, other business models have emerged. This is especially the case with low cost, which has developed in many sectors of activity: food, airlines, hotels, furniture, restaurants, etc. This type of model is characterized by a policy aimed at reducing costs as much as possible. costs for the consumer.

  • Disintermediation : an economic model facilitated by the Internet. The logic here is also to reduce costs. This is enabled by limiting intermediate links. Many websites (culture, travel agencies, etc.) have been developed using this economic model.

  • Commissioning : the economic model of comparators on the Internet. An intermediary sells a company’s product and is paid a commission. This is the economic model for car dealers and insurance agents, but also price comparisons on the Internet.

  • The subscription : the economic model for newspapers exported to e-commerce. Newspapers, AMAP, telephone operators … these types of companies use this economic model in whole or in part to sell their production or their services. Today, e-commerce sites make this choice of business model to retain their customers.

  • Advertising funding : free business model. In the form of free newspapers, many websites offer completely free content to their users. The company is then paid in full by its advertising contracts. This economic model is therefore dependent on advertisers.

  • Auctions : the economic model of auction rooms democratized to online auction sites. The customers set the price for which they are willing to buy the presented product. This business model has become popular again with online auction sites.

  • Freemium : the half-free half-paying economic model. Music or video streaming platforms as well as other media such as smartphone applications use this economic model with a free part and a part reserved for members.

  • Cash back : the economic model of rewarded loyalty. The more the consumer consumes, the more benefits he gets. This financial model is mainly used to retain customers.

  • The forced option model : The principle more or less consists in forcing the sale of a product or service that is not expressly desired by the customer and is not specified in the contract signed in advance. This was the much-publicized case last year of the telephone operator SFR, which in particular imposed as standard an option of 5 euros (an additional TV channel) that the customer had to deactivate himself (uncheck his customer account via online via a tricky process) in order not to to have the 5 euros added to their monthly bill. This business model certainly makes it possible to collect cash quickly and safely in the short term, but it is risky. In fact, on the one hand, it is dissatisfied with the customer, and on the other hand, it also allows the latter to withdraw (see the consumer code), because the original contract has been significantly changed and the new price conditions can give rise to a unilateral termination. BM must be handled with care!

Faced with these 10 approaches, it is possible to propose a newer and integrative model that also answers the nagging and trivial question “how to make money?” » but extends it more broadly to « how do you capture value? “. We come to understand this model in terms of content and form because this editorial success story is quite unique.

An integrative approach throughout business model canvas

The BMNG structure itself and its dedicated business model is quite unique. Actually since 2010, the book New generation business model has already been distributed in more than a million copies around the world with translations in thirty languages.

The two co-authors succeeded in innovating in publishing to establish themselves in a market of more than 11,000 works (in management) annually and recruiting around 470 paying contributors in 45 countries. This entire team collaborated online and offline on the book, on its companion website, on its media, but also on its dissemination and infusion strategy through the “blue ocean” strategy.

Some management writers have even written about this inspiring adventure that continues. This success story is actually quite rare in the relatively polished ecosystem of management literature for academics and practitioners!

The canvas model is developed in the first of five parts of the book. This part is titled “matrix”. From page 14, a definition of what is an economic model (or business model, because the authors do not make much difference between these two names) is given according to Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur:

“An economic model (or business model) describes the principles by which an organization creates, delivers and captures value. »

To this end – in an attempt to describe these principles – the authors propose a matrix (or a template) to identify the nine basic principles (or nine blocks) to approach what would be a new innovative and attractive economic model .

These nine blocks are: customer segments, value proposition, channels, customer relationships, revenue streams, key resources, key activities, key partners, cost structure. These nine blocks then make it possible to understand the four key dimensions of any business: customers, supply, infrastructure and financial viability. The model therefore proposes, above all, to clearly identify and describe these various elements – especially what the client wants, hopes and fears in order to best be able to design the “value proposition canvas” – in order to then better implement or attempt to implement this who will create, deliver and capture value!

The originality of this book and the canvas model it carries is to redesign the business model by observing, analyzing and placing the customer (or target) at the center of the value proposition that will be addressed to him! At the center of the successive proposals (especially “not to fall in love with your first idea”, as Yves Pigneur points out) that will be addressed to him to arrive at what will satisfy him and that he will adopt.. .

To put a very media-friendly “tool” into perspective

The literature on business models has been abundant since the late 1990s. This theme remains strong, as does the success of the book above and the numerous and robust works of B. Demil and X. Lecoq.

Nevertheless, the emergence of business ecosystems and/or innovations essentially based on digital and data – but not only in the image of the agri-food, tourism or luxury sectors – always imposes the work of craftsmanship. Finally, BM remains and must remain a strategic analysis tool.

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