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. It will appear that digitally oriented MAs will prefer to value the fruits of a relationship (including by monetizing the data indicated during the said relationship with the customer/user/Internet user) than that of the fruits of a transaction.

Production, transaction and relationship

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

We will speak here of business model (MA) or business model (BM). We chose an essentially descriptive approach which adopted a quasi-linear approach. In the end, in the mechanisms for capturing the value inherent in MA/BM, we insist on the shift from the valuation of the transaction to that of the relationship and observation of the customer.

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

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

From economic model to business model: ten emblematic cases

Let’s first address the heart of the problem and the central question for each sometimes commercial activity… how about “earning 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 classic 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 chooses, produces, harvests, stores and sells his production almost as it is. . In the case of service industries describing trade and distribution. Finally, these two business models are used in combination by any producer and/or trader and simply consist in selling a product directly to the consumer or to a wholesaler by allowing it to be sold at a slightly higher price than the cost of its production or collect.

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

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

  • Commissioning : the economic model of comparators on the Internet. A middleman sells a company’s product and is paid a commission. This is the economic model of car dealerships and insurance agents, but also cost comparators on the Internet.

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

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

  • Auctions : the economic model of auction houses democratized to online auction sites. 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.

  • The cashback : the economic model of rewarded loyalty. The more the consumer consumes, the more he benefits. This economic model is used in particular to retain customers.

  • The forced option model : the principle consists more or less in forcing the sale of a product or service not desired by the customer and not indicated in the contract signed beforehand. This was the widely publicized case last year of the telephone operator SFR which, in particular, imposed by default an option at 5 euros (an additional TV channel) that the customer had to deactivate himself (uncheck on his customer account by online via a tricky process) so as not to have the 5 euros added to their monthly bill. This business model certainly makes it possible to collect cash quickly and surely in the short term, but it is risky. Indeed, on the one hand it dissatisfies the customer and on the other hand it also allows the latter to legally disengage (see the consumer code) because the initial contract has been significantly modified and the new pricing conditions may give rise to a unilateral termination. BM to be handled with care!

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

An integrative approach through business model canvas

The BMNG structure itself and its dedicated business model are quite unique. Indeed 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 to recruit some 470 paying contributors spread over 45 countries. This entire team collaborated online and offline on the book, on its companion site, on its media but also on its distribution and infusion strategy through the “blue ocean” strategy.

Some management authors have even written about this inspiring adventure that continues. This success story is indeed quite rare in the relatively polished equipment of managerial literature within the scope of 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 the model of what an economic model is (or business model because the authors do not make any major differences between these two names) according to Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur is given:

“An economic model (or business model) describes the principles according to which an organization creates, creates 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 examine what would be a new innovative and attractive economic model.

These nine blocks are: Customer Segments, Value Propositions, 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 – in particular what the client wishes, hopes and fears in order to be able to best draw the “value proposition canvas” – to better, then, succeed or try to succeed this who will create, deliver and capture value!

The originality of this book and the canvas model it carries is to redraw the business model by observing, analyzing and replacing the customer (or the 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 reach the one that will satisfy him and that he will adopt…

Putting a very media-friendly “tool” into perspective

The literature on economic models has been plethoric since the end of the 1990s. This theme remains buoyant, like the success of the book above and the numerous and robust works of B. Demil and X. Lecoq.

Nevertheless, the advent 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 – requires us to always put the work on the craft. Finally, the BM remains and must remain a strategic analysis tool.

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