Eforce goes B2B

E-business company Eforce is carrying through on hints earlier this year that it would be moving in the business-to-business direction and away from business-to-consumer.

E-business company Eforce is carrying through on hints earlier this year that it would be moving in the business-to-business direction and away from business-to-consumer.

Eforce began by offering goods in bulk to a community of consumer buyers, through special deals with suppliers.

Now it intends to act as a facilitator for bringing suppliers together with retailers, using its B2B software.

“A number of [e-businesses] have concluded that because you have a portal, you can act as an etailer,” says new chief executive Bill Farmer.

“The idea was that you’d take a principal position in the product. That didn’t work for us, and it didn’t work well for others.” He cites the recent trimming of staff by Flying Pig.

“The ability for portal customers to buy goods will not disappear," Farmer says. Some of the suppliers may still want to sell goods that way.

Farmer was formerly chief executive of supply chain management specialist Product Sourcing International (PSI), bought by Eforce earlier in the year. Farmer assumed the top position at Eforce last week.

Asked whether the re-orientation towards a PSI-like business model was a consequence of his taking over, he says “to a degree it was, but [the change in direction] was a unanimous decision of the board”.

Another casualty of the new plan is that the planned takeover of Web design company Imagic has been discontinued. Increased Web design skills were appropriate in the context of developing a portal “but those plans have gone backwards”.

Eforce will continue to co-operate with Imagic when it needs to, Farmer says. The Web pages for Eforce, aimed at the consumer community, are unlikely to change much, says Farmer.

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