A new attempt at achieving economies of scale through e-commerce was unveiled today with the launch of Sydney-based business-to-business online exchange b2bBuyer.com.au.
Founded and headed up by "chief initiatives officer" Stuart Wischhusen, and with employees on deck with titles such as "chief reality officer", b2bBuyer will target small- to medium-sized enterprises of all industries that seek to achieve low supply costs through combined mass purchases.
For no charge, purchasers can secure a spot on the b2bBuyer portal, where they can join "buying groups", Wischhusen said, jesting that internet buyers and sellers typically regarded online transaction fees as "a bit of a rude question".
Buying groups can haggle with suppliers over prices independently of b2bBuyer. b2bBuyer will draw revenues from an unfixed charge to suppliers of around $100 per month, Wischhusen said.
Wischhusen believes the cost of participation for a supplier in b2bBuyer - at roughly $1200 per year - is a more productive business investment than running the "poxy little" website he said would be attainable for a similar cost.
"SMEs can't afford IBM. They can't afford Telstra coming in to tell them what to do. They would laugh at the hourly rates," he said.
The portal conducts a "360 degree" supplier feedback and ratings system, which Wischhusen expects will encourage participating sellers to maintain high standards of service.b2bBuyer launches into operation in October 2000. No participating suppliers have been announced yet, but Wischhusen said a significant number were expected to be on board by the start of business. Initial buying groups are expected to comprise various rural local councils, he said.
Long-term plans for the company include listing on the Australian Stock Exchange and launching ASP (application service provider) offerings to larger enterprises.
The company is jointly funded by Wischhusen and his two partners Anna Samios, "chief profitability officer", and George Alifierakis, "chief reality officer".b2bBuyer.com.au has also formed an alliance with Zwirl.Com, an existing US-based buying group which is supplying the company with much of it's technology.