Since some decades, agrifood products exchanges can be carried on using Information and Communication Technology (ict) tools. Anyway, their adoption in the agrifood sector appears to be hindered, both because of consolidated dynamics in developing B2B transactions, and of the peculiarities of the agrifood products themselves. The lack of direct relationships between partners heighten problems connected with food safety assessments, and with the definition of standardized production practices able to match business partners’ needs. Standardization is the key point in the relationship between e-commerce and agrifood sector. As for some products it is possible to define standardized requirements, it is hard to find a collocation for the wide range of agrifood differentiated and quality products in ecommerce B2B relationships. Moreover, existing e-marketplaces are not always able to convey properly the degree of differentiation and the peculiarities of agrifood products. The study aims at analyzing the barriers connected with the adoption of ecommerce in B2B relationships in agrifood sector, defining the factors which affect the interaction between the two areas. The attitude towards e-commerce showed by potential ict tools users, chosen between Italian agrifood operators, has been analyzed; moreover, an overview on the evolution of agrifood e-marketplaces in the last 5 years has been carried on. The results describe the main problems concerning the adoption of e-commerce in agrifood sector, deeply connected with the agrifood products specifics. In spite of positive outcomes about efficiency and transactions for standardized products, the interaction between ict tools and agrifood sector’s needs becomes problematic in case of high quality levels and differentiation, which can’t be properly conveyed by e-marketplaces. Results also highlight the role of trust and reputation in e-environments.
Keywords: E-commerce, B2B transactions, agrifood products, standardization, quality requirements
Jel Code: Q13