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Lesson 2 e-Business relationships
Objective Identify common e-business relationships.

Common e-business Relationships within the context of B2B and B2C models

Let's break down the common e-business relationships found within B2B (Business-to-Business) and B2C (Business-to-Consumer) models:
B2B (Business-to-Business)
  • Suppliers and Manufacturers:E-commerce platforms streamline the process of sourcing raw materials, components, or finished goods for a business's production needs. Digital procurement and automated ordering make this relationship more efficient.
  • Distributors and Wholesalers:Businesses often purchase products in bulk from distributors or wholesalers, who then resell them to other businesses (retailers) or end consumers. Online marketplaces and ordering systems facilitate this process.
  • Partnerships and Joint Ventures:Collaboration between businesses on e-commerce projects, shared marketing initiatives, or the development of new products and services.
  • Outsourcing and Service Providers:Businesses outsource functions like logistics, web development, customer support, and other services through B2B e-commerce platforms and marketplaces.

B2C (Business-to-Consumer)
  • Direct Sales:The most common B2C model where businesses sell their products or services directly to consumers through online stores, websites, or mobile apps.
  • Online Marketplaces:Businesses leverage platforms like Amazon, eBay, or Etsy to reach a broader customer base without managing their own end-to-end e-commerce infrastructure.
  • Subscription Services:Businesses offer recurring products or services (e.g., streaming platforms, software subscriptions, membership programs) through online platforms.
  • Social Media Commerce:Utilizing social media platforms like Instagram or Facebook to sell and market products directly to consumers within the social media environment.

Key Trends Across Both B2B and B2C
  • Personalization:Businesses leverage data and AI for customized product recommendations, offers, and dynamic content, improving the customer experience.
  • Mobile Commerce:Optimization for purchases on mobile devices becomes essential as more consumers shop on their smartphones and tablets.
  • Omnichannel Strategy:Creating a seamless experience for customers across online stores, physical locations, social media, and other touchpoints.
  • Emphasis on Customer Service:Providing excellent customer support through online channels (chatbots, live chat, knowledge bases) for both B2B and B2C customers.

Four Types of relationships in e-business

In e-business there are four types of relationships you should be aware of:
  1. Business-to-business (B2B) a Net-enabling relationship with business partners, customers, and channels external to an organization. For example, linking FedEx tracking to a business backend order fulfillment system.
  2. Business-to-Consumer (B2C):Net-enabling relationships with individual consumers or end users. For example, Web storefronts like Amazon fit into this category. Webvan also fits into this category, delivering food to a consumer's home.
  3. Consumer-to-Business (C2B):a reverse market where the customer dictates the product of service and terms of delivery. For example, Priceline allows users to set their own prices.
  4. Consumer to Consumer (C2C): a virtual space for consumers to interact directly to create spot markets. For example, eBay users work together to drive the price down.

Business-to-Business Portals

B2B corporate portals[1] are rapidly transforming supply and value chain relationships as enterprises of all sizes join the ever-expanding e-business economy. Once viewed by companies merely as a means to disseminate corporate information or to attract customers to a Web storefront, corporate portals have since demonstrated a genuine capacity to enable real-time, interactive exchange of business transaction information and integration of business processes among trading partners: 1) buyers, 2) sellers, 3) brokers or 4) intermediaries, and 5) e-business service providers. Companies are turning to B2B portals to facilitate so-called trading partner networks, also known as "i-markets", in which each trading partner is using the portal as a central hub to transact business within the network. Consequently, the key focus of B2B portal technology vendors is to help companies overcome many of the challenges of i-markets, allowing the creation of open, dynamic e-business environments in which numerous partners can transact cost-effectively with each other. Leading e-business companies view B2B portals as critical to participationin supply-value chain relationships, and they also see them as a vital technology for reaping the true benefits from such relationships.
  • B2B portals are critical to participation in supply-value chain relationships: The key question is not whether it makes sense to get involved in "business-to-business e-commerce", but how to integrate a company’s heterogeneous applications with so many other businesses in a manner that is advantageous to all parties. At the infrastructure heart of today’s e-business integration strategies is the fact that B2B portals are tools that are designed to build a flexible, self-sustained business-to-business model in which:
    • Every user inside and outside the enterprise is able to access every element of the corporate information base.
    • Every business-to-business interaction among partners is carried out in a comprehensive way that allows the seamless exchange of not only transactional data, but also business intent (for example, associated meta-data that describes business rules for interpreting that data).

    For such a model to become a reality, companies must connect all their mission-critical systems and provide a unified access platform to the connected enterprise information backbone. This platform should encompass a coherent, yet loosely coupled combination of integration, navigation, and information dissemination components. Many envision significant opportunities for growth in e-business applications that tightly integrate these components under a B2B portal environment. By having a complete environment in “one place” (or, as I would say, “in orbit”), an integration platform could be designed to build any type or size of i-market required.
    To accurately describe the features of B2B portals required for every type of e-business arrangement is pointless. Nevertheless, certain generic characteristics of B2B portals are important because of the particular functions they perform. The following characteristics are generic and architecturally driven; they require the evaluation and comparative analysis of specific, commercially available B2B portal solutions.

[1]B2B corporate portal: A B2B corporate portal is a secure web-based platform that centralizes business interactions between a company and its business partners (suppliers, distributors, etc.). These portals facilitate streamlined communication, collaboration, order management, inventory tracking, and other business-critical processes within the supply chain.

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