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This chapter is from the book

B2B E-Commerce Primer

To truly understand the nature of the problem eSell and its pioneer customers had to solve, some background on business-to-business electronic commerce (B2B e-commerce) would be useful.

With eSell's e-commerce suite of products, a medium-size or Fortune 1000 manufacturer or supplier can enable their buyer customers, such as their large distributors and retailers, to purchase their goods directly on the World Wide Web (the Web). These transactions and the underlying business processes are completely integrated into the highly complex back-end enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems of both the seller and buyer. This deep-integration capability provides real-time availability of materials data, promotions, contractually-based pricing, production schedules, shipment methods, payment terms, and other critical information. Wireless (online and offline) operations can be supported.

In the common multi-tiered form of the implementation (sometimes called B2B2B or even B2B2C when the consumer is the end-buyer), multiple suppliers and buyers along the demand chain are involved in a single automated, real-time transaction. System-to-system automated transactions (such as inventory replenishment) are now created over the free Internet, reducing the need for expensive leased-line-based transport mechanisms such as electronic data interchange (EDI).

With these solutions, a supplier can establish a Web-based private marketplace to which it can attract its buyer partners with competitive advantages such as cost savings, shorter delays, higher accuracy, and ease-of-use during the buy/sell process. These real-time Web-based and wireless transactions replace the costly and error-prone phone calls, faxes, and manual re-keying so prevalent in traditional systems today.

Suppliers save money and time by reducing demand on their customer service departments. The customer's satisfaction is increased with easier, more error-free transactions.

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