II. Business Models
Business to Consumer (B2C)
This is probably what you think of when you think of e-commerce. Web sites that sell products directly to the public (the consumer market) are B2C businesses.
Examples: Amazon.com, Gap.com, Hallmark.com, and any other site that offers goods and services directly to consumers.
Business to Business (B2B)
B2B stands for business-to-business and refers to electronic commerce between businesses rather than between a business and a consumer. Businesses exchange both concrete goods and services such as expertise in various areas. Carrying out these transactions electronically gives obvious advantages over traditional methods. It's faster, cheaper and more convenient. Some analysts predict B2B will soon make up the largest sector of e-commerce.
Examples: Verticalnet, Ebank, eMarketer
Internet Technology companies sell products and services to other businesses.
B2B auctions allow businesses to sell off excess supplies.
Online marketing research firms help companies identify and reach potential consumers.
(Gordon Whyte, E-Commerce 101)
Agents are programs that serve as intermediaries in business transactions. They help consumers make decisions by offering comparisons of price and quality between products.
(Hoffman and Novak)
MySimon is a good example of an agent. While these sites create more competition among businesses, agents can also aid businesses by helping consumers find products.
More generally, an agent is any program that filters content for you. Much like MySimon filters out products based on price, and agent can filter unwanted email or find Web sites that might interest you.
Digital commerce is a form of e-commerce by companies that sell news, documents, subscriptions, or any other content that can be delivered digitally over the Web. Under the ultimate "pay as you go" model, a d-commerce company acts as an electronic middleman. Products such as software and music that used to be bought in stores are now easily sold over the Net, eliminating costs for both businesses and consumers.
Mobile commerce involves collecting revenues for licensing, advertising, or selling subscriptions to the content or services on mobile devices. Even though the content appears on mobile phones and other wireless communications devices, as opposed to computer screens, m-commerce is still considered e-commerce.
What do you know about it?
Which model are you most familiar with?
What are advantages and disadvantages of shopping online?
Think of examples of each of these business models.
III. Who Really Cares?
A lot of research has been done on e-commerce because businesses need to figure out how best to use the Net to make their companies more profitable.
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