E-commerce is quickly becoming a large part of the world's daily business functions. While this term E-commerce refers to all online transactions, there are two typical ways that a company will do business on the World Wide Web, one: business-to-business (B2B) or two: business-to-consumer (B2C). The supply chains for both are very different and the companies that are conducting either business need to make sure they are well aware of this. All business conducting internet business need to make sure that they are delivery product effectively, reliably, and economically doing so will make the company a strong differentiator in their respected industries. The need for this was discovered in the 2000 holiday season when many consumers were asking the question "where is my package, I ordered off the internet the other day?" (Ascent 2001).
Seventy-five percent of e-commerce consists of business-to-business (B2B) transactions (Dickerson 2000). Many companies have more experience dealing with other companies on the internet than with customers.
Consequently, electronic interaction with customers is being modeled according to electronic interaction with business partners. Yet, the underlying business needs are completely different and should be modeled differently. Strategies developed in one area (B2B) should not be unconsciously carried over to the other (business-to-consumer, or B2C).
Distinguishing B2B from B2C is the first step that should be addressed. B2B transactions extend supply chain efficiencies beyond corporate boundaries. The emphasis is on making sure that every last penny is cut from overhead and costs, to the betterment of the bottom line. On the other hand, downstream e-commerce activities are centered on the customer, with greater emphasis upon improving the top line by attracting and retaining clientele. Clearly two different approaches are needed because strategies that work the B2B aspects of e-commerce cannot be used verbatim as models for interactions with...