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E-Business Models

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E-Business Models

Business-to-Business (B2B)

In Business-to-Business (B2B) model, business transactions are conducted over public or private networks, including public and private transactions that use the Internet. These transactions include financial transfers, on-line exchanges, auctions, delivery of products and services, supply-chain activities, and integrated business networks.

Organization: Staples

Staples, Inc. founded the office supplies superstore industry when they opened their first store in Brighton, Massachusetts on May 1, 1986. Today, Staples is the world's leading seller of office products with $13 billion in sales for 2003. Headquartered west of Boston in Framingham, Massachusetts, Staples' 60,000 associates make it easy for businesses of all sizes to buy the supplies, business machines, technology, and services they need to run their office. Staples operate three business segments: North American Retail, North American Delivery, and European Operations (www.staples.com).

In 1999, the company established three online operations - Staples.com, for small businesses; Quill.com, for vertical industries such as law, medicine, and education; and StaplesLink.com, for contract customers. By the end of the company’s fiscal 2000, Staples’ combined e-commerce initiatives had a million registered users and had generated more than $512 million in online sales, nearly five times the revenue of the previous year (Young, 2001).

Several features Staples.com offers their on-line customers are:

1. Detailed reports on the customer’s expenditures that help them track costs and aid them in negotiating more-favorable contract pricing.

2. Real-time inventory availability so the customers can tell immediately when an item is going to ship. The process ties Staples’ back-end system for fulfilling customer orders. The system searches for the ordered items, the closest distribution center to that customer, the next-closest Staples warehouse, or a wholesale partner’s warehouse.

3. It simplifies processing returns online. By automating the paperwork, Staples ensures that customers are credited faster for their returns. The service creates a permanent record to verify that customers have returned an item so they can receive credit. With this in process, Staples saw improvement in cash flow since they substantially reduced invoices that are being disputed by the customers

To stay ahead of the competition, Staples has continue to improve StaplesLink.com site to make sure that it helps contract customers reduce the cost and hassle of ordering office supplies. On the supply side, improving the StaplesPartners.com site with a more-collaborative feature will strengthen Staples’ supply chain partnerships, which will ideally trigger smarter merchandise planning, better inventory control, faster distribution, and lower costs.

Business-to-Consumer (B2C)

Business-to-Consumer (B2C) focuses on delivering a means by which consumers purchase information, products, and services on the Internet. Actual

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