B2B Exchanges Evolved Over Time

We are all familiar with the online buying on the internet. In fact with most people in developed countries, ordering groceries, online shopping as well as payment of utility bills and online banking has become a part of life. Internet we can say is a virtual global market. There are several types of businesses that take place in the virtual market. Generally the most visible business category happens to be that of Business to Consumers. What most of the people do not know is that the Business to Business category of markets and online transactions occupy a much larger canvas in the virtual world.

There are B2B Exchanges in every possible area of business and market. You have stock exchanges, commodity exchanges as well as specific industry based exchanges for paper, chemical, medical supplies, cement, steel and many more that are available on the internet. Other than B2C and B2B, there are C2C businesses as well as C2B businesses as well.

The best example of C2B businesses could be the sites like elance.com or freelancer.com, where the consumers or individuals showcase their skills and make offers to the businesses and companies to buy services from them. On the other hand sites like craiglist.com and other yellow pages.com etc are the market places where consumers can put up their products and services on sale for other consumers to buy. Ebay.com in fact is one good example of Consumer to Consumer exchange.

It is quite understandable how the internet became a virtual market place and provided opportunities for marketers to exhibit their wares and reach out to customers directly and personally. However, B2B businesses are not normally visible to the general public and is known only to the concerned business community alone. One of the reasons that led to the B2B exchanges on the internet could be attributed to the automation of business processes and various web enabled ERP systems development adopted by the large business houses. Companies like Boeing, General Electric, Form, GM Motors etc have been pioneers in adopting new technology and changing over from people driven businesses to process driven and automated business processes. These large corporations have several hundred vendors and suppliers who are situated across the globe. Therefore they have streamlined the procurement process over period of time. With the development of automated systems driving the business processes and the availability of web based systems, they have been able to create their own virtual market where they could float the RFQ, invite the multiple suppliers to bid, qualify the suppliers, shortlist the suppliers as well as negotiate and complete the buying process online followed by shipment tracking as well as streamlining and automating the payment process to the vendors. Over a period of time, the buying processes have been streamlined and have led to the formation of private B2B market place on the internet. The next logical step has been to come together as a part of the industry and float a common site for bringing together all the suppliers of the particular industry together with all of the buyers and thus bring about synergy in the buying process. Automotive industry is perhaps one of the earliest adopters of B2B exchange idea.

Some of the IT system developers who have been extremely vigilant watching and observing such B2B business opportunities on the internet jumped into the bandwagon of creating and floating third party B2B exchanges that could cater to larger markets and different segments thus providing for real time B2B global exchanges.


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