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Supply Chain B2b/B2c

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Supply chain can be defined as "a network of facilities and distribution options that performs the functions of procurement of materials; transformation of these material into intermediate and finished products; and distribution of these finished products to customers, (Wikipedia. 2006), the flow of resources into and out of the enterprise's collective operations. (Ichnet, 2006), or, all of the elements in the process that enables the delivery of a product to a customer beginning with the customer order acquisition process, links through logistics and manufacturing and ending with the suppliers and the acquisition of materials." (Coresim, 2006)

The supply chain theory, its relevance and methods of implementation, vary within the business world and are affected by the nature of the operation as well as the operation's methodology for attracting, servicing, maintaining, and expanding their client base. In business to business transactions on the web, an operation would focus on it's suppliers, recognizing that looking up the supply chain fulfills answers with regards to business to business orders, supply, and ability to meet current and increasing product demand.

The focus on supply chain management within a web based business to business operation is imperative due to the nature of the transactions taking place. Businesses to business, or B2B internet transactions, promote the B2B as a "portal that allows businesses to deal directly with their suppliers and distributors online. B2B sites may offer electronic transfer of orders, invoicing, and even payments for supplies. Wholesalers, distributors and manufacturers fall in this category." (Akstrategic, 2006) Furthermore, "B2B sites deal primarily with other businesses, not the general public and handle a lot more than just the sales of products." (Akstrategic, 2006) Web based business to business entities exist primarily as a portal to conduct business transactions.

Web based business to consumer, or B2C entities, are "intermediary portals to link customers to suppliers. Major B2C operations include ebay, an auction site. Yell, an internet version of yellow pages and ZDNet a technology market place. All of these businesses exist primarily on the internet and are known as e-businesses or electronic businesses." (Akstrategic, 2006) A business to consumer web based business concerns itself with selling to the end user and therefore focuses attention on issues concerning customer relations or issues that are termed as existing further down the supply chain. Issues pertaining to fulfillment, delivery, acceptable and reliable methods of payment or refund, and customer service throughout the transaction are the primary areas of focus within a B2C.

B2C businesses focus on developing web sites that are user friendly and visually appealing in an effort to entice browsers to visit the site and buy products. The experts at the E-Business Research Center acknowledge the fact that "getting visitors to the site is only half the battle. Whether they buy something is what determines if you win. The so-called conversion rate for B2C e-commerce sites is still fairly low. (Boston-based Yankee Group said in November 2000 that the average rate was 1 percent.) Some ways to boost your conversion rate include improving navigation, simplifying checkout process (such as one-step checkout and easily replaced passwords), and sending out e-mails with special offers." (Cio, 2006)

B2C businesses must focus on customer relations in an effort to build customer loyalty. Developing and presenting a customer focused B2C requires that the business "focus on personalization by creating unique sites/boutiques that target specific customers. Amazon, which built its own personalization and customer relationship management (CRM) systems, is well known for its ability to recognize customers' individual preferences." (Cio, 2006) Furthermore the B2C must "create an easy-to-use site and customer service application. Customers with questions should be able to seek assistance through live chat, a phone number, or at the very least a company e-mail address. (Cio, 2006)

Finally, E-Business Research Center experts encourage "increased focus on customer satisfaction and delivery fulfillment. Improved logistical systems



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