The business to business ecommerce market is on the verge of explosive growth and will be worth $3.2 trillion by 2003, up from $55-80 billion in 1998, to become the largest of the online economies by 2004.
But while early business communities are simply building on the existing status quo, using standard pricing mechanisms and simply increasing efficiency, new models are starting to emerge that will become dominant over the next two years, according to Forrester Research.
These new models comprise aggregators, which are one stop shops that pool suppliers? goods and help buyers and sellers find each other quicker, and auctions, which sell vendors? surplus products at the best prices before they deteriorate in value.
The third category is exchanges, which are similar to stock exchanges, are defined by clear rules and standard pricing and earn revenues from their transaction fees.
Varda Lief, analyst at Forrester?s business, trade and technology unit, said: ?These models are changing the rules. They?re niche now, but by 2003, many organisations will offer the three together. In future, the models will converge and market infrastructure suppliers will emerge. They have little impact today, but over the next two years a business environment will be created where these models flourish.?
She continued: ?The Internet sets the stage by attacking structural inefficiency, offering previously unavailable information to make communication more efficient, and hooking buyers more efficiently to sellers. Supply chain at the moment has too many middle men, but emarketplaces will provide new ways for players to conduct trade. The models don?t change the cast of characters, but the way they interact.?
While vertical sector emarketplaces will be particularly prolific and are already starting to emerge in the agrochemical, petrol and steel industries, Lief warned that both suppliers and buyers would need to be judicious in deciding when to jump in and should be careful where they invested their scarce resources.
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