The role of e-commerce in B2B markets of goods and services

The review on how such companies use e-commerce may summaries the knowledge in
both fields. It provides a structured knowledge on B2B e-commerce based on the
existing literature and can be interesting as a starting point for young researchers. B2B
e-commerce is analysed not isolated, but the paper establishes the links and
emphasizes interdependence to the related fields of management science and hence
can generate a broad understanding of the topic. Furthermore, the article may also
have an impact on business practice. For the executives, who expect to implement
e-commerce in their companies, this research represents a useful reference to get the first
insights and broad theoretical background on this topic and provides different illustrative

Hence, the main objective of this paper was to explore how industrial companies use
B2B e-commerce, how it enables their services and what are the main advantages for
their businesses. In order to achieve this goal the following tasks were defined:
• to build an understanding of B2B markets
• to distinguish the opportunities from using e-commerce
• to analyse the main types of B2B e-commerce and provide different examples
• to provide a way to evaluate e-commerce opportunities for existing business

Based on the main objective and the tasks, the paper was divided into four sections.
At first, the theoretical background on B2B markets is reviewed. It includes the
characteristics of B2B markets, procurement process and relationship marketing as the
basis for further investigations. After that, a review on B2B e-commerce, main types,
trends and opportunities are provided in detail.
Desk research was chosen as a research method for this paper. For the desk research
classical literature on the topic, textbooks, recent articles published in international
journals, like MIT Sloan Management Review, The Journal of Economic Perspectives,
Strategic Management Journal, Electronic Commerce Research and Applications,
Information and Management, Industrial Marketing Management, etc., international
reports as well as the internet resources were used. The methodology to select the
literature for the research was based on the premise that the topics and the models
described in the article should have a link to each other and not be analysed isolated. For
example, using the relationship model of Morgan and Hunt (1994), the readers can easily
understand not only the reason why B2B e-commerce can enhance the collaboration
between partners, but also to recognize why the extend of B2B e-commerce use strongly
differs from country to country. Another model devoted to relationship marketing, which
was introduced by Möller and Hallinen (2000), demonstrated that, the relationships
between business partners strongly depend on the procurement process, namely, on the
goods and services they operate with. As for the basic knowledge, which was used to
mould a theoretical basis for the topic, like B2B markets or procurement process, the
classical texts books were used.
The search for the resources was done using the databases like JSTOR, Elsevier,
Science Direct, Springer and Emerald. The key words used for the desk research were
B2B e-commerce, types of B2B e-commerce, advantages of B2B e-commerce, business
strategy and B2B e-commerce.

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