Making Sense of Emerging Market Structures in B2B E-Commerce

by B. Mahadevan

Fall 2003

Volume 46
Issue 1

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Over the last five years, a variety of market mechanisms have emerged to address various issues pertaining to Business-to-Business (B2B) E- Commerce. However, there is a general lack of understanding on the part of researchers and practitioners on two key issues: What are the key characteristics of these market mechanisms? What factors drive the choice of one market mechanism over the other? This article addresses these questions through a study of 12 different market mechanisms in 200 B2B electronic marketplaces. Four factors-degree of fragmentation, asset specificity, complexity of product description, and complexity of value assessment-significantly drive the choice of an appropriate market mechanism for an organization. In order to gainfully exploit these market structures, organizations need to devise new strategies and reconfigure their supply chain.

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