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Chapter 21. Putting It All Together > System Functionality

System Functionality

The system is designed with groups of functionality for several Internet commerce market segments: business-to-business, business-to-consumer, and information commerce. Many if not most of the differences in required functionality for these markets are addressed by different content systems—catalogs for business-to-business commerce, catalogs and entertainment sites for business-to-consumer commerce, and complex search and retrieval engines for information commerce—but the business rules, payment methods, and common services are also distinct.

Business-to-Business Commerce

  • Payment mechanisms

    Most business-to-business (B2B) commerce is not conducted with consumer payment mechanisms such as credit cards. Although procurement cards, the B2B version of credit cards, are undergoing substantial growth, the bulk of B2B commerce is done by one business extending credit to another business, issuing purchase orders, and invoicing, and most payments are made by check or electronic funds transfer. The transaction engine supports purchase orders for order capture, with approval mechanisms for online creation of business relationships.

  • Fulfillment

    The fulfillment API provides a way to integrate orders received over the Internet with the order stream from traditional channels.

  • Custom catalogs

    Perhaps the most direct and immediate benefit of Internet commerce for B2B applications is the provision of accurate, complete, and timely product information directly to requisitioners in the buying organization. The customer database API provides the catalog access to authentication and profile services to permit the display of contract pricing, customized part numbers, reserved inventory, and other characteristics of business relationships.



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