• United States



by No Analyst or Consultant

Facilitating e-Commerce: Buying Complex Products and Services Online

Apr 03, 20002 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

Business-to-business e-Commerce is hot, and everyone from infrastructure software vendors to marketplace and exchange providers want to get into the act. The marketplace model (i.e., online communities where multiple corporate buyers and sellers exchange goods, services, and information) is especially active, with new entrants emerging daily. In some instances, what is being sold is fairly straightforward (such as hard hats and safety glasses for construction workers and flour for bakers) but in other instances, products and services are more complex, high priced, or require a high degree of customization. These products and services may not lend themselves directly to the actual, completed sale via an online marketplace, but the sale can certainly be facilitated this way.

Telecommunications equipment is a good example of a high-cost, complex, customized product set in which commerce can be facilitated online, via a marketplace model. Some telecommunications equipment can be purchased easily online, but more complex items such as switches, digital cross connects, and satellite communications products, to name a few are more difficult to purchase via an online transaction., which refers to its service as “facilitated commerce,” is a telecommunications marketplace that facilitates the buying and selling of telecommunications products and services. The company provides information that identifies and compares products and services from multiple providers, enabling the buyer to request proposals from those vendors whose products they are interested in.


Clearly, some products can be sold directly through a marketplace, but the very nature of other products makes it more difficult to actually complete the transaction online. A number of marketplaces are already using the Request for Proposal (RFP) mechanism to facilitate these types of purchases. This type of high-cost, complex, and/or customized purchase lends itself well to the idea of facilitated commerce, and is especially true for the initial purchase, not just a repeat order. A facilitated e-Commerce process provides buyers with the information they need to take a purchase to the RFP phase.