Planning for e-commerce

Trading partner relationships and e-commerce


E-commerce can help improve relationships with trading partners.

These online systems can also allow you to improve your own business efficiency.

Intranets and extranets

You can use an internal, browser-based company network (intranet) to improve efficiency. For example, by enabling employees to search for and share key business information.

An extranet extends this to external partners, such as suppliers and key customers.

You can use extranets for exchanging data and applications. You can use them to share specific information - for example, inventory levels and sales trends.

Read more about the benefits of intranets and extranets.

Supply chain management

The concept of supply chain management revolves around having the right product in the right place, at the right time, and in the right condition.

The key aspects of supply chain management include the ability of businesses to:

  • exchange information on stock levels
  • fulfil orders more quickly
  • minimise excess inventory
  • improve customer service
  • use a networking infrastructure to ensure good response times and speed

See supply chain management software


There are many online exchanges that connect suppliers, buyers and intermediaries. They can offer products or services to each other, according to set criteria. Buyers and sellers work  with bids and offers. When a deal is made, it is a match between the buyer and seller on factors such as:

  • price
  • volume
  • delivery costs

Reverse auctions are buyer-controlled events to attract bids, with the lowest bid winning. Buyers post details of the goods they want to buy and suppliers compete to provide them.