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This paper attempts to address a detailed understanding of the diffusion of WBSS, introducing a classification model of WBSS, analyzing the cases of four categories of WBSS, and providing a characteristics of the four types of WBSS. A model of four types of Web-based shopping systems is suggested: (1) general-direct-sales; (2) generalintermediary-sales; (3) specialized-direct-sales and (4) specialized-intermediary-sales. On the basis of these four categories of WBSS, the paper analyses the distinguishing characteristics of WBSS, which has implications for both theory and practice. We hope that this research will mark the starting point in on-going research towards many unresolved issues on Web-based shopping systems.