E-business portal acts as an interface between the e-suppliers and e-customers and many different types of distribution channels are defined individually by various enterprises. The logistics management and decision parameters for distribution models depend on the type of portal e.g. horizontal or vertical. In this paper the focus is on the distribution channels defined for horizontal portals, which are critical aspects of e-business but are not as explored as the other aspects. In this paper, various aspects of e-business models have been analyzed and research reveals that distribution issues need to be looked at with a fresh approach, because the tradition methods do not take into account some typical characteristics of e-business like the range of goods, transactional values and volumes the horizontal portals nowadays handle. Towards this end, three types of distribution channels for a generic horizontal portal have been identified. A decision parameter table has been formulated and used to assess various options for the distribution logistics for the horizontal portals. Also each of these broad categories has been dealt with individually highlighting their salient features along with the advantages and disadvantages associated. The primary objectives for assessment are cost savings and profit maximization of the portal. An assessment process model has been developed on the basis of some key e-business tangible parameters like transactional value, business volume etc. which can be further extended to include specific e-business model dimensions. The parameters are also analyzed subsequently in terms of their availability, size etc. so that the implementation considerations can be realistically made. Finally, the application potential, extendibility and usability of the process model have been explained and it has been shown that this generic model is simple, flexible and specific implementations can lead to e-business portals functioning with a better competitive advantage.
Bandopadhyay, Tapati; Kumar, Pradeep; and Mahapatra, Tapas, "A Process Model for Assessing the Distribution Options for Horizontal E-Business Portals" (2004). ICEB 2004 Proceedings. 81.