Business to business e-commerce—introduction
Business to business e-commerce—introduction

The following Commercial practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Business to business e-commerce—introduction
  • Introduction to the B2B e-commerce sector
  • Meaning of ‘e-commerce’ and focus of this Practice Note
  • Role of e-commerce in the B2B sector
  • Electronic data interchange (EDI)
  • Blockchain
  • Smart contracts
  • Email e-commerce
  • Website e-commerce
  • M-commerce
  • More...

Brexit: As of exit day (11pm on 31 January 2020) the UK is no longer an EU Member State. However, in accordance with the Withdrawal Agreement, the UK has entered an implementation period, during which it continues to be subject to EU law. This has an impact on this Practice Note. For further guidance, see Brexit Bulletin—key updates, research tips and resources and Brexit toolkit.

This Practice Note provides an introduction to the business to business (B2B) e-commerce sector and covers:

  1. the meaning of ‘e-commerce’

  2. the role of the sector

  3. the commercial models employed, including:

    1. electronic data interchange (EDI)

    2. blockchain and smart contracts

    3. email

    4. website e-commerce

    5. mobile e-commerce (m-commerce)

    6. online platforms

  4. e-commerce platforms

  5. holding stock and drop shipping

  6. outsourcing

  7. international e-commerce

  8. the advantages and risks of e-commerce

  9. emerging trends and technologies

This Practice Note does not consider business to consumer (B2C) arrangements—for guidance on which see: Business to consumer e-commerce—summary of issues to consider. Consideration of sector specific laws or regulations, including those applicable to financial services or the public sector, is also beyond the scope of this Practice Note.

For guidance on key legal issues which arise in the context of B2B e-commerce, see Practice Note: Business to business e-commerce—legal issues.

Introduction to the B2B e-commerce sector

Meaning of ‘e-commerce’ and focus of this Practice Note

There is no universally accepted definition of electronic commerce (or e-commerce). The

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