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Unpacking E-commerce

Business Models, Trends and Policies

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As digital transformation has accelerated, the e-commerce landscape has become increasingly dynamic. New players have emerged at the same time that established actors have taken on new roles; some barriers to e-commerce at the firm, individual and country levels have been overcome, while other barriers have emerged. Innovative business models have transformed buyer-seller relationships and pushed out the frontier of what is possible to buy and sell online. This report analyses new and emerging e-commerce business models, examines e-commerce trends along a range of dimensions, and offers new insights on the policies needed to exploit the opportunities and mitigate the challenges of unlocking the potential of e-commerce for all.

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Evolving E-Commerce Business Models

E-commerce facilitates trade across borders, increases convenience for consumers, and enables firms to reach new markets. Despite its short history, the e-commerce landscape has rapidly evolved through the development of new business models, which often integrate new and emerging digital technologies as well as new online payment mechanisms. This chapter analyses evolving e-commerce business models, focusing in particular on business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce, and includes examples from existing businesses to highlight firm-level innovations. It concludes by identifying key areas for policy action.

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