WebSphere Commerce Enterprise

Demand chain business model

A demand chain is composed of the enterprises that sell a business's goods or services. For example, a demand chain may be composed of buyers who initiate the sales transaction, the resellers who sell the manufacturer's goods, and the manufacturer who creates the goods. Or a demand chain may be composed of the resellers who sell a manufacturer's goods, the manufacturer who makes the goods, and the distributors who supply the manufacturer's goods to the resellers. Demand chains also support direct sales channels, in which the demand chain owner sells directly to consumers or business partners.

The following diagrams illustrate examples of some of the demand chains supported by WebSphere Commerce.

Buyers, channel partners (resellers), and manufacturers

Diagram showing how buyers go through resellers to get products from manufacturers.

In this example, buyers purchase goods from a manufacturer's resellers (channel partners). Resellers, in turn, obtain the goods from the manufacturer, via the manufacturer's hub.

Resellers, manufacturers, and distributors

Diagram showing relationship between resellers, manufacturers, and distributors. Explanation continues.

In this example the manufacturer provides a hub for their channel partners, including resellers. Resellers and other channel partners may be able to do several functions in this hub, including locating distributors of the manufacturer's goods.

In order to locate distributors, the reseller might browse a product catalog in the private hub. If the required products are available from more than one distributor, the reseller can check product availability and prices for various distributors. Then, if the reseller chooses, they can split their order between several distributors. The resulting orders are then sent to each distributor, which complete the transaction and deliver the goods or services to the reseller. The reseller can then use these goods or services to fulfill its customers' orders.

The demand chain sample site, the Commerce Plaza, is an example of this reseller, manufacturer, and distributor scenario.

Demand chain stores

The demand chain owner may create a site with stores for its channel partners, such as resellers or distributors. This reduces the infrastructure costs to the reseller or distributor who may not have the expertise or capital to create and maintain their own site. A reseller may use the site to sell goods from the catalog maintained by the demand chain owner, and also offer its own value added products, services or bundles. The reseller or distributor in this case, can also decide to administer his or her own store, or leave it to the demand chain owner.

Other scenarios

The examples described in this section are just a few instances of demand chains. The scenario details may change depending on the type of business being conducted. For example, if the enterprise is a manufacturer, the purpose of the hub may be to help the manufacturer's resellers locate the manufacturer's goods from several distributors. If the enterprise is a distributor, the purpose of the hub may be to help the distributor's resellers find goods or services from several different suppliers.

Types of stores

The following diagram illustrates the types of stores that compose the demand chain sample.

Diagram showing the types of stores that compose the demand chain sample. Description follows.

The demand chain sample site contains a channel hub, and three asset stores: distributor asset store, catalog asset store, and reseller storefront asset store. The reseller asset store can be either a consumer direct or B2B direct store and resellers select the store type when they create the store. Note that the channel hub uses the catalog assets defined in the catalog asset store. The distributor proxy stores are creating by using the assets from the distributor asset store, while the reseller stores are created by using the assets from the catalog asset store and reseller storefront asset store. Resellers may choose to sell a subset of products defined in the shared catalog via the catalog asset store. They may also create their own products or bundles in their reseller store.