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  1. Virginia Newcome
  2. Sherlock Holmes
  3. Processing Industries
  4. Tuesday, 03 October 2017

What about B2B eCommerce in Education? What do schools and universities sell to businesses? 

Accepted Answer Pending Moderation

Virginia you are quite right. They are mostly B2C. But they do have a very large buy side. 

To better understand the penetration of B2B eCommerce (as distinct from e-learning and distance education itself which are more skewed towards B2C), it is important to consider the procurement and supply chain aspects of the sector. These include the procurement of services such as facitlities management, asynchronous teaching services, security services, food services, branding and promotion etc.. The sector also procures books, laboratory equipment, sports equipment, utilities, etc. Being thus essentially a B2B consumer of goods and services it is in effect more of a horizontal rather than a vertical sector and as such would rely primarily on the ecommerce portals of its vendors and at some stage some of the larger institutions might set up their own B2B ecommerce procurement platforms for supply management.  A good example of the latter is the Princeton Marketplace (see a separate post on this in these discussion pages).

There are many B2B ecommerce platforms specifically designed for the education sector, not the least among them are the distance learning platforms aka Learning Management Systems (LMS). However, other than corporate education and training sales, the B2B aspect of the education sector is primarily on the buy side.

There is a Gartner’s update of developments in B2B e-commerce in higher education – useful for companies targeting this sector. Vendor and end-user research, in this study, confirms that B2B solutions in this space are largely traveling along the same trajectory they have followed in other industries. As illustrated in the Princeton example, the larger institutions are now passing from the initial public e-marketplaces towards a build-out of private e-commerce networks. But there still remains a huge worldwide education market for B2B ecommerce marketplaces if promoted strategically.


  1. more than a month ago
  2. Processing Industries
  3. # 1
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation

Princeton MarketPlace

The Princeton MarketPlace is averages approximately $800,000 per month in transactions and has surpassed $19 million in total transactions since its inception. Currently, there are over 1,200 campus community members actively utilizing the MarketPlace on a daily basis.

Princeton University partnered with OrgSupply to develop the Princeton MarketPlace to streamline and safeguard all e-commerce purchasing transactions. The Princeton MarketPlace supports and expands the on-line purchase of goods and services, as defined by the Treasurer’s Office, by leveraging volume and facilitating transactions that do not flow through the University’s central PeopleSoft Purchasing system.

The Princeton MarketPlace provides single log-on access to strategically-chosen contract suppliers with whom the campus has historically conducted a high number of small-dollar transactions. Participating suppliers have been strategically targeted in each of the major supplies commodities to provide coverage in the broadest range of commodities purchased by most departments on campus. suppliers participating in the Princeton MarketPlace with live, punch-out order integration include:

The Princeton MarketPlace provides the following benefits for our campus community:

  • A single portal for all e-commerce Princeton-specific contract pricing supplier websites, including links to other Princeton business sites such as PeopleSoft and the Travel Portal.

  • Princeton-specific business rules are applied to all orders, such as requiring a second level of approval on all orders and automatic approver email notification.

  • A single username and profile to access all e-commerce suppliers.

  • A single checkout procedure for all e-commerce suppliers.

  • A single shipping profile for all e-commerce suppliers.

  • A single accounting profile for all e-commerce suppliers.

  • An intuitive design that minimizes end-user training.

The Princeton MarketPlace was beta-tested beginning in January 2007 by a select group of campus users. The official roll-out began in June 2007 with the conversion of the OfficeMax buyers, followed by the remaining ThermoFisher, Dell and Apple buyers. In January 2009, the Princeton MarketPlace was integrated into the Princeton University Central Authentication Service (CAS).

  1. more than a month ago
  2. Processing Industries
  3. # 2
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