The Basics

Trading exchanges involve more than buying and selling.

What is an exchange? Industry analysts such as AMR Research Inc., Boston, define exchanges as online marketplaces that bring together buyers and suppliers to facilitate real-time transfer of information, money, and goods. Generally an exchange must provide a means for buyers to easily locate and buy products, a way for sellers to showcase their products and sell them effectively, and enough of the right participants to make it worth a company's time to support a presence on the exchange. Many still fall short of delivering on all of the elements for establishing and supporting ongoing trade, says fourthchannel Inc., New Albany, Ohio, a hosted infrastructure provider. As exchanges evolve, expect the following features to be more commonplace: . Electronic collaboration . Supply-chain logistics . Asset management . Virtual-warehousing capabilities . Financial options.

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