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Electronic Markets and Virtual Value Chains on the Information Superhighway

How will future traffic on the information superhighway affect each segment of an industry value chain? Will electronic markets provide new areas of opportunity for retailers, producers, and consumers as well? The authors suggest that the NII, or national infrastructure, will give consumers increased access to a vast selection of goods but will cause a restructuring and redistribution of profits among the stakeholders along the chain. There will also be an evolution from single-source sales channels to electronic markets. And electronic markets may lower coordination costs for producers and retailers, lower physical distribution costs, or eliminate retailers and wholesalers entirely, as consumers directly access manufacturers. Consumers' full access to the market will also be an issue that policymakers need to explore.

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