Web Channels in E-Commerce

Document Type



Web; channel potential; activity theory;

Identifier Data



Communications of the ACM

Rights Management

Copyright © 2001 ACM, Inc.


The Web is fast emerging as a major player in the relationships between producers and consumers. These relationships can be described in terms of channels, or the paths that products or services take as they move from source to destination. Channels can be of different types, ranging from advertising channels, order processing channels, to customer support channels. The Web is currently being used as a medium for these types of channels in the supply chain. In this article, we use activity theory to suggest a framework that can be used to enhance the business value of a firm’s Web site by maximizing its channel potential. The article also uses phenomenological insights to understand the nature of experiences needed for successful channels in the context of a virtual community.