What is e-commerce?

Here is a quick guide. We take you through the various steps in the e-commerce ordering process in a typical B2B communication.


E-order means, simply, that the buyer receives and sends standardized electronic business communications through its ERP system.
This may, for example, concern price directories, orders, order confirmations, delivery notes and invoices. Through e-commerce, an electronic document is generated that is traceable and searchable.

Price directory

The price directory is the agreement between the supplier and the buyer and the list that includes the products that the buyer wants to purchase.
In the agreement the products are recorded in detail with item numbers and pricing information, for example. The buyer can download the price directory in their ordering system, which will also feature some 100 similar directories from other suppliers.

Order & order confirmation

If you use the directory, this is also the method the buyer uses when he or she sends their order to the supplier. The buyer includes the information needed when placing the order, such as the item number, quantity and desired delivery date, if applicable. If the buyer agrees, items may also be replaced if they are out of stock.

The order will be acknowledged with an order confirmation that serves as acknowledgment. The supplier confirms that the order has been received and accepted, that the total price reconciles with the information in the directory, that the products are in stock and whether any requested delivery date can be fulfilled.

Delivery notification

The delivery notification is the next link in the chain. The notification is similar to the order confirmation but the difference is that it is more comprehensive. The previous information is supplemented here with more precise information. This may include the shipping time, which carrier will be used and the search code for tracking information. The delivery notification is equivalent to the packing slip, which, thanks to electronic communication, is increasingly becoming superfluous.

Invoicing and approval

Invoicing is easy as it can often be generated based on the information in orders and order confirmations. If the invoice reconciles with the order, an approval process with the buyer is not needed, as the approval has basically already happened when ordering.

The complex structure of e-commerce, and specifically e-orders, is significant. An order can often generate several order confirmations.
A common reason is that ordered products are not in stock and must be back ordered. The same thing is true of delivery notifications.
Just as the number of order confirmations increases quickly if the delivery is grouped into smaller deliveries according to when the products are available and distributed, in general it can be stated that e-orders have a longer history than e-invoicing. Throughout the years, specific requirements have become established. Typical of this is the unsystematic allocation of invoice fields that have appeared over the years. When a field for a particular requirement has been lacking, other fields on the invoice have been used which were actually intended for something else.

The widespread disorder in the invoice structure was the main impetus for the introduction of Svefaktura 1.0, which was established in 2004 as the recommended standard for simple e-invoicing.

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