A trade cycle is the series of exchanges, between a customer and supplier, that take place when a commercial exchange is executed. A general trade cycle consists of:

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Pre-Sales: Execution: Settlement:

Finding a supplier and agreeing the terms. Selecting goods and taking delivery. Invoice (if any) and payment.

After-Sales: Following up complaints or providing maintenance.

For business-to-business transactions the trade cycle typically involves the provision of credit with execution preceding settlement whereas in consumer-to-business these two steps are typically co-incident.

The nature of the trade cycle can indicate the e-Commerce technology most suited to the exchange.

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