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:
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.