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The Business Model Pattern Database: A Tool for Systematic BMI

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Business Model Innovation in the Era of the Internet of Things

Part of the book series: Progress in IS ((PROIS))


Companies are more frequently seen shifting their focus from technological innovation towards business model innovation. One efficient option for business model innovation is to learn from existing solutions, i.e., business model patterns. However, the various understandings of the business model pattern concept are often confusing and contradictory, with the available collections incomplete, overlapping, and inconsistently structured. Therefore, the rich body of literature on business model patterns has not yet reached its full potential for both practical application as well as theoretic advancement. To help remedy this, we conduct an exhaustive review, filter for duplicates, and structure the patterns along several dimensions by applying a rigorous taxonomy-building approach. The resulting business model pattern database allows for navigation to the relevant set of patterns for a specific impact on a company’s business model. It can be used for systematic business model innovation, which we illustrate via a simplified case study.

Previously published in Remané, Gerrit, Hanelt, Andre, Tesch, Jan F. and Kolbe, Lutz M. (2017): “The Business Model Pattern Database: a Tool for Systematic BMI”, International Journal of Innovation Management (IJIM), Vol. 21, No. 1, p. 1750004, ©World Scientific Publishing Europe Ltd.

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Correspondence to Jan F. Tesch .

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Appendix 1


Objective condition (OC)


All objects have been examined


No objects were merged or split in the last iteration


At least one object is classified under each characteristic


No new dimensions or characteristics were added in the last iteration


No dimensions or characteristics were merged or split in the last iteration


Each dimension is unique


Each characteristic is unique within its dimension


Each cell is unique and not repeated

  1. Source Nickerson et al. (2013)


Subjective condition (SC)


Concise: the taxonomy contains a limited number of dimensions


Robust: the dimensions and characteristics provide sufficient differentiation among objects to be of interest


Comprehensive: all objects can be classified and all dimensions of interest are identified


Extendible: new dimensions and characteristics can easily be added


Explanatory: the dimensions and characteristics contain useful information about the objects of interest

  1. Source Nickerson et al. (2013)

Appendix 2: Integrated List of Business Model Patterns

Pattern name


Selected example(s)



Offer a basic product at a competitive price and charge for several extras

Ryanair, SAP, Sega

Gassmann et al. (2014)

Advertising model (ad-supported, content sponsorship, hidden revenues)

Provide a product or service and mix it with advertising messages

Google, Zattoo, Spotify

Gassmann et al. (2014), Hanson (2000), Hanson (2000), Rappa (2001), Tuff and Wunker (2010)


Provide consulting and advice

Accenture, IBM

Applegate (2001)

Affiliation (prospect fees)

Refer customers to a third party and receive a commission for a specific transaction completed (e.g., click, give information, buy product)

Pinterest, Barnes & Noble,

Gassmann et al. (2014), Hanson (2000), Rappa (2001)

Affinity clubs

Partner with membership associations and other affinity groups to offer a product exclusively to its members


Johnson (2010)

Agent models (sales commissions)

Represent the buyer or the seller and earn commissions for successful facilitation of transactions, estate agents

Hanson (2000), Strauss and Frost (2014)

Aggregation (aggregator, distributor, multi-party market aggregation)

Build a specific form of broker preselecting products/services and target audience—hence, key process is matching of needs

Amazon, Homeadvisor

Applegate (2001), Bienstock et al. (2002), Linder and Cantrell (2000), Rappa (2001), Tapscott et al. (2000)

Agora (exchange)

Build a specific form of broker allowing buyer and seller to freely negotiate and assign value to goods—hence, key process is price discovery

eBay, Priceline, NASDAQ

Applegate (2001), Bienstock et al. (2002), Tapscott et al. (2000)


Offer products to the customer that are the opposite of what the competitors are offering, thereby making competitor’s strengths a weakness

Cirque du Soleil, Nintendo Wii

Gassmann et al. (2014)

Application service providers (vertical infrastructure portals)

Allow customers to use software that is hosted on remote servers for continuous service fee

Oracle Business online, DoubeTwist

Applegate (2001), Eisenmann (2001)

Auction (auction broker, e-auction, exchange, product bids)

Make customers name the maximum price they are willing to pay; the highest price wins the product or service

Sotheby’s, eBay, Google

Applegate (2001), Bienstock et al. (2002), Gassmann et al. (2014), Hanson (2000), Johnson (2009), Rappa (2001), Timmers (1998), Tuff and Wunker (2010)

Audience measurement services

Conduct market research on online audience as agency for other customers


Rappa (2001)

Banner advertising (infomercials, ultramercials, advertising networks, banner exchange, pay-per-click)

Place advertising banners on websites

TechWeb, Lycos

Hanson (2000), Rappa (2001)


Allow customers to trade a non-monetary compensation in exchange for a product or service

Pepsi, Pay with a Tweet

Bienstock et al. (2002), Gassmann et al. (2014)

Brand integrated content

As manufacturer of other products create content for the sole basis of product placement

Red Bull

Rappa (2001)

Breakthrough markets

Invest in opening new markets to gain at least a temporary monopoly

AIG Insurance

Linder and Cantrell (2000)

Bricks + clicks (click and mortar)

Integrate both an online (clicks) and an offline (bricks) presence to browse, order, and pick up products

Home Depot, Tesco, REI

Johnson (2009), Rappa (2001)

Brokerage (switchboard, network efficiency, open market-making)

Bring together and facilitate transactions between buyers and sellers, charging a fee for each successful transaction

NASDAQ, Century 21

Chatterjee (2013), Linder and Cantrell (2000), Johnson (2010), Tuff and Wunker (2010)

Bundle elements together (bundled pricing, bundling sales)

Make purchasing simple and more complete by packaging related products together

iPod and iTunes, fast food value meals

Hanson (2000), Johnson (2009), Johnson (2010), Tuff and Wunker (2010)

Business intelligence

Gather secondary and primary information about competitors, markets, customers, and other entities to predict important information

Oil companies for gas prices, traders

Strauss and Frost (2014)

Buy/sell fulfillment

Take customer orders to buy or sell a product or service, including terms like price and delivery


Rappa (2001)

Buying club

Round up buyers with attractive prices and use purchase volume to gain discounts, mobilcom-debitel

Linder and Cantrell (2000)

Channel maximization

Leverage as many channels as possible to maximize revenues

AOL, Time Warner

Linder and Cantrell (2000)


List items for sale or things of interest and charge listing or membership fees in exchange, Craigslist

Rappa (2001)

Collaboration platforms

Provide a set of tools and an information environment for collaboration between enterprises

Deutsche Telekom/Globana’s ICS, ESPRIT GENIAL

Timmers (1998)

Connection (internet access provider, horizontal infrastructure portals, internet services providers)

Provide physical and/or virtual network infrastructure to gain (internet) access

AOL, Sprint, AT&T

Eisenmann (2001), Applegate (2001), Rappa (2001), Wirtz et al. (2010)

Content provider (information and service providers, selling content, online content providers, content publisher, content, content services)

Provide content such as information, digital products, and services

Reuters, Wall Street Journal online, IEEE Journals

Applegate (2001), Clemons (2009), Eisenmann (2001), Rappa (2001), Strauss and Frost (2014), Weill and Vitale (2001), Wirtz et al. (2010)

Content-targeted advertising

Identify the meaning of a web page and then automatically deliver relevant ads when a user visits that page


Rappa (2001)


Sort and/or aggregate available online information


Wirtz et al. (2010)

Contextual mobile advertising

Tailor advertising to the context, e.g., location, preferences, or status

Google AdSense, CommuteStream

Clemons (2009)


Sell services provided primarily by people, such as consulting, construction, education, personal care, package delivery, live entertainment, or healthcare

Accenture, Federal Express

Weill et al. (2005)

Cool brands (branded reliable commodity, brand building)

Earn premium prices with competitive products through expert brand marketing

Goodyear, Nike

Hanson (2000), Linder and Cantrell (2000)

Cost leadership

Keep variable costs low and sell high volumes at low prices


Tuff and Wunker (2010)

Cost reduction [through the internet]

Use the Internet to reduce costs and thus increase efficiency


Hanson (2000)

Cross selling

Offer complementary products in addition to the standard offering

Shell, Tchibo, Aldi

Gassmann et al. (2014)


Finance a product, project, or company by a group of private investors often including a non-monetary compensation in exchange

Marillion, Pebble Technology, Brainpool

Gassmann et al. (2014)


Solve a problem by outsourcing it to the crowd (e.g., an internet community)

Cisco, Procter & Gamble, InnoCentive

Gassmann et al. (2014), Johnson (2010)

Custom suppliers

Design, produce, and distribute customized products and services

Boeing, McGraw-Hill

Applegate (2001)

Custom suppliers of hardware

Produce and customize IT equipment or components

Dell, MicroAge

Applegate (2001)

Custom suppliers of software

Create and customize software and license/sell it

Andersen Consulting, Sapient, Viant

Applegate (2001)

Customer loyalty (incentive marketing)

Increase customer loyalty through reward programs

American Airlines, Safeway Club Card, Payback

Gassmann et al. (2014), Rappa (2001)

Customer relationship management [through digital technologies]

Retain and grow business and individual customers through strategies that ensure their satisfaction with the company and its products, e.g., by collecting and integrating all information on each customer touch point

Companies applying

Strauss and Frost (2014)

Database marketing

Collect, analyze, and disseminate electronic information about customers, prospects, and products to increase profits

GM Card, Blockbuster Inc.

Strauss and Frost (2014)

De facto standard

Develop and use proprietary component technology to provide high product functionality, but also license it broadly throughout the industry to establish it as the dominant design

Sharp in flat panel displays

Linder and Cantrell (2000)

Dealer support [through the internet]

Use the internet to indirectly support sales partners


Hanson (2000)

Demand collection system

Let prospective buyers make a final (binding) bid for a specified good or service and arrange fulfillment

Rappa (2001)

Dial down features

Target less-demanding consumers with products or services that may not be superior but are adequate and perhaps more convenient, simple, etc.


Johnson (2009)

Digital add-on

A physical asset is sold at a small margin; over time, the customer can purchase or activate any number of digital services with a higher margin

Navigation systems

Fleisch et al. (2014)

Digital lock-in

Use digital technologies to limit the compatibility of physical products and thus lock customers to your ecosystem

Apple’s iPhone

Fleisch et al. (2014)

[Digital] infrastructure retailers ([digital] infrastructure marketplaces, [digital] infrastructure exchanges)

Take control of inventory and sell digital infrastructure,

Applegate (2001)

[Digital] service provider

Produce and deliver a wide range of services online

American Express, Citigroup

Applegate (2001)

Digitally-charged products

Charge classic physical products with a bundle of new sensor-based digital services and position them with new value propositions

Smart washing machine, smart home

Fleisch et al. (2014)


Offer a traditionally physical product as a digital version

Wikipedia, Netflix, Dropbox

Gassmann et al. (2014)

Disaggregated pricing

Allow customers to buy exactly—and only—what they want

Free Mobile

Tuff and Wunker (2010)

Disintermediation (manufacturer direct model, direct selling, multi-level marketing, direct to customer)

Deliver a product or service that has traditionally gone through an intermediary directly to the customer

Dell, Nespresso, WebMD

Gassmann et al. (2014), Johnson (2009), Johnson (2010), Rappa (2001), Strauss and Frost (2014), Weill and Vitale (2001)

Distributive network

Provide infrastructure to connect other actors of the economy such as logistics, energy, mobility, or communication

Enron, UPS, AT&T

Tapscott et al. (2000)

Do more to address the job

Look beyond your typical offering and address other jobs your customers are trying to get done


Johnson (2009)


Create and deliver educational offerings, often online

Harvard Business School

Applegate (2001)


Use human or capital resources efficiently to produce commonalities in a competitive market

Airlines, mining, hospitals

Chatterjee (2013)


Communicate with stakeholders via e-mails rather than print and mail

Online mailings of companies, digital annual reports

Strauss and Frost (2014)

E-mall (virtual marketplace)

Build a platform for a collection of e-shops, usually enhanced by a common umbrella, for example, of a well-known brand

Electronic Mall Bodensee, Merchant Services at

Rappa (2001), Timmers (1998)

Enterprise resource planning

Use an integrated back office system to optimize business processes and thereby reduce cost

Companies using SAP

Strauss and Frost (2014)


Create and sell financial assets, often creating and selling firms

Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers

Weill et al. (2005)

E-procurement (online purchasing)

Conduct tendering and procurement electronically

Japan Airlines, Wal-Mart

Strauss and Frost (2014), Timmers (1998)

E-retailer (commerce, catalog merchant, virtual merchant)

Assume control of inventory, set a non-negotiable price, and sell physical products online,,

Applegate (2001), Eisenmann (2001), Rappa (2001), Wirtz et al. (2010)

E-shop (e-commerce, order processing)

Build a web shop to sell products or services online

Fleurop, Travelocity, Flyeralarm

Gassmann et al. (2014), Strauss and Frost (2014), Timmers (1998)

Exclusive market-making

Bring together specific, highly targeted, qualified audiences for trading,

Linder and Cantrell (2000)

Experience destination (experience selling)

Use a carefully designed environment to attract customers who pay premium prices

Disney theme parks, Nike Town Stores, Nestlé Nespresso

Gassmann et al. (2014), Linder and Cantrell (2000)

Experience selling

Allow the client to experience the product, often via a sales force and a pyramid commission structure; traditionally applied for cosmetic products

Mary Kay Cosmetics, Amway

Linder and Cantrell (2000)

Financial broker

Match buyers and sellers of financial assets

e*Trade, Schwab

Weill et al. (2005)

Financial landlord (financing, instant gratification)

Let others use cash (or other financial assets) under certain (often time-limited) conditions

Bank of America, Fannie Mae, Aetna

Linder and Cantrell (2000), Tuff and Wunker (2010), Weill et al. (2005)

Financial trader

Buy and sell financial assets without significantly transforming (or designing) them

Merrill Lynch

Weill et al. (2005)


Charge a fixed price and allow the customer unlimited access in exchange

Buckaroo Buffet, Sandals Resorts, Netflix

Gassmann et al. (2014)

Flexible pricing (dynamic pricing strategies online)

Vary prices for an offering based on demand

American Airlines

Strauss and Frost (2014), Tuff and Wunker (2010)

Forced scarcity

Limit the supply of offerings available to drive up demand and prices

OPEC, Rue La La

Tuff and Wunker (2010)

Fractional ownership

A good is purchased together by a group of customers, each buying a certain share of the usage right, often a time period

Time-sharing condos, Net Jets, écurie25

Gassmann et al. (2014), Johnson (2010)


Allow franchisees to use a business concept, including brand and products, in compensation for financial compensation

Starbucks, Subway, McDonald’s

Gassmann et al. (2014)

Free (free for advertising)

Provide customer with a free-of-charge offer and use other sources such as advertising to generate revenues

Metro (free paper), private TV stations, Google

Linder and Cantrell (2000), Osterwalder and Pigneur (2010)

Freemium (free trial)

Offer basic services for free, while charging a premium for advanced or special features

Skype, Dropbox, LinkedIn

Gassmann et al. (2014), Hanson (2000), Johnson (2009), Johnson (2010), Tuff and Wunker (2010)

From push-to-pull

Make production more flexible in order to ideally produce a product just when it is ordered and not upfront as stock article

Toyota, Zara, Dell

Gassmann et al. (2014)


Allow the buyers to negotiate over the price

Bienstock et al. (2002)

Horizontal portals (portals, portal)

Create a portal that provides a gateway to Internet’s content and offerings, such as search engine, e-mail, news etc.

Yahoo!, Microsoft’s MSN

Applegate (2001), Eisenmann (2001), Rappa (2001), Strauss and Frost (2014)

HR broker

Match buyers and sellers of human services

Robert Half, EDS

Weill et al. (2005)

Incomparable products (incomparable service)

Use deep R&D skills to develop and exploit proprietary technology to offer unique products that command high margins

Polaroid, DuPont

Linder and Cantrell (2000)

Infomediary (information brokers, IP broker)

Match buyers and sellers of information or other intangible assets

Internet Securities,, Valassis

Applegate (2001), Hartman et al. (2000), Rappa (2001), Timmers (1998), Weill et al. (2005)

Information collection

Collect and commercialize information gathered from the Internet

DoubleClick, Google

Hanson (2000)

Infrastructure services firms (e-business enabler)

Produce and deliver complementary services for the Internet

DoubleClick, Federal Express, Webvan

Applegate (2001), Hartman et al. (2000)

Ingredient branding (category-building)

Build a brand of a product component that is part of an end product

Intel, Carl Zeiss, Bosch

Gassmann et al. (2014)


Cover most parts of the value chain in-house in order to keep control of innovations, efficiency etc.

Carnegie Steel, Ford, Exxon Mobil

Gassmann et al. (2014), Andrew and Sirkin (2006)


Create and then sell intangible assets, such as patents and copyrights

Lucent’s Bell Labs

Weill et al. (2005)

IP trader (bit vendor)

Buy and sell intangible assets

NTL Inc., Apple iTunes Music Store

Rappa (2001), Weill et al. (2005)

[IT] equipment/component manufacturers

Produce IT equipment and components

IBM, Compaq, Cisco

Applegate (2001)

Knowledge management [through use of digital technologies]

Transform and store a company’s data into useful information and knowledge

Companies using an internal Wiki

Strauss and Frost (2014)

Leverage customer data (selling information gathered from online experience, user registration)

Collect customer data and use them commercially, e.g., for targeted advertising

Twitter, 23andMe, Facebook

Gassmann et al. (2014), Clemons (2009), Rappa (2001)

Leverage new influencers

Win over influencers who support the sales process

Hindustan, Unilever

Johnson (2009)

Licensing (the licensor, IP landlord, license)

License or otherwise get paid for limited use of intangible assets


Andrew and Sirkin (2006), Gassmann et al. (2014), Rappa (2001), Tuff and Wunker (2010), Weill et al. (2005)


Lock the customers to your ecosystem by strongly increasing the switching costs through high hurdles

Lego, Hewlett-Packard, Nestlé BabyNes

Fleisch et al. (2014), Gassmann et al. (2014)

Low-touch approach (no frills, low-price reliable commodity, standardization)

Offer standardized, low-price version of a product or service that is traditionally customized and higher priced

Southwest airlines, Xiameter

Gassmann et al. (2014), Linder and Cantrell (2000), Johnson (2009), Johnson (2010)

Make more of it

Offer internal know-how and other resources also as external service to other companies

Porsche Consulting, Festo Didactic, Amazon Web Services

Gassmann et al. (2014)

Marketplace exchange

Build a specific form of broker also offering a full range of services covering the transaction process, from market assessment to negotiation and fulfillment for an industry consortium

Orbitz, ChemConnect

Rappa (2001)

Mass customization (mass-customized commodity)

Customize a commodity product to the customers’ specific preferences

Dell, mymuesli

Gassmann et al. (2014), Linder and Cantrell (2000), Strauss and Frost (2014)


Charge a time-based payment to allow access to locations, offerings, or services that non-members do not have

Costco, Metro

Tuff and Wunker (2010)

Merchant model (sales)

Act as wholesalers/retailer of goods and services

Wal*Mart, Mediamarkt

Bienstock et al. (2002), Rappa (2001)

Micro transactions

Sell many items for as little as a dollar—or even only one cent—to drive impulse purchases


Tuff and Wunker (2010)


Send customers to locations different from what they initially searched for if the searched company did not pay sufficient listing fees to the search engine

Google, Yahoo

Clemons (2009)

Multi-sided platforms (two-sided market)

Bring together two or more distinct but interdependent groups of customers, where the presence of each group creates value for the other groups

Visa, Microsoft Windows, Metro Newspaper

Gassmann et al. (2014), Osterwalder and Pigneur (2010)

Negative operating cycle (alter the usual formula, float, cash machine)

Generate high profits by maintaining low inventory and having the customer pay up front

Amazon, Next Restaurant, Groupon

Gassmann et al. (2014), Johnson (2009), Johnson (2010), Tuff and Wunker (2010)

Network value

Provide a platform that leads to repeated purchases by a core group of loyal customers

Microsoft, Netflix, Playstation

Chatterjee (2013)

Networked utility providers

Create and distribute downloadable software programs that facilitate communication

ICQ, Acrobat Reader

Eisenmann (2001)

Object self service

Provide physical products with the ability to independently place orders on the Internet

Smart heating systems, Internet refrigerator

Fleisch et al. (2014)

One-stop convenient shopping

Use broad selection and ubiquitous access to attract busy buyers who will pay a premium for convenience

WW Grainger

Linder and Cantrell (2000)

One-stop low-price shopping

Use low price and the convenience of broad selection to attract buyers, then convert volume into purchase discounts


Linder and Cantrell (2000)

Online advertising and public relations

Buy advertising on products or services of another companies

Product advertising in radio, TV, or Internet

Strauss and Frost (2014)

Online brokers (brokerage model, third-party marketplace, marketplace, intermediary, broker, metamediary, e-business storefront)

Use the internet to facilitate a transaction between a buyer and a seller

ebay, Airbnb

Bienstock et al. (2002), Hartman et al. (2000), Rappa (2001), Strauss and Frost (2014), Timmer 1998, Weill and Vitale (2001)

Online sales promotions

Use the internet to send free product samples or discount coupons to customers

Companies selling via Groupon

Strauss and Frost (2014)

Open business models

Create innovations by systematically integrating partners into the company’s R&D process

Procter & Gamble, Innocentive

Gassmann et al. (2014), Osterwalder and Pigneur (2010)

Open content (public broadcasting)

Develop openly accessible content collaboratively by a global community of contributors who work voluntarily

Wikipedia, The Classical Station

Rappa (2001)

Open source (alliance)

Develop a product not by a company, but by a public community with all information being available publicly

Mozilla, Linux, Wikipedia

Gassmann et al. (2014), Rappa (2001), Tapscott et al. (2000)

Orchestrator (value chain)

Focus on core competencies and outsource/coordinate all other activities along the value chain

Procter & Gamble, Nike, Li & Fung

Andrew and Sirkin (2006), Gassmann et al. (2014), Timmers (1998)

Own the undesirable

Seek to serve segments of the market that might not appear immediately attractive


Johnson (2009)

Pay per use (metered use, metered subscriptions, pay-as-you-go, utility model)

Charge for each use of a product or service

Metered ISPs, Google, Zipcar

Gassmann et al. (2014), Hanson (2000), Johnson (2010), Rappa (2001), Tuff and Wunker (2010)

Pay what you want (user-defined)

Invite customers to set the price they wish to pay

Radiohead, One World Everybody, Humble Bundle

Gassmann et al. (2014), Tuff and Wunker (2010)

Peer-to-peer (Person-to-person networking services)

Facilitates a transaction among peers, i.e., two or more consumers, through provision of a platform

ebay, Napster, Airbnb

Gassmann et al. (2014), Rappa (2001)

Perceived value-based

Position company’s output as a “want” item and command a price premium - invest in knowledge professionals such as scientists, engineers, programmers, or data experts

Semiconductors, software firms, pharma

Chatterjee (2013)

Performance-based contracting

Determine the fee for usage of a product not by frequency of use but rather by the quality of the result from the use

Rolls-Royce, BASF, Xerox

Fleisch et al. (2014), Gassmann et al. (2014)

Physical broker

Match buyers and sellers of physical assets

eBay, Century 21

Weill et al. (2005)

Physical freemium

A physical asset that is sold together with free digital services while charging a premium for advanced digital services

Android smartphones

Fleisch et al. (2014)

Physical landlord

Sell the right to use a physical asset

Marriott, Hertz

Weill et al. (2005)

[Physical] manufacturer

Create and sell physical assets

Ford, Pepsi, General Motors

Applegate (2001), Weill et al. (2005)

[Physical] wholesaler (retailer)

Buy and sell physical assets

Wal*Mart, Amazon

Rappa (2001), Weill et al. (2005)


Price at a higher margin than competitors for a superior product, offering, experience, service, or brand


Tuff and Wunker (2010)

Product as point of sales

Make physical products become sites of digital sales and marketing services that the customer consumes directly at the product or indirectly via another device

Smartphones, cars

Fleisch et al. (2014)

Product sales (purchase)

Sell a product for a fixed price


Hanson (2000), Rappa (2001)

Quality selling (enhance quality)

Attract customers with high quality and/or hard-to-find products or services for premium prices

Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom

Hanson (2000), Linder and Cantrell (2000)

Query-based paid placement

Sell favorable link positioning or advertising keyed to particular search terms in a user query

Google, Overture

Rappa (2001)

Razors/blades (cellphone)

Offer a cheap or free basic product (“razors”) together with complements (“blades”) that are overpriced and thereby subsidize the basic product

Gillette, Nespresso, Amazon Kindle

Gassmann et al. (2014), Johnson (2009), Johnson (2010), Linder and Cantrell (2000)

Reliable commodity operations (guaranteed availability)

Provide predictable commodity products or services for which customers are willing to pay a small premium, as they are reliable

UPS, AT&T, Hilti

Linder and Cantrell (2000), Gassmann et al. (2014)

Remote usage and condition monitoring

Equip products with digital technologies that allow to detect errors preventatively and monitor usage

Rolls-Royce, Brother

Fleisch et al. (2014)

Rent instead of buy (lease instead of sell, leasing, lease)

Temporarily lend a product to the customer and charge a rent

Xerox, fashionette, United Rentals

Gassmann et al. (2014), Johnson (2009), Johnson (2010), Rappa (2001)

Revenue sharing (retail alliances)

Share the revenues with other companies in order to create a symbiotic relationship

Cdnow, Apple AppStore, Groupon

Gassmann et al. (2014), Hanson (2000), Rappa (2001)

Reverse auction

Set a ceiling price for a product or service and have participants bid the price down,

Bienstock et al. (2002), Johnson (2010)

Reverse engineering

Break down a product of competitors into its components and use this information to build a comparable product

Bayer, Brilliance China Auto, Pelikan

Gassmann et al. (2014)

Reverse innovation

Transfer cheaper products from less developed countries to more developed countries

General Electric, Logitech, Renault

Gassmann et al. (2014)

Reverse razors/blades

Offer an expensive basic product (“razors”) that allows for usage of cheap or even free complements (“blades”)


Johnson (2010)

Risk sharing

Waive standard fees or costs if certain metrics are not achieved, but receive outsized gains when they are


Tuff and Wunker (2010)

Robin Hood

Charge wealthy customers more than poorer customers for a product or service

Museums, Aravind Eye Care System, TOMS Shoes

Gassmann et al. (2014)

Scaled transactions

Maximize margins by pursuing high-volume, large-scale transactions when unit costs are relatively fixed

Morgan Stanley

Tuff and Wunker (2010)

Search agent

Search out the price and availability for a good or service specified by the buyer

Rappa (2001)


Delegate a part of the value chain to the client

McDonald’s, IKEA, BackWerk

Gassmann et al. (2014)

Selling experience

Offer new experiences through participation in a community, often virtually

GameBox, World of Warcraft

Clemons (2009)

Selling online services

Offer to use software services online

E*Trade, Survey Monkey

Clemons (2009)

Selling virtual accessories

Sell accessories that would be difficult to earn in online games

World of Warcraft, Second life

Clemons (2009)

Sensor as a service

Collect, process, and sell sensor data for a fee, Google Maps

Fleisch et al. (2014)

Service-wrapped commodity

Distinguish commodity products by services that are added

Mindspring, Earthlink

Linder and Cantrell (2000)

Servitization of products (product-to-service)

Sell ongoing services in addition to the product or even sell the service the product performs rather than the product

IBM, Hilti, Zipcar

Johnson (2010)

Shared infrastructure

Share a common infrastructure among several competitors


Weill and Vitale (2001)

Shop-in-shop (develop unique partnerships)

Build a store within another store

Tchibo, Deutsche Post, MinuteClinic

Gassmann et al. (2014)

Social search

Tailor search results based on a user’s social network

Facebook, Airbnb

Clemons (2009)

Software firms

Create software and license/sell it

Microsoft, Oracle, Siebel

Applegate (2001)

Solution provider (comprehensive offering, full-service provider)

Provide a full range of services in one domain directly and via allies and attempt to own the primary consumer relationship

Apple iPod/iTunes, Heidelberger Druckmaschinen

Gassmann et al. (2014), Linder and Cantrell (2000), Weill and Vitale (2001)

Subscription (subscription model, subscription club, membership)

Continuously provide customers with products or services and regularly charge upfront fees

Magazines, Blacksocks, Spotify

Gassmann et al. (2014), Hanson (2000), Johnson (2010), Rappa (2001), Tuff and Wunker (2010)

Supermarket (cat-daddy selling)

Offer a large variety of products at a low price

Toys “R” Us, The Home Depot, Staples

Gassmann et al. (2014), Linder and Cantrell (2000)

Supplier support [through the internet]

Use the Internet to improve procurement and speed of delivery from suppliers


Hanson (2000)

Supply chain management

Connect suppliers and distribution channels more closely


Strauss and Frost (2014)

Target the poor

Focus on the bottom-tier clients of the income pyramid and sell a large number of cheap products with low margin

Wal*Mart, Aldi

Gassmann et al. (2014)

The long tail

Focus on selling a large number of niche products, each of which sells relatively infrequently

Netflix, eBay, YouTube

Gassmann et al. (2014), Osterwalder and Pigneur (2010)

Transaction service and exchange intermediation (infrastructure provider)

Provide integrated portal to coordinate complex transactions among involved several parties for spot markets

Celarix, Solbright, PrintConnect

Hartman et al. (2000), Linder and Cantrell (2000)


Reuse already used products

Duales System Deutschland, H&M, cmr

Gassmann et al. (2014)

Trust intermediary (transaction broker)

Provide a third-party payment mechanism for buyers and sellers to settle a transaction

PayPal,, CyberCash

Hartman et al. (2000), Rappa (2001)

Trust services

Establish membership associations that abide by an explicit code of conduct, and in which members pay a subscription fee


Rappa (2001)

Trusted product leadership

Develop long-lasting product platform architectures to create a non-disruptive product upgrade path for locked-in customers

Cisco, Intel

Linder and Cantrell (2000)

Ultimate luxury

Focus on selling to the top-tier customers of the income pyramid

Lamborghini, Abbot Downing

Gassmann et al. (2014)


Unbundle three types of businesses/organizational units within one firm as they all have different imperatives: customer relationship, product innovation, and infrastructure

mobile telecom industry, private banking industry

Osterwalder and Pigneur (2010)

Under the umbrella pricing

Under-price the market leader and use marketing to convince customers your offerings are equivalent, fast follow in product/service development

Prime Computer with Digital Equipment in the 1980s, MCI WorldCom with AT&T

Linder and Cantrell (2000)

User designed

Customers invent products that afterwards are produced by the company

Apple AppStore, Createmytattoo, Lego Factory

Gassmann et al. (2014)

Value chain integrator (value net integrator)

Coordinate activities across the value net by gathering, synthesizing, and distributing information

Seven Eleven, ESPRIT project TRANS2000

Timmers (1998), Weill and Vitale (2001)

Value chain service provider (layer player)

Only support parts of the value chain such as logistics or payments—but for several companies

Banks, FedEx, UPS

Timmers (1998), Gassmann et al. (2014)

Value-added reseller

Sell a comprehensive range of undifferentiated products based on value-added services, e.g., through consultative selling, product availability, service, and promotional pricing

Ingram Entertainment, Pitman Company, Berkshire Computer

Linder and Cantrell (2000)

Vertical portals (affinity portals, validation through community content)

Create a portal that specializes in a particular area and provides very deep content and functionality in this area

Expedia, TripAdvisor, RateBeer

Applegate (2001), Clemons (2009)

Appendix 3: Development of the Business Model Pattern Taxonomy

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Remané, G., Hanelt, A., Tesch, J.F., Kolbe, L.M. (2019). The Business Model Pattern Database: A Tool for Systematic BMI. In: Tesch, J. (eds) Business Model Innovation in the Era of the Internet of Things. Progress in IS. Springer, Cham.

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