Linking Web Design Strategy with Business Strategy

Linking Web Design Strategy with Business Strategy

Kao-Hui Kung (Department of Information Management, I-Shou University, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan), Wei-Hsi Hung (Department of Information Management, National Chung Cheng University, Chia-Ya, Taiwan), Chuan-Chun Wu (Department of Information Management, I-Shou University, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan) and Chun-Chia Liao (Department of Information Management, National Chung Cheng University, Chia-Ya, Taiwan)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/IJWP.2014070101
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Abstract

Given the modern trend toward the Internet, firms can now use web sites to achieve marketing and advertising effectiveness for their businesses. This usage creates a new model of marketing strategy. Experts in the field have indicated that links between marketing and competitive strategies are critical to organisational performance and business success. However, empirical studies conducted in various countries have shown that the web designs are misaligned with organizational strategic objectives. In this study, the authors view web sites as marketing applications, and investigate how corporate sites effectively support three types of business strategy: the prospector, analyser, and defender strategies. The authors conducted a series of in-depth interviews with web site designers and established design techniques through grounded theory approach to indicate how particular web sites support a specific type of business strategy. They also established the relationship between web design strategies and business strategies, which should help practitioners improve the strategic positioning of their web sites.
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Introduction

Linking information technology (IT) with business goals is an important task in contemporary technology management, especially integrating IT into complex organisational relationships to enhance business performance (Gutierrez & Serrano, 2008). Among the numerous types of ITs, the Internet is the one that has the largest impact on the industrial environment, and web sites are the media that can attract and retain customers effectively and efficiently. The Internet can help all types of businesses create new online business models and improve their ways of interaction with partners, customers, and suppliers (Mario & Vlatka, 2007). It also provides numerous opportunities for businesses to explore new markets and sources of customers to improve their competing environments and processes (Ragu-Nathan et al., 2006).

Research reports have shown a rapid growth of the e-commerce market globally, and the Chinese market exhibited the highest growth potential. According to the Taiwan Industry Economics Services’ report (2014), the total e-commerce trade achieved RMB (Ren Min Bi) 9.9 trillion in 2013, an annual growth rate of 26.11%. Moreover, Google’s advertising revenue has already surpassed the sum of all print media advertising revenue in the United States. Yahoo officially attained a joint cooperative agreement with Google on business promotion with nonexclusive advertising in the third quarter of 2013. Since active policies have guided the development of e-commerce in the more advanced primary countries, the focus of growth for electronic trading platforms has expanded gradually from business-to-business to business-to-customer and consumer-to-consumer markets (Taiwan Industry Economic Services, 2014). In the virtual world of web sites, buyers and sellers both use instantaneous and convenient approaches at low cost to perform transactions, and rapidly send customised products into the hands of consumers. The web site is an essential medium for interactions between businesses and customers as well as a fundamental tool and method used in corporate strategies. Web sites also increase the operational efficiency of firms and provide decision makers with efficient decision-making information.

Teubner & Klein (1998) indicated that web site interfaces are critical success factors in determining corporate and information strategies. However, these strategies are often exceedingly vague and therefore difficult to define and understand. Boudreau & Watson (2006) observed that the links between them are frequently disjointed. Therefore, enterprises must consider how to ensure the coordination of corporate web sites and corporate strategies. As indicated in prior literature, a group of studies has suggested that web designs are supporting a number of organizational activities (Bhatt & Emdad, 2001; Karakaya & Khalil, 2004; McNaughton, 2001; Sheth & Sharma, 2005), other studies conducted in New Zealand, US, European Union, Asia, and Canada have shown that the web designs are not fully supporting organizational strategic objectives (Boudreau & Watson, 2006; Lederer et al., 2001; Tchokogue & Boisvert, 2001; Yu & Koslow, 1999). Thus, a web site should be aligned with the organization’s strategies and objectives in order to achieve optimal effectiveness in its operations (Dann & Dann, 2001; Fisher et al., 2007; Lederer et al., 2001; Lee, 2001; McNaughton, 2001; Teubner & Klein, 1998; Yu & Koslow, 1999). Yet, the literature is not clear on how to achieve this.

Based on Miles and Snow’s (1978) hierarchical classification of business strategies, this study aims to investigate how corporate web design should effectively support different types of corporate strategies from the marketing perspective. We particularly focus on the following questions:

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