The Evolution of Online Relationships in Business to Consumer E-Commerce

The Evolution of Online Relationships in Business to Consumer E-Commerce

Pauline Ratnasingam (University of Central Missouri, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-964-9.ch010
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Abstract

The growth of business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce has gained a lot of attention among SMEs. Most B2C firms are turning their attention on how to retain new customers and are left in a situation to compete with larger firms. This chapter aims to examine the evolution and impact of online relationships in B2C firms. Drawing upon the theories of customer relationship management, e-commerce, trust and loyalty, the author develops an integrated model to illustrate the stages customers go through when shopping online and its impact on trust, hard and soft factors that reflect the level of transactional and relational components of communication thereby impacting the customers shopping time lifecycle experiences. This chapter develop a number of hypotheses to facilitate testing of the model. The author then provides a discussion of the model leading to the theoretical and practical implications of this study and directions for future research.

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