Evolution of Web-Based Shopping Systems: Characteristics and Strategies

Evolution of Web-Based Shopping Systems: Characteristics and Strategies

Changsu Kim (Yeungnam University, Korea), Robert D. Galliers (Bentley College, USA and London School of Economics, UK), Kyung Hoon Yang (University of Wisconsin–La Crosse, USA) and Jaekyung Kim (University of Nebraska–Lincoln, USA)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-978-6.ch012
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This article offers a theoretical analysis of evolutionary processes in WBSS strategies. For that purpose, we propose a research model that shows strategy patterns. Based upon the model, we identified several types of strategies. In our research model, WBSS are classified into four types: (1) general-direct-sales (GDS); (2) general-intermediary-sales (GIS); (3) specialized-direct-sales (SDS); and (4) specializedintermediary- sales (SIS). On the basis of these four categories of WBSS, we analyze the characteristics of WBSS and suggest five evolution strategies for WBSS, which have implications for both theory and practice. Amazon.com’s strategic movements, such as product line expansion through alliance and acquisition, provide an exemplary case of the evolution of WBSS strategy. We expect that this research will serve as a guide for Internet businesses and as a catalyst for new research agendas relevant to Web-based shopping and electronic commerce.
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E-commerce has been actively diffused on the basis of advanced Internet technologies, enlarging its sphere of utilization and the scale of the global electronic market, radically (Feeny, 2001; Looney & Chatterjee, 2002). The most well-known Internet business models are the so-called dot-coms, which have adopted several types of WBSS applications (Kim & Galliers, 2004, 2006; Porter, 2001). Dot-coms are located around the world and are pursuing a variety of opportunities as global marketers, interacting with global customers and businesses through the Internet (Howcroft, 2001; Rifkin & Kurtzman, 2002; Worthington & Boyes, 2001). However, early in 2000, many dot-com companies collapsed. The lesson learned is that making money on the Internet is still not easy, which makes it necessary to create new ways of doing business (Gulati & Garino, 2000; Holzwarth, Janiszewski, & Neumann, 2006; Paper, Pedersen, & Mulbery, 2003). Even though many dot-com companies have disappeared and competition is getting severe, the diffusion of Web-based shopping businesses is continuous, increasing in both the number of customers and the volume of business (Kim, Galliers, & Yang, 2005).

The aim of this paper is to address what WBSS must do to survive and prosper continuously. We insist that the appropriate evolution strategy can be one of the most critical factors. To verify our premise, we classify four types of WBSS models, analyze the characteristics of each WBSS model, and attempt to address the evolutionary path of each WBSS strategy. We show the case of Amazon.com’s evolutionary path as an example to demonstrate our theory. Thus, we expect this study to serve as a useful guide for researchers to build theoretical e-commerce models and for practitioners to make plans for their Internet businesses.

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