Measurements in E-Business

Measurements in E-Business

Damon Aiken (Eastern Washington University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-086-8.ch019

Abstract

This chapter is designed to answer two fundamental questions related to research on electronic surveys and measures. First, what are some of the major measures specifically related to e-business? Second, what makes Internet research methods different from off-line research methods? The chapter partly delineates what makes Internet research methods distinctive through its discussion and separation of the most common measures. This separation not only provides the framework for the chapter, but it distinguishes research for understanding the evolving e-consumer from measures related to the new paradigm for e-business strategy. In total, 17 different measures are discussed. The chapter concludes with a discussion of emerging issues in e-business metrics, and possibilities for future research.
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Introduction

The Internet has emerged as the very foundation for business communications worldwide. Indeed, in the instant that it takes to read these words, millions of people are shopping on the Internet, checking the status of orders and shipments, investigating stock prices and mortgage rates, and browsing and bidding in a new realm of online auctions. The Internet has transformed the physical marketplace into a virtual marketspace (Varadarajan & Yadav, 2002); it has created a shift from reasonably well-informed buyers to worldly Web-enabled e-consumers (Bakos, 1997); and, it has accelerated business into an information age wherein issues of technological expertise, privacy, security, and control are now essential aspects of business (Glazer, 1991; Hoffman, Novak, & Peralta, 1999).

Marketing practitioners, strategists, and researchers cannot deny the critical changes that have occurred in the realm of global business communications. Most have come to realize that online retailing is distinctive and that it requires a great deal of new research. Interactive communications and transactions now occur together in a single virtual medium that has increased risks for online consumers, and has placed a heavy communications burden on sellers whose Web site effectiveness is affected by a multitude of design characteristics (Geissler, Zinkhan, & Watson, 2001). Internet consumers are placed in a unique inference-making position in which information asymmetry abounds. The task at hand now, for researchers and practitioners alike, is to accurately measure, analyze, and interpret online behaviors.

The purpose of this chapter is to introduce the topic of e-business measurement, and delineate some of what makes Internet research methods different from off-line research methods. The chapter separates measures for understanding the evolving e-consumer from measures related to the new paradigm for e-business strategy (a separation derived from the work of Biswas and Krishnan, 2004). The measures discussed in this chapter are graphically displayed in Table 1. The chapter concludes with a discussion of emerging issues in e-business metrics, and possibilities for future research.

Table 1.
Summary of measures in e-business
Measurements for understanding e-consumersMeasurements for
e-business strategy
Online trustExposures
PrivacyImpressions
Control of informationHits
Cognitive effortVisits
Information searchClicks
FlowPath analysis
Conversion
Frequency
Recency
Average time per visit
Stickiness

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