A Qualitative Study of Small Business Internet Commerce: Critical Success Factors and Challenges

A Qualitative Study of Small Business Internet Commerce: Critical Success Factors and Challenges

Lei-da Chen (Creighton University, USA), Steve Haney (Creighton University, USA), Alex Pandzik (Creighton University, USA), John Spigarelli (Getzs Incorporated, USA) and Chris Jesseman (SEEIT Company, USA)
Copyright: © 2004 |Pages: 30
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-253-4.ch005
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Abstract

While more small to medium size enterprises begin to conduct business over the Internet, the degrees of success in these endeavors vary. There is an urgent need for an understanding of the issues that uniquely contribute to the successes and failures of small business Internet commerce. This chapter takes a qualitative approach to study the case of a small traditional retailer, Getz’s Incorporated, transforming itself to take advantage of Internet commerce. The study examines the company’s e-commerce strategies, experiences and transformation from a 100-year-old traditional retailer to a successful brick-and-click store. The overall goal was to provide a meaningful contribution to an area of research sorely lacking in relevant cases — small business Internet commerce. Founded in 1898, Getz’s is a Michigan-based retailer that made its first attempt in Internet commerce in 1997. The company specializes in marketing rugged outdoor clothing to local customers. The success of Getz’s Internet commerce effort was remarkable. By studying the company, the authors of this chapter have developed a list of six critical success factors attributing to the positive impact that Internet commerce has upon the company. Despite its success, the company and other small business e-commerce firms everywhere, face many challenges. The conclusions gathered from this chapter will be applicable to the broad universe of small businesses that seek to use the Internet to expand their target market, serve their customers, reduce costs and increase revenue.

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