SME B2B E-Commerce and Customer Loyalty Revisited

SME B2B E-Commerce and Customer Loyalty Revisited

Assion Lawson-Body (University of North Dakota, USA) and Timothy P. O’Keefe (University of North Dakota, USA)
Copyright: © 2008 |Pages: 25
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-822-2.ch001
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Abstract

B2B electronic commerce is an important opportunity for small and medium-sized enterprises’ (SMEs), providing increased competition on a global scale and allowing them to access wider markets. SMEs’ B2B electronic commerce success is tied to the ability to foster inter-organizational relationships and customer loyalty. However, this is not always true because many SMEs have difficulty achieving B2B benefits as suggested by media and early research. This study is an empirical examination of the effect of web tools on the inter-organizational relationships (IOR) between SMEs and their loyal customers. Data collected from 386 SMEs in North America (United States and Canada) and processed with Partial Least Square (PLS) show that the use of web tools (which include the level of web content and the level of security on the Internet) has a positive effect on the relationship between cooperation and interdependence, and customer loyalty. However, the effect of web tools on the relationship between trust and customer loyalty is different, because the use of non-secure web tools reduces the effect of trust on customer loyalty, and surprisingly, the use of secure web tools doesn’t increase or decrease the effect of trust on customer loyalty. This research also suggests that one of the factors of the failure or the success of SMEs’ B2B e-commerce is the technical skills of the managers in the use of secure web tools—high skill levels increase the positive effect of trust on customer loyalty. The implications of the results for the study are discussed.

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