Co-evolving E-tail and On-Line Communities: Conceptual Framework

Linda A. Macaulay, Kathy Keeling, Peter McGoldrick, George Dafoulas, Emmanouil Kalaitzakis, and Debbie Keeling
International Journal of Electronic Commerce,
Volume 11, Number 4, Summer 2007, pp. 53.

Abstract: This paper explores the problem of designing a Web site that meets the needs of both an evolving community and an evolving business. It reports a case study of a business that introduced an e-tail site and an associated on-line community. The site development used an existing community-centered development method. The study found that participants had different motivations for visiting the site–some only wanted product information and purchase, some were seeking social support and information, others sought a more intense experience and greater social involvement. Failure to recognize the separate needs of these clusters resulted in not fully achieving business- and community-building goals. The analysis of the relationship between Web site design, cluster needs, and business goals offers a conceptual framework for co-evolving community and business.

Key Words and Phrases
: Case study, e-business, e-commerce, e-tail, iterative design, on-line community.