Introduction to the Special Section: Consumer-Focused Processes in E-Commerce

Jerry Fjermestad and Nicholas C. Romano, Jr., Guest Editors
International Journal of Electronic Commerce,
Volume 12, Number 3, Spring 2008, pp. 7.

This special section focuses on the principal aspects of consumer-focused processes in e-commerce: delivering on-line service, electronic marketing, and electronic customer-relationship management.

Delivering on-line service is a key component of customer satisfaction, customer retention, and, ultimately, business success. The nature of service delivery is undergoing extensive change. Increasingly customers interface directly with information and communication technology (ICT) systems and applications, or deal with the organization via ICT-mediated channels rather than face-to-face. This has created new challenges for businesses. Many businesses are now implementing a range of customer-centric electronic-customer relationship management (e-CRM) systems. Alone these initiatives are insufficient to satisfy and retain customers. They need to be followed up by the delivery of quality on-line services.

In the area of electronic marketing, firms are still learning how to effectively market in the new media. Essential questions emerge: What are the effective strategies to attract customers, increase involvement and purchases, and ensure repeat visits to on-line or physical stores? How do consumers behave in on-line auctions? How do they respond to novel forms of advertising or representation of product and store information?

Electronic customer relationship management plays an especially important role in e-commerce. The conduct of business using Internet technologies, often referred to as electronic commerce (e-commerce), continues to be a significant, pervasive issue for both enterprises and customers. E-commerce comprises several relationship types. Here we focus on two: those between enterprises and customers, and those between and among enterprises.

With these themes in mind, the papers in this special section address the vital aspects of consumer-focused processes in e-commerce.

In “Can Brand Reputation Improve the Odds of Being Reviewed On-Line?” Naveen Amblee and Tung Bui discuss and analyze the posting and role of on-line product reviews. They employed a longitudinal analysis to measure the impact of brand reputation on the likelihood of additional product reviews being posted in the future. The results suggest that goods that start with a highly rated brand are more likely to have additional reviews posted. The authors also suggest that a digital good that enjoys both high brand reputation and, to a lesser extent, high complementary good reputations will have more reviews posted in the future. The findings further suggest that less popular digital goods with higher brand reputations should be placed within the consumer’s field of attention as well as goods with higher pooled reputations. The ultimate goal of brand reputation, and of the effort to get more review discussion, is to improve sales over time. It is important to link the odds of having more reviews to sales performance.

In “Post-Adoption Behaviors of E- service Customers: The Interplay of Cognition and Emotion,” Sophea Chea and Margaret Meiling Luo propose a model that integrates the relationship between cognition and emotion. The basic model consists of confirmation leading to either perceived usefulness or perceived satisfaction and then to continuance intention. The advanced model includes both positive and negative affect. A survey methodology was used with undergraduate business students. The results show that satisfaction was a significant predictor of all three post-adoption behaviors (continuance intention, recommendation, and complaint). Furthermore, negative affect is directly associated with complaint intention in electronic-service (e-service) settings. Negative affect also mediates the effect of confirmation on complaint intention. Perceived usefulness and confirmation influence the level of satisfaction with an e-service use. Satisfaction predicts continuance, recommendation, and complaint behaviors.

In “The Influence of On-Line Brand Community Characteristics on Community Commitment and Brand Loyalty” Heehyoung Jang, Lorne Olfman, Ilsang Ko, Joon Koh, and Kyungtae Kim investigate the relationship between an on-line community and an on-line brand. An on-line brand community is a specialized, non–geographically bound community based upon social relationships among admirers of a brand in cyberspace. For example, people who are interested in Harley-Davidson motorcycles get together via the Internet, form an on-line community, and meet regularly in on-line and off-line spaces. The community has a shared consciousness, rituals and traditions, and a sense of moral responsibility, all centering on a branded good or service. The authors investigate the importance of on-line brand communities in Internet business and explore how they may increase the brand loyalty of consumers who use and participate in them. The study examined the relationships between community commitment and four major characteristics of brand community (quality of information, quality of system, interaction, and reward for activities). Only two of the community characteristics—interaction and reward for activities—significantly affected community commitment. The results of the analysis also showed that the hosting type of a community has a significant moderating effect and that community commitment increases brand loyalty.

The subject of the special section is derived from the best papers in the three mini-tracks of the 40th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS-40) that comprised the Customer-Focused Processes theme in the Internet and the Digital Economy Track. A total of 37 papers were submitted to the three mini-tracks, four of the best papers were further reviewed from each mini-track and three were accepted for this special issue. We acknowledge the significant contributions of the mini-tracks chairs toward making this special section a success:

JERRY FJERMESTAD ( is an associate professor in the School of Management at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He has a B.A. in chemistry from Pacific Lutheran University, an M.S. in operations research from Polytechnic University, an M.B.A in operations management from Iona College, and an M.B.A. and Ph.D. in management information systems from Rutgers University. Dr. Fjermestad has taught courses on management information systems, decision-support systems, systems analysis and design, e-commerce, and data warehousing, and graduate seminars in information systems. His current research interests are in collaborative technology, decision-support systems, data warehousing, e-commerce, global information systems, customer relationship management, and enterprise information systems. He has published in the Journal of Management Information Systems, Communications of the ACM, International Journal of Electronic Commerce, Group Decision and Negotiation, Journal of Organizational Computing and Electronic Commerce, Information and Management, Decision Support Systems, and Logistics Information Management, and he serves as an associate editor for Journal of Information Science and Technology, International Journal of Electronic Collaboration, and International Journal of Information Security and Privacy.

NICHOLAS C. ROMANO, JR. ( is an associate professor of management science and information systems at Oklahoma State University. He has a B.S. in biology, B.S. in management information systems (MIS), master’s degree in MIS, and Ph.D. in MIS, all from the University of Arizona. He formerly worked for IBM and is currently one of two Americas representatives on the Association for Information Systems council. His research interests involve collaborative systems, including technology-supported learning, knowledge management, collaborative project/process management, electronic customer relationship management, IS accessibility, and collaborative interface evaluation. He was ranked third in the world in electronic commerce research journal articles for 1998–2004 in the 2006 Business Research Yearbook. He has published papers in Journal of Management Information Systems, Communications of the ACM, International Journal of Electronic Commerce, Small Group Research, Journal of Organizational Computing and Electronic Commerce, Information Technology and Management, Journal of Relationship Marketing, and Information Systems Frontiers, serves as an associate editor for the European Journal of Information Systems and Electronic Markets and on several other editorial review boards, and reviews for ISR, JMIS, IJEC, Management Science, DSS, and others. He is active as a mini-track and theme chair in the HICSS and AMCIS conferences.