Editor’s Introduction 19(3)

Vladimir Zwass, Editor
International Journal of Electronic Commerce,
Volume 9, Number 3, Spring 2015, p. 1.

The Special section that opens the International Journal of Electronic Commerce is devoted to Increasing Outcomes of E-Commerce with IT Service Innovations. Indeed, service innovation is at the forefront of the recent developments in our field, and is the wellspring of profits where some time ago none were anticipated. Just think of the progressing conversion of cars into the delivery vehicles of services, such as security, information, entertainment, insurance, and perhaps, soon, health care. And each of these services comes with its own continuing revenue stream. The papers in the Special Issue present, respectively, a framework for content personalization, induced from multiple cases; a pricing scheme for cloud-computing services, derived from a game-theoretic analysis; and a grounded theory of optimizing online shoppers’ experience based on the flow construct. It is notable that the papers use different methodological approaches in arriving at the results that contribute to both theory and practice. Haluk Demirkan, the Guest Editor, will introduce these works at greater length.

Formal analysis of cloud computing is also presented in the first paper of the general section, by Yipeng Liu, Xia Sheng, and Sean R. Marston. The security aspect has always been one of the primary concerns in this delivery of various levels of computing as a service from shared and widely distributed data centers. The authors examine the client-side security, seeking to establish the appropriate spending level in a competitive marketplace. As always, security measures tend to negatively affect usability. The game-theoretic analysis results in recommendations to firms seeking security while maintaining their competitive posture in the marketplace.

With the broad accessibility of the Web, some producers decide to open direct sales channel to consumers, while maintaining retail sales. This has multiple advantages beyond raised profit margins, such as direct access to consumers, while also potentially endangering the distribution. How can producers prevent channel conflict? One of the means is cooperative advertising, with both the producers and the retailers (or other downstream intermediaries) promoting the products. Here, Ruiliang Yang and Zhi Pei provide a game-theoretic analysis that shows how to align the incentives of the producers and the intermediaries in cooperative advertising, depending on the nature of the products.

The two papers of the general section along with the one of the Special section’s articles showcase the contribution formal analysis can make to the practice, as well as theory, of e-commerce.